A new paper published by the Civitas think tank recommends a sharp change of direction in UK aid policy.
The paper written by Jonathan Foreman - a freelance journalist - makes the following five key recommendations:
One-third of Britain's aid budget should be diverted over the next few years from development spending and go to expand Britain's defence capabilities and also the reach of the BBC's World Service.
By choosing not to hit the 0.7% target Mr Foreman argues £3bn could be added to the MoD's budget and be used to develop dual use road, air and sea equipment that could both serve military and emergency humanitarian purposes.
Foreman also says that part of the money should be used to fund all of the BBC World Service's foreign language services (at a cost of about £250m). The House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Select Committee has made similar recommendations in the past.
A Royal Commission on aid that would examine the purpose and effectiveness of Britain's development budget.
Reverse Tony Blair's 1997 decision to establish the Department for International Development and re-integrate DfID into the Foreign Office.
Recruitment of forensic investigators from the Serious Fraud Office to investigate abuses of British aid by foreign governments.
Cut Britain's contributions to wasteful multilateral organisations such as the EU where aid monies do not go to the world's poorest people but often to nations of political importance to France and Germany.
The TaxPayers' Alliance is launching a new campaign today calling for the Government to oppose further World Bank loans to Argentina. The campaign includes an e-petition and new research (pdf) looking at the scale of the funding - the TPA's findings show that taxpayers' money is supporting loans to Argentina worth over £225 million, despite Argentina advocating a boycott of British goods, and its hostile and belligerent attitude towards Britain's territory in the Falkland Islands. The TPA also argues that Argentina has no pressing humanitarian need for aid.
The TPA is also releasing the video below to highlight the petition:
TPA research shows that outstanding loans from World Bank institutions to Argentina were worth $16.2 billion in March this year. Based on Britain's shareholdings in the two responsible institutions, British taxpayers are responsible for more than £225 million in loans to Argentina. The TPA says that we would not be isolated by voting against new World Bank loans to Argentina - the Obama administration already has a policy of voting against new loans, because of Argentina’s treatment of existing creditors. British representatives could be instructed to support the American policy.
Open Europe, the European reformist think-tank, has today published a report looking at the EU’s external aid spending. Open Europe examines how much the EU spends and where, in light of spending reviews in Britain, and the new challenges in overseas aid created by recent developments in Africa and the Arab world. Some key findings:
The UK currently contributes £1,424m to EU external aid spending, around 18% of the UK’s £7,767m total aid budget.
Only 46% of EU aid reached lower income countries in 2009, compared with 74% of UK aid and 58% of EU member state governments’ aid.
From 2000-2009, developing European countries received $10.49 per capita, while Sub-Saharan Africa received only $3.94 per capita.
Turkey was the top recipient of EU aid in 2009 and other European neighbours Kosovo and Serbia were also in the top ten recipients.
EU aid, which is managed by the European Commission, currently has administration costs of 5.4%, compared to the UK’s Department for International Development’s (DFID) costs of 4%, and the UK Government’s target of reducing these to 2% by 2014-15.
Some EU aid streams, such as the programme for African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, have administration costs as high as 8.6%.
€1.4bn or 10% of EU aid is needlessly passed on to other multilateral donors every year, such as the UN and World Bank. This money is simply being recycled between donors – up to three times in some cases – before it reaches a recipient country.
In 2009, the Commission also agreed to ‘delegate’ €242.7m worth of aid spending back to the EU’s national governments, which begs the question why the money was ever given to the EU by member states in the first place.
EU aid is too often not aligned with other EU policies. For example, in 2008, the Commission established a migration centre in Mali to provide support to migrants seeking temporary jobs in the EU. However, with only Spain having signed a migration agreement with Mali, the €10m centre has helped only six Malians find work in Europe.
The EU often lacks the proper controls and monitoring to ensure money is not wasted or lost to corruption, especially as a result of the current drive to transfer up to 50% of its aid directly to recipient governments’ treasuries, through ‘budget support'.
Some aid funding does not even leave the EU, or even Brussels. In 2009 alone, the EU granted a Brussels-based communications agency nearly €500,000 to produce promotional material including €90,000 to co-ordinate an “I fight poverty” music contest amongst young people in Europe, to increase “development awareness”.
The author criticises the inherent left-wing bias of human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and calls for market-based solutions to tackle human rights abuses and global poverty. The report contrasts "freedom rights" with "social rights" and argues that capitalism should be supported by the human rights industry.
The Legatum Prosperity Index is the only global assessment of wealth and wellbeing of over one hundred countries. The index uses a number of indicators to rank nations on a range of policy areas and includes an overall ranking.