At a glance
Strategic priorities
  • The UK’s development strategy, ‘UK aid: tackling global challenges in the national interest’, outlines four priorities: 1) strengthening global security; 2) resilience and response to crisis; 3) promoting global prosperity; and 4) tackling extreme poverty.
  • The strategy explicitly links “promoting global prosperity” with strengthening UK trade and investment opportunities and promoting global security with strengthening UK security, committing DFID to allocating at least half its budget to fragile states and regions.
  • The UK prime minister announced in 2018 a new focus on Africa with a partnership promoting economic development and enhanced security, pointing to future ODA increases to Africa in these areas. The UK intends for the partnership to go beyond ODA, advancing diplomatic ties, trade, and private-sector investment.

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Outlook
  • In 2019 the UK Treasury will conduct a Comprehensive Spending Review, which will set medium-term spending limits of all government departments starting 2020. The Spending Review offers an opportunity to shape policy objectives that DFID and other UK ODA-spending departments will commit to delivering with their budgetary allocations.
  • Given the UK’s emphasis on greater cross-government allocation of ODA, there may be increasing avenues to shape UK development efforts through engagement with actors outside of DFID, such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
  • The UK is scheduled to leave the European Union (EU) on March 29, 2019. At present there is a high degree of uncertainty over the exact terms on which the UK will depart the EU, whether it will on time, and even whether there might be a second referendum on EU membership.