An increase in Australia’s development assistance for Africa was meant to win the backing of sub-Saharan nations for Australia’s bid to secure a seat on the United Nations Security Council, not its campaign to host the World Cup.
“The aid was increased by 30 or 40 per cent to help the UN bid and, of course, because it is the right thing to do in a region with so much poverty,” a senior Australian government official told The Weekend Australian.
Australia intends to spend more than 200 million Australian dollars (USD163.8 million) in Africa for the 2010-2011 financial year, up from 164 million Australian dollars in the current financial year, 2009-2010. The money will be used mainly to support projects on education, agriculture, maternal health, and water and sanitation.
The surge in Australian aid for Africa began before former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s government announced it would support Football Federation Australia’s bid to host the World Cup and after Rudd declared plans to win a U.N. Security Council seat, according to The Weekend Australian.
Investigations by the paper, The Age, accused Australia of using foreign aid funding and proposing the appointment of key officials of the International Federation of Association Football, or FIFA, as honorary consuls to secure support for its campaign to host the World Cup.
AusAID refuted claims that the FFA-backed program with the Oceania Football Confederation was related to Australia’s bid to host the World Cup. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade also denied promising diplomatic postings.
“The government has not appointed honorary consuls in relation to the FFA bid to host the World Cup in 2022,” A DFAT spokesman said. “Honorary consuls are only established where there is a demonstrated need for an Australian presence to provide consular services to Australians overseas.”