A requirement to spend 0.7 per cent of Gross Domestic Income (GDI) on foreign aid means the United Kingdom is now dumping billions of pounds as the Department for International Development (DfID) scrambles to meet the target.
The fixed budget of DfID was set by David Cameron in 2013 amid austerity and cuts among almost all other government departments. While the figure, which ostensibly puts Britain in a small group of top ‘giving’ nations, remains controversial it now transpires the £12.2 billion it puts aside for foreign aid is more than DfID can find projects to spend on.
Instead, civil servants are now “dumping” billions into trust funds at the World Bank to give the impression the money is being spent, reports The Times. In 2015, roughly a quarter of the budget went to the World Bank alone.
Speaking to the newspaper, a senior consultant who has worked on both sides of the relationship for both DfID and the World Bank said: “Dfid dumps large sums into trust funds and accounts for it as spent against a given year’s UK aid budget.
“Judging by the large balances the World Bank and the United Nations hold, some of the money then sits there for years.”
The Times reports analysis of the accounts which suggests some four billion of the £17.5 billion present held by the World Bank was given by the United Kingdom. This is despite efforts to ensure the department was spending the money guaranteed to it from British taxpayers effectively.
While billions go into holding at the World Bank, far from the remainder has been seen to reach worthwhile projects worldwide. Breitbart London reported in 2015 on the so-called ‘Ethiopian Spice Girls’ Yegna, who receives millions of pounds of funding from DfID to “empower” girls in Africa.
While funding was halted to the project over concerns it wasn’t a worthy use of British taxpayers’ money, a report signed the group off and they are now receiving millions more, reports the Daily Mail. An additional £5.2 million would go to the group, as well as £16 million to affiliated projects.
The money will keep the girl-group solvent until 2018.
Follow Oliver Lane on Twitter: Follow @Oliver_Lane or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org