The Smart thing

Sometimes just being right isn’t enough. At a time of great economic difficulty there is a heightened responsibility to ensure that the best value is achieved for every pound the UK spends on international development both for the poorest of the world and for British taxpayers.

By prioritising what works, boosting the private sector, harnessing new technology, promoting transparency and governance, and placing girls and women at the heart of international development policy, the UK is ensuring that its development pounds deliver results.

A new approach

The UK is committed to tackling the root causes of poverty–not just the symptoms. Spending money on the symptoms of poverty will never be enough. Failing institutions create the conditions for poverty to flourish crushing any hope people have for earning their own livelihoods and having a fair say in how their country is run.

Making this transformation a reality means using aid differently, as a catalyst to unleash the dynamism of developing economies. This can mean using our aid to harness new technologies, for example, so that farmers can use mobile phones to access the latest in formation ensuring they receive a fair price at market. It can also mean helping establish rule of law through supporting the development of an independent police and judiciary; building resilience of local communities so that they can adapt and with stand the impact of a changing climate that results in increased floods, droughts and famine; or using satellite photos to map plots of land that will embed property rights.

Developing people,developing countries,and developing partnerships

It is in everyone’s interest for countries around the world to be stable and secure, to have educated and healthy populations, and to have growing economies. It is good for the people of the countries concerned and also good for Britain.

As countries develop, they become bigger markets. In 1992, the value of UK exports to China was just £600 million, by 2011 this had risen to £12.5 billion and growing. Similarly exports to India have grown substantially over the same period from £1.25 billion in 1992 to £8.3 billion in 2011. In 2011 trade with Kenya stood at £1billion, South Africa £5.5 billion. Not just more lives saved, or more children in school. It will ultimately mean more countries we can trade with, more jobs and a safer world for everyone.

Our international development policy matters for our security too. Overseas conflicts present both the biggest obstacles to reducing global poverty and can act as incubators of threats to the UK. Intensifying development work in such countries can help reduce the threat to the UK from the indirect consequences of conflict; terrorism and organised crime.