New report claims UK development assistance funds privatization of education

A new report from Global Justice Now, a UK civil society organisation, and the National Education Union, criticizes UK development assistance for supporting the privatization of education in developing countries. The authors of the report, which reveals that the UK government is funding for-profit educational firms, highlight that privatization of education can lead to problems in terms of equality, quality, and accountability. 

The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID)has criticized the report as misleading, noting that it is not contributing to a privatization agenda in the education sector. According to DFID, 95% of its spending on education goes to the public sector.  However, this includes for-profit organisations who deliver services through the public education system.  

News article - Education  Executive 

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UK development assistance funding drone and space technology

UK development assistance is funding the use of drone and space technology to save lives in humanitarian disasters and tackle sustainable development challenges. Drones are already being deployed to help the millions affected by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique and Zambia.   

The UK government is also supporting UK firms to use space technology to address global sustainable development challenges. A recently launched new directory highlights 50 services that UK firms are providing that use satellite technology to assist developing countries with disaster management to food production. The services provided by UK companies are funded by the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Program, a five-year program which benefits from £152 million (US$196 million) in UK development assistance.

News article - The Times 

Press release - UK Government 

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UK faith leaders call for maintenance of 0.7% development assistance commitment

Leading UK faith leaders representing the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faith communities have written to The Guardian newspaper calling for the UK government to continue to help the world's poorest through the provision of development assistance. The leaders explicitly call for the UK government to maintain its commitment to spending 0.7% of its gross national income as official development assistance.

News article - The Guardian

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UK Conservative leadership shuffle could jeopardize development assistance commitment

The UK Shadow International Development Minister for the Labour Party, Dan Carden, has warned that a looming Conservative party leadership contest puts the UK’s foreign assistance budget under threat. UK Prime Minister Theresa May has stated that she will stand down as Prime Minister once her Brexit deal is passed, but calls are growing within the Conservative Party for her to stand down earlier.

According to Carden, the ensuing leadership battle has candidates trying to appeal to the right-wing core of the Conservative party membershipcutting the foreign aid budget commitment is likely to appeal to this base. Potential leadership contenders, including Boris Johnson, former Foreign Minister, have clearly stated that they would reduce the UK's development budget.

News article - The Independent 

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UK development minister warns of growing debt in poor countries

The UK’s International Development Minister, Penny Mordaunt, has spoken at the World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings in Washington DC about the UK’s concerns around rising debt levels in the poorest countries. Mordaunt called for lenders to improve transparency and adhere to international lending standards to ensure sustainability, noting that a rise in debt jeopardizes development progress.

Mordaunt also noted that the UK has been invited to help China improve the way it lends to poor countries. The UK is the only country that has been asked to participate in a new Multilateral Co-operation Centre for Development Finance, being set up by the Chinese government in Beijing with eight multilateral finance banks to work with China to ensure sustainable lending.

News article - The Guardian

News article - The Times  

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UK aid commission criticizes UK's partnerships with civil society

The UK’s Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI) has released a critical evaluation of the Department for International Development (DFID) partnerships with civil society organisations (CSOs). The evaluation finds that while DFID values CSOs and strives to protect civic space, its new funding mechanisms are restrictive, cumbersome, and tend to overly focus on short-term project-based funding. The evaluation finds that this is hindering DFID from supporting the long-term growth of civil society.

The evaluation gave DFID a red/amber grade which indicates that reforms need to be made. DFID provided 20% (£1.2 million or US$2 million) of its bilateral development funding in 2016 to CSOs.

Website - ICA

News article - Bond

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Total ODA of EU member states increases slightly

EU member state ODA increased slightly to $87 billion in 2018 compared to 2017, according to new data published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Cost for hosting refugees in donor countries decreased by $3.4 billion, including $2 billion from Germany and $700 million from Italy, as the impact of the refugee crisis continued to recede. Denmark, Luxembourg, Sweden and the United Kingdom remained the only EU countries to meet or exceed the internationally agreed ODA target of 0.7% of GNI. ODA rose in 17 EU donor countries, with Hungary showing the largest increase. Twelve countries saw a decline in aid spending, with the largest declines in Austria, Finland, Greece, Italy and Portugal. The EU and its Member States provide 57% of the world’s ODA.

News article - Euractive


OECD DAC preliminary data release shows ODA down by 2.7% in 2018

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC) has published preliminary data for 2018, showing that official development assistance (ODA) fell by 2.7% in 2018. The data release is the first to use the OECD's  new 'grant equivalent' methodology. Applied for the first time in 2018, the method aims to ‘provide a more realistic comparison of the effort involved in providing grants and loans and encourage the provision of grants and highly concessional loans, especially to low-income countries’.

Net ODA from DAC members reached US$153 billion in 2018. The largest donors in absolute amounts were 1) the US (US34.3 billion), Germany (US$25 billion), 3) the UK (US19.4 billion), 4) Japan (US$14.2 billion), and 5) France (US$12.2 billion). In relative terms, the largest donors were Sweden at 1.04% of its gross national income (GNI), Luxembourg (0.98%), Norway (0.94%), Denmark (0.72%) and the UK(0.7%).

For more detailed information on the performance of bilateral donors, see the OECD DAC's detailed summary here.

OECD DAC – Press release “Development aid drops in 2018, especially to neediest countries”

ODI ranks the UK as second in new 'principled aid' index

The UK’s Overseas Development Institute (ODI) has created a new index ranking the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC) donors according to the degree to which they deliver 'principled development assistance' - . The UK has been ranked second out of 29 countries assessed, with Luxembourg in the top spot. 

The index assesses the degree to which donors allocate their official development assistance (ODA) according to recipient countries’ needs and vulnerabilities and towards meeting global challenges like climate change, fighting infectious diseases and international trade. The index also measure the degree to which donors support long-term development impact rather than short-term donor needs.

Website - ODI

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