Economist: Timid UK Aid Reforms May Grow More Radical

Men unload boxes of aid from the U.K. Department for International Development. The U.K. could radically change its foreign aid policies, according to The Economist. Photo by: Julien Harneis / CC BY-SA 2.0 Julien HarneisCC BY-SA 2.0

The U.K. is possibly in for a radical reform of foreign aid, according to The Economist.

U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell is open to “radical thinking” when it comes to running foreign aid programs.

The U.K. aid chief, influenced by the Washington think-tank, Center for Global Development, said he intends to encourage a new form of overseas aid known as “cash on delivery,” where donors will disburse agreed funding once partner nations chart specific outcomes such as reducing HIV levels or child mortality. Donors cannot intervene on how such specific outcomes will be achieved, while an auditor decides how financing is disbursed.

The “cash on delivery” concept allows aid-recipient nations to have more control over spending development assistance. CGD chief Nancy Birdsall is delighted that Mitchell is ready to implement this idea.

Mitchell has also vowed to increase aid transparency by posting more official documents on the Department for International Development’s website. A review of the work of U.K.’s partner international aid organizations is also planned.

The British government will end its assistance programs in China and Russia. India, however, will continue receiving U.K. aid.

About the author

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    Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.