The government has kept its promise to increase the amount of our money it spends on overseas aid. Last year saw the Department for International development increase its spending to £7.87 billion from £7.48 billion the year before.
Just under half was spent on country programmes administered by the Department, or £3.4 billion. £1.8 billion was spent through its international finance programme, sending the money to the World Bank, regional development banks and global funds to spend. A further £1.7 billion was spent under the heading “International relations” where the bulk went to the EU and the UN to spend for us. £0.8 billion was spent on research, including £0.2 billion on climate research.
The Department mainly talks about the good work it does under its direct programmes. It is making progress getting children into school in poor countries, vaccinating against disease, and tackling the scourge of malaria. Many of these are good programmes with noble aims. It talks less about its reseach work and the money it sends via the EU.
Under its country programmes, the biggest include India ( £268m), Pakistan (£216m), Nigeria (£172 m), Somalia (£103m) and Kenya (£94 m). Some of it is dangerous and difficult work. Last year £300,000 was written off for the loss of 5 trucks of aid in Southern Somalia from problems over authority for the mission. The Department is strengthening its anti corruption checks and systems, as it is aware of the dangers of misappropriation of these very large sums.
What do you think of the priorities and the totals? Should the list of countries be shorter?