Overseas aid is not just the right thing, but the smart thing to do. Building a safer, more stable and prosperous world will help protect our citizens from diseases like Ebola, prevent failed states becoming havens for terrorists, build long-term markets for our businesses, reduce the pressure on migration to the UK and win Britain credit on the world stage. It is overwhelmingly in our national interest.
Keeping our promises
The UK is meeting it's commitment to the world’s poorest people to spend 0.7 per cent of GNI on aid, equivalent to 1.6p in every pound the government spends. This is immunising millions against diseases, giving people access to better sanitation, helping 10 million starving children and enabling millions of children to attend school. The Department for International Development (DfID) is also working to improve governance and boost trade in developing countries and ensure aid gets to those who need it.
Making an impact
Between 1990 and 2010 the world halved the number of people living on less than $1.25-a-day or 80p, lifting 700 million people out of extreme poverty. Access to an improved drinking water source also became a reality for 2.3 billion people. In 2012, 90 per cent of children in developing regions attended primary school, up from 83% in 2000. Six million children under 5 died in 2012 compared to 12 million in 1990. There is much more to do but UK aid contributed to this incredible progress.
Focusing on the root causes of poverty
The Government is committed to focusing on tackling the root causes of poverty not just the symptoms.
Working to end violence against women and girls. DfID is working to prevent sexual violence in conflict and to eliminate the appalling practices of child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM). In July 2014 the UK hosted a Girl Summit to increase the pace of global action to end FGM and early and forced marriage forever.
Getting more children into school. DfID is helping to train 190,000 new teachers and to date UK aid has supported 10.2 million children to go to primary and lower secondary school, including nearly 5 million girls, 600,000 of them in Nigeria alone.
Protecting millions of children against disease. UK aid is funding programmes to vaccinate over 80 million children which will help to save 1.4 million lives. DfID is also helping to vaccinate 45 million children against measles, saving 100,000 lives, and working to finally rid the world of polio.
Improving the health of millions of the poorest people. Between 2010/11 and 2013/14 UK aid ensured 3.6 million births took place safely and in the presence of nurses, midwives or doctors, which has helped to save the lives of 36,000 mothers and 64,000 babies. UK aid has also helped to reduce the number of malaria infections worldwide and distributed nearly 34 million bed nets, specially designed to give long lasting protection against insects.
Boosting economic growth. The ultimate goal of development should be to end aid dependency through growth and jobs. DfID has transformed the way Britain’s aid budget is spent to help developing countries improve their business environments and generate their own tax revenues. In 2013 UK aid helped 11.6 million people, including 5.3 million women, access financial services through mobile phones so they can overcome the problem of a lack of bank facilities in developing countries. UK aid also helped create 6.5m jobs and livelihoods via the international organisations (like the World Bank) that we support. Between 2010/11 and 2013/14 DfID's support helped 1.6m people secure their land and property rights.
Working to combat hunger and water shortages. In the last parliament the UK aid has prevented 19.3 million children and pregnant women from going hungry and given greater food security to 2.5 million people.
Making sure the UK’s aid budget is transparent and achieving value for money. All Department for International Development (DFID) spend above £500 is now published on its website. The threshold for ministerial approval of projects was reduced from £40m to £5m. DfID has also reduced central administrative costs by 30%. DfID checks the risks of corruption and only provides funding if it is clear it will be used for proper purposes. DfID is committed to getting maximum value for taxpayers’ money. It has reduced core admin spend by a third (and has some of the lowest overheads of all Whitehall departments), clamped down on the travel policy for staff and stuck rigorously to the cross-government marketing freeze - while driving a radical reform of British aid spending.