UK ODA: Facts and Figures from CFID

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You may have been hearing a lot about UK AID over the last several days. There have been a lot of concerns expressed about waste in the budget and the fact that, during COVID, the UK cannot afford it.

Given the recent debates on international development and its importance, we thought it would be helpful to share with you some information about the international development budget and its impact.

How big is the International Development budget? It’s often reported that Britain’s public services are ‘crying out for cash’. But whilst we spent £91 billion on education, the International Development budget totals £14.9 billion. In terms of “bang for buck” Britain is well-respected globally, creates stability and increases its influence overseas through this commitment. This also supports our important Global Britain agenda, reinforcing our position as net positive contributors on the world stage.

How does the International Development budget help Britain? For every $1 of UK aid spent overseas, the UK saw a $0.22 increase in exports, thereby providing an estimated 12,000 extra UK jobs.

What we spend it on.  Here are 12 KEY EXAMPLES of how effective our International Development money has been.

  1. The UK has helped more than 250 million people to be lifted from poverty. Our development budget has helped 40 million children go to primary school. By educating people abroad we help to stimulate job creation and economic growth, helping to nurture new businesses and grow them into potential export partners.
  2. The UK has helped over 55.1 million children under five, women of childbearing age and adolescent girls to receive decent nutrition. Good nutrition plays a key role in child development – children who are malnourished are more likely to get sick and die.
  3. The UK has ensured that at least 6 million people have gained access to clean water and / or better sanitation.
  4. The UK has helped 3 million children receive vital immunisations, saving millions of lives and limiting the spread of disease to our shores.
  5. The UK has provided humanitarian assistance to over 6 million people, including 8.2 million women and girls, often saving them from starvation and helping them rebuild communities in their own regions.
  6. The UK has distributed 47 million bed nets to prevent malaria and has invested in malaria treatment, which means malaria deaths have fallen by a third.
  7. The UK has provided 9 million people, including 35.9 million women, with access to financial services to help them work their way out of poverty. Unleashing prosperity in developing countries helps end aid dependency, empowers countries to stand on their own two feet and become UK trading partners.
  8. The UK supported freer and fairer elections in 13 countries in which 1 million people voted, helping to create more stable countries and durable allies.
  9. Businesses backed by British aid in Africa have created three million jobs and generated $9 billion in new tax revenue that can be invested in improving vital public services like healthcare and education.
  10. Nearly half of the children who have fled conflict in Syria risk are being denied an education because of displacement. The UK is ensuring a generation of young people are not left behind by supporting 300,000 refugees in Lebanon to go to school.
  11. The UK has provided refugees from Syria with 28 million food rations, over 17 million medical consultations, and over 12 million vaccines. This aid helps stop mass migration.
  12. In Iraq, there was more than a million displaced peoples, whose lives had been devastated by Daesh. They were able to safely return home thanks to the UK Aid-funded mine clearance mission. Thanks to UK Aid, approximately 16,500 explosives, 800 suicide belts and 2,000 deadly explosives traps were cleared from schools, hospitals and roads.[1]

Trade and economic growth are the route out of poverty – but aid is the key to unlocking this. Aid does things which markets fundamentally cannot. Done well, it both stimulates growth and ensures that this growth is sustainable.

In addition, our international development investment provides support to our friends and allies, who need us today more than ever. The Covid crisis has put democratic governments, our friends and allies in the developing world under huge pressure.  Authoritarian states are becoming increasingly assertive, disruptive and problematic influences and the pandemic has torn open vulnerabilities for them to exploit. 

Even the appearance of shifting funding away from international development will result not just in risks to those countries and people we look to help, but will make us more vulnerable. We risk seeing doors closing to Global Britain, just as we are throwing them open again for the first time in four decades. We must show we are ready to take a leading role in supporting the international community in order to build a better and safer world for all.

If you are interested in development and the Conservatives, please consider becoming a supporter of CFID, which is an active and vital community of Conservatives passionate about development.

If you have any questions on this or any other issues relating to international development please feel free Get in Touch via the form below.


[1] For further detail on how the international development budget is spent, the DFID Results Estimates Report provides useful information. In addition, information on aid impact is included in public information provided by international non-governmental organisations who are partners of HMG. For information on the impact on children, see https://www.savethechildren.org and  For information on vaccinations and health, see and For information on nutrition and eradication of extreme poverty, see and For information on de-mining and disarmament, see


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