The European Union is seeking a 0.8 percent increase of its external aid payments to €7.293 billion ($10.6 billion) for 2012. Funding for the EU’s external policy, which covers trade, development assistance and cooperation agreements, represents 5.5 percent of the bloc’s 2012 draft payment appropriations budget worth €132.7 billion.
The Dutch government has urged the EU to explain some of the “misguided” development projects funded by the bloc following the release of a report by the U.K.-based think tank Open Europe alleging that less than half of EU foreign aid goes to the world’s poorest countries.
Meantime, the bloc is doubling its humanitarian assistance to Ivory Coast, which is reeling from the impacts of post-election violence, to €60 million. The International Monetary Fund has pledged technical assistance and financial support to Ivory Coast, while the African Development Bank is considering returning to the Ivorian city of Abidjan, “once the conditions are in place.”
In the United Kingdom, the Labour Party launched April 20 a review of its international development policy, which will be spearheaded by a working group that will also advise the U.K. shadow international development team. The majority of 200 members of Finland’s new parliament, meanwhile, pledged to consider scaling up the country’s development cooperation budget.
The U.S. government is threatening to halt its aid for Cambodia over a draft legislation that seeks to regulate non-governmental organizations in the Asian country, while the World Bank is looking to implement an anti-corruption scheme targeting the the construction industry.
Jan Willem van den Wall Bake – Dutch full-member representative to the European Investment Bank’s board of directors
Michael Greene – U.S. Agency for International Development’s mission director for Afghanistan
Owen Barder – senior fellow and director for Europe at the Center for Global Development
Tim Cooper – research director at InterMedia