Policy Update

UK foreign secretary warns of US$3.7 billion cut to ODA, but commits to maintaining strong focus on poor and fragile countries

The UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, has warned that the UK’s official development assistance (ODA) budget could be cut by as much as £3 billion (US$3.7 billion) in 2020 as a result of the projected economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 crisis. A contraction of the UK economy has implications for ODA volumes because the UK's ODA is tied to its national economic growth: The UK is committed to spending 0.7% of its gross national income (GNI) on ODA.

Raab has recently been given responsibility for international development following a merger between the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, announced last week. Raab was appointed the UK Prime Minister to head a new super department: the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office. The merger will take place over the summer and the new department expected to be up and running by September.

Raab has also told parliamentarians that the share of UK ODA channeled toward poor and conflict-affected countries will be maintained under the new department. In 2018, the UK spent more than 50% of its ODA on fragile states, and just under half of its ODA went to low-income countries.

News article - Daily Mail

News article - Devex