Review of DFID’s £3.9 billion spend on infrastructure largely positive

The UK’s Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICA)) has recently reviewed the Department for International Development's (DFID) investments on transport and urban infrastructure, which amounted to £3.9 billion (US$5.5 billion) between 2015 and 2016. The review found that DFID performed well on its strategic approach and support for multilateral programs but had a more mixed record in the delivery of its own bilateral programs, citing frequent delays hampering project results and the need for a more active approach to ensure safeguards are in place.

Report - ICAI 

United Kingdom

UK Development Minister spells out her vision for UK ODA after Brexit

Penny Mordaunt, UK development minister, set out her vision for UK development assistance post-Brexit at CDC, the UK’s development finance institute. She called for the UK to focus its assistance on scaling up private-sector investment in developing countries, noting this was the only way to close the funding gap required to achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. She argued for DFID to make greater use of CDC, a public, limited company wholly owned by DFID that invests in enterprises in developing countries in order to make a financial return as well as achieve a development impact, and to work more directly with the City of London to leverage their financial expertise and resources.

As part of her vision, Mordaunt also called for rules on what counts as official development assistance to be changed in order to permit profits made by CDC to be able to contribute towards the UK’s development assistance budget in the future. This is prohibited under the current rules, which count only direct government funds. CDC made profits after tax of £1.15 billion (US$1.55 billion) over the past five years. The UK Labour Party  denounced the idea, arguing that it would distort the country's overseas development program and would do nothing to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality. 

News article - FT

Speech - DFID

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UK development NGO umbrella releases annual report on financial trends for UK-based INGOs

Funding for 305 members of the NGO umbrella group Bond has grown by 59% over the last 10 years, according to Bond's latest annual report on financial trends among its members. That's compared with just 10% among the UK charity sector as a whole. Among other takeaways from the report:

  • 55% of Bond members have identified diversifying their income as their greatest challenge in the long term
  • Individual giving remains the largest source of income, but government contracts remain key at 19% of members' funding bases

Report - Bond

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DFID appoints former high-ranking Unilever and Marks and Spencer officials to join departmental board

The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) has appointed two new non-executive directors to their departmental board. The board provides advice on and monitors the delivery of the development minister's strategy. Marc Bolland, former CEO of Marks and Spencer and current Head of European Portfolio Operations at the financial services firm Blackstone Group, has been appointed the lead non-executive director of DFID’s departmental board. Alan Johnson, former Chief Audit Officer for Unilever’s Global Foods Division, will chair the board’s Audit and Risk Assurance Committee.  

The development minister and DFID’s senior management team also sit on the departmental board.

Press release - UK government 

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UK and US suspend assistance to Syria’s Idlib area over concerns extremist group is taxing aid trucks

The UK and US have decided to suspend deliveries of humanitarian assistance to Syria’s Idlib area following reports that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an Islamist extremist group sanctioned by the UN, is imposing financial levies on aid delivery trucks to the area in order to raise funds for their activities. Idlib is home to some three million people, many of whom are civilians displaced by fighting elsewhere in the country. The vast majority are dependent on humanitarian assistance and could be adversely affected by any longer term pause in aid to the region.

The UK's Department for International Development (DFID) previously announced a scaling up of humanitarian aid to the region.

 News article - The Telegraph 

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Former UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson calls for move away from poverty eradication for UK assistance and more tied aid

Former UK Foreign Minister and current Member of Parliament for the Conservative Party, Boris Johnson, has published an article in the UK press calling for UK development assistance to move away from focusing solely on poverty eradication, arguing that it is against the will of the British people and to their disadvantage.

Johnson, an increasingly vocal critic of the current UK prime minister, used the timing of the Conservative Party Conference to outline his vision for UK foreign assistance. He made the case for redirecting UK assistance to support wildlife conservation abroad and the promotion of UK exports in developing countries.  On the latter, Johnson suggested breaking with the international rules that forbid tied aid and linking more assistance to the procurement of UK services and products, noting that numerous other donors already do this in order to support their own economies. 

Articles - The Telegraph, The Guardian, Third Sector 

Recap - Bond 

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DFID’s bilateral humanitarian assistance for 2018 projected to significantly increase while funding for human development falls

The Department for International Development's (DFID) bilateral spending projections for 2018 show a potential influx of £170 million (US$229 million) for humanitarian assistance compared to 2017, according to an analysis by Devex. At the same time, funding for the human development sector is projected to fall by £191.4 million (US$258 million) compared to 2017. 

The analysis, which includes spending plans for 2018 and 2019, is based on a review of country profiles released by DFID in early 2018 and does not represent the totality of UK development spending. It also reveals that Pakistan and Ethiopia are projected to continue to be DFID’s most highly-funded partner countries in 2018. 

Analysis - Devex

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UK commits new funding for TB alliance for new and safe drugs

UK Development Minister Penny Mordaunt announced an additional UK£7.5 million (US$10.1 million) of financial assistance for the Tuberculosis (TB) Alliance at the high-level meeting on TB in New York. The funding will help develop shorter, simpler treatments against TB that are affordable to the poorest countries in the world. The World Health Organisation found that in 2017, 100 million people developed this preventable disease and nearly two million people died from it.

The UK's Department for International Development (DFID) already supports Aeras, a non-profit organization working with GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies and other partners, to develop and test a new TB vaccine. Early results show the number of HIV-negative people developing TB has been reduced by about half.

Press Release – UK Government

UK Prime Minister calls for more quality education for girls

UK Prime Minister Theresa May called on other countries to join the UK’s 'Girls Education Challenge,' a campaign to give girls in developing countries access to 12 years of quality education by 2030.

Joined by France, Canada, Kenya, Niger, and Jordan at a side-event at the United Nation's General Assembly, the Prime Minister announced nine new projects as part of the second phase of the challenge. The projects, located in Ghana, Somali, Nepal, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Malawi, will support the most vulnerable and marginalized girls in these countries.

UK Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt also co-chaired the first meeting of the 'Platform for Girls Education,' along with Kenyan Education Minister Amina Mohamed in New York. The Platform brings together a group of leading global figures, who have committed to collectively campaign to also help secure 12 years of quality education for girls across the world. 

Press release – UK Prime Minister 

Press release - UK Foreign Minister

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UK calls for urgent action to tackle malnutrition in Yemen

UK Minister for the Middle East Alister Burt chaired a meeting of key international donors to address malnutrition in Yemen on the fringes of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. The meeting resulted in donors making a series of commitments to help reduce malnutrition with a focus on children under five, and pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Over seven million Yemenis are on the brink of malnutrition. UK development assistance is helping to provide food and support to a large share of these.

Press release – UK Government 

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