The UK’s 2015 National Aid Strategy committed all departments to be “Very Good” or “Good” on Publish What You Fund’s Aid Transparency Index (“the Index”). We look at a leading indicator of transparency and conclude that, beyond DFID, progress has been almost non-existent. With a spending review to set budgets to 2022 expected next year, departments should take the last chance to step-up their performance and HM Treasury should not renew their spending if they don’t.
CGD Policy Blogs
The UK Secretary of State for International Development Penny Mordaunt spoke powerfully last week about the opportunities for expanding investment in developing countries, including through CDC, the UK’s development finance institution. But a new proposal to count the reinvestment of returns on development finance towards the aid target would contradict the principle underpinning the rules on measuring aid, reduce the UK’s aid effort, and create volatility for other aid (and HM Treasury).
Last week’s report from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC)—an independent body commissioned by the Home Office—included some good suggestions for the UK government, such as removing the cap on high-skilled immigration. However, the committee also made the rather extreme, and we think ill-advised, recommendation that there should be no legal work-based route for so called “low-skilled” immigration, which would shut the door on people without a job offer worth £30,000.
Today, we published the Commitment to Development Index (CDI) 2018, which ranks 27 of the world’s richest countries on how well their policies help the more than five billion people living in poorer countries. European countries dominate this year’s CDI, occupying the top 12 positions in the Index and with Sweden claiming the #1 spot. Here, we look at what these countries are doing particularly well in the past year to support the world’s poor, and where European leaders can still learn from others.
Prime Minister Theresa May's recent speech in Cape Town may herald an inspiring new Africa-UK development partnership—but only if she can put that vision into action. Ian Mitchell and Hannah Timmis offer lessons from China, France, and the EU.
The UK Parliament published its review of UK ODA earlier this week. The report is clear that some departments have spent aid badly and recommends the Secretary of State for International Development should “have ultimate responsibility for ODA spent across Government.” I propose that, in the spending review next year, the Development Secretary and HM Treasury should lead a new process for allocating ODA across Government.
Some development fundamentalists think that aid should never be spent directly in the national interest. At the other extreme, some people—apparently including the UK Treasury—believe all development cooperation should be directly win-win. Both these polar opposites are dangerously wrong: the truth is in-between.
London is one of the world’s premier destinations for kleptocrats and corrupt oligarchs seeking to launder ill-gotten gains into property, investments, private school fees and influence. There is no reliable estimate of the total value of laundered funds that impacts on the UK. However the National Assessment of Serious Organised Crime says there is “a realistic possibility the scale of money laundering impacting the UK annually is in the hundreds of billions of pounds” (this includes both domestic and international sources).
The UK Labour Party recently set out its ideas on international development in a paper titled “A World for the Many, Not the Few.” There is much to like in the policy paper, including pledges to put in place an effective whole-of-government development approach, to advance DFID’s monitoring of whether aid reaches the most vulnerable and excluded, and to communicate more honestly with UK taxpayers about the successes, challenges, and complexities of development.
What I Want to Hear from the UK Development Secretary: How to Improve Whole-of-Government Aid Spending
Successive governments have long felt that UK Department for International Development (DFID) needs to work better with the rest of Whitehall. There have been efforts to join up better in government, sometimes successfully, but there remains a feeling in Whitehall that DFID is too tribal, too protective of its budget, and unwilling to roll up its sleeves to contribute to the government’s wider priorities including security, economic opportunities, and influence.