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UK cuts in international aid set to impact developing countries

UK cuts in international aid set to impact developing countries
27 September 2021

According to the information released in the annual report of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, the UK’s bilateral aid to developing countries – countries classified as low- and lower-middle-income by the World Bank – is set to fall by a total of £1,2 billion (€1,4 billion) next year. Budget cuts will particularly affect countries in Africa (-50%) and in the Middle East (-60%), as well as Turkey (-37%) and Venezuela (-98%). Lower-income countries in Asia will also see the amount of UK aid fall, in particular, Bangladesh and Pakistan will see a reduction of respectively 62% and 40%. Fragile and conflict-affected regions (ex. Lebanon, Syria, Yemen) will also see less spending. Contrarily some Latin-American countries will benefit from the reallocation of resources, notably Mexico, whose allocation will go from nothing to £4,7 million, and Brazil, going from close to nothing to £7,8 million.

This comes as a consequence of the redefinition of commitments announced in November by Boris Johnson’s government, reducing the national spending on international aid from 0,7% to 0,5% of the gross national income. Among the sectors affected by these cuts are climate and environment, health, humanitarian, trade, and education and gender equality, all affected by aid cuts. On the other hand, spending for sanctions, economic cooperation, and growth is expected to go up.

This new plan shows a shift in the priorities of the Government, as some historically close partners (Kenya, Nigeria) receive important pay cuts, while other countries (Brazil, Mexico) receive important increases. The plan also highlights that “All future plans are subject to revision as, by its nature, the department’s work is dynamic”, opening to the possibility of further cuts in the future.

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