United Kingdom Donor Profile

Last updated: March 2017.


the big six

How will the UK’s ODA develop?

  • The UK government has pledged to continue to meet the UN target of spending 0.7% of its GNI on ODA. This means that ODA is likely to continue to grow in line with the growth of the UK economy.
  • The UK is increasingly diversifying its ODA channels through cross-government funds: the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund to support global security, the ODA crisis reserve to support resilience and crisis response, and the Prosperity Fund to promote economic growth overseas and private sector opportunities. As a result, the proportion of ODA to be spent by departments other than DFID could increase to 26% by FY2019/20.

What will the UK’s ODA focus on?

  • The UK Aid Strategy places a particular focus on fragile states and regions, on which DFID plans to spend at least half of its annual budget.
  • DFID’s Secretary of State, Priti Patel, has pledged to ‘challenge and reform’ the global development assistance system with an approach based on ‘core conservative principles’, wealth creation, and developing countries’ needing more investment and trade. To this end, the government is also increasing its support to the CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution. In November 2016, a draft bill by Parliament was issued stating that the funding limit for the CDC Group could see a fourfold increase, from £1.5 billion to £6 billion.
  • The Multilateral (MDR) and Bilateral Development Reviews (BDR) released in November 2016 offer insight into funding shifts and map out how ODA will be spent. According to the MDR, DFID plans to suspend or cut funding to multilateral organizations that do not meet pre-defined performance targets.

What are key opportunities in 2017 and 2018 for shaping the UK‘s development policy?

  • In February 2017, DFID’s Secretary of State, Priti Patel, announced that the UK will host the next international Family Planning Summit in July 2017. This provides an opportunity to advocate for increased resources for family planning programs.
  • In January 2017, Secretary of State Patel released DFID’s first Economic Development Strategy, outlining how investing in economic development in developing countries will speed up national growth, trade, and industries. The strategy outlines as priorities the importance of global trade, job creation in fragile and conflict states, leveraging partnerships with businesses, tackling corruption, and mobilizing domestic resources. This presents an opportunity to engage with DFID and other UK development stakeholders to discuss approaches to implement the strategy in DFID’s partner countries.





  • UK MPs claim DFID axed projects based on negative media coverage

    Members of the UK Parliament’s International Development Committee have criticized the UK Department for International Development (DFID) for what they consider decision-making motivated by media coverage including inaccurate claims of wasteful spending from DFID’s chief, Priti Patel. In a newly-released report and in public comments, MPs praised Patel’s efforts to make development assistance accountable but argued that there’s little evidence of wasteful spending, as Patel has previously claimed. Additionally, the committee claimed that DFID has allowed itself to be influenced by negative press coverage. In January DFID called off plans to give £5.2 million to Girl Effect, an advocacy group for female rights in Ethiopia, following media reports claiming that the money was instead funneled to useless projects.

    News website – BBC
    News website – The Guardian
    Government website – International Development Committee

  • UK MPs question approach of DFID-funded international education

    Members of the UK Parliament’s International Development Committee questioned the educational approach of a school operator funded in part by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) as part of their inquiry into DFID’s work in education. MPs, including Chairman Stephen Twigg, a former education minister, questioned heavy reliance on smartphones, tablets, and scripted lesson planning used by Bridge International Academies, which runs more than 500 schools worldwide and is funded by DFID in Uganda, where MPs have observed Bridge Academies’ work in practice. MPs said the practice appears disempowering for educators and unsustainable in the long run, according to TES, the weekly educational supplement of The Times newspaper. Bridge’s co-founder, however, argued that the method is driven by data and backed by research, in addition to being low cost.

    News website – TES

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