The UK is to stop direct aid to 16 countries, including Russia, China and Iraq, the BBC revealed Sunday.
Papers seen by the BBC suggest a draft copy of the government’s review of its overseas aid budget – due to be published this week – also reveals aid to India will be frozen.
But overall, the international development budget will rise by a third in this Parliament as a new approach focuses on value for money, it says. The report states that aid spending is good for Britain’s economy and safety.
The draft document outlines plans for greater transparency and accountability, with an emphasis on funding programmes that deliver greater results and which, specifically, help girls and women.
Resources will be focused on the 27 countries that account for three-quarters of the world’s maternal mortality and malaria deaths, such as Ghana and Afghanistan. By 2014, 30 percent of UK aid is expected to go to war-torn and unstable countries.
The report confirms that direct aid to countries including Iraq and Kosovo will stop, whilst aid to India will be frozen.
India is currently one of the biggest recipients of UK development aid, and there have been media campaigns in the UK suggesting an economy growing at nearly 10 percent a year simply does not need British assistance.
But others point out that nearly half a billion people in India are still desperately poor, and efforts to reduce global poverty will not progress without significant aid.
Earlier this weekend, it emerged that the UK is threatening to switch funding away from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization — which focuses on longer term projects, such as providing seeds and tools for agriculture — unless its performance improves.
Instead, more funding could go to the World Food Programme, which deals with emergency food aid around the globe. As a major aid donor, any cut or change in UK funding of UN programmes is likely to have a big impact.