Wednesday, October 20, 2010

UK plans on giving more aid to failed states, less to poor states

A controversy is developing in Brittan over the allocation of foreign aid. Prime Minister David Cameron plans on targeting aid to failed states, those who are usually in the middle of a war such as Afghanistan and Iraq. Meanwhile, aid would be decreased to countries that have stable states but may have high poverty such as Nigeria and Kenya.

From the Guardian, writer Nicholas Watt gives us both sides of the development aid debate.

Patrick Watt, Save the Children's director of development, said last night: "What is the real driver of aid allocation? Is it poverty, is it need and the ability to use money effectively or is it the agenda of the National Security Council? We do need to have a balanced approach to aid allocation that reflects the principles of the 2002 International Development Act which stipulates that all aid should be for poverty reduction."

An Oxfam policy adviser also expressed concerns about aid being delivered through "military structures" that could risk civilian aid workers.

The row broke out after the government decided, in the strategic defence and security review, to double by 2014 the £1.9bn that is spent on what are known as "fragile and conflicted states". This echoes the thinking of Andrew Mitchell, the international development secretary, who told the Guardian in January: "We would build on what [the Department for International Development] is today and make it even more successful and perhaps wire it in a little bit better into the Whitehall constellation."

It is understood that the government is planning to narrow the list of priority fragile countries, which currently includes Nigeria and Kenya, to just five. They are expected to be Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Iraq.

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