News / Africa

South Africa Row Sparks Debate Over Foreign Aid In Britain

South Africa Spat Sparks Debate Over Foreign Aid in Britaini
X
May 03, 2013
South Africa has criticized Britain's announcement that it will cut aid payments by 2015. The row has sparked a debate over whether foreign aid should be given to rapidly developing countries, at a time of austerity at home. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
TEXT SIZE - +
Henry Ridgwell
— South Africa has criticized Britain's announcement that it will cut aid payments by 2015. The row has sparked a debate over whether foreign aid should be given to rapidly developing countries, at a time of austerity at home.

South Africa is the newest member of the BRICS group of major emerging economies, alongside China, Russia, Brazil and India. South Africa's success is the reason Britain says it plans to end aid payments to South Africa worth $29.5 million a year.

South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan criticized Britain's decision in a speech at London-based analyst group Chatham House.

"Some intention to demonstrate some kind of fiscal probity here [in Britain], using South Africa as a guinea pig, I think is extremely improper and highly regrettable," Gordhan said.

Gordhan said the relatively small monetary amount is not the issue - it's the expertise that's important.

"South Africa is two societies in one. Yes there's a developed part of South Africa that doesn't need anybody's aid. But there's a developing part that the British government, through DfID [Department for International Development] could make a difference in. We don't need 19 million pounds [$29.5 million] a year. Fiscally we can manage that," Gordhan said.
 
That's a view echoed by ActionAid, a charity with its continental headquarters in South Africa. Its spokesperson is Melanie Ward.

"We're in this situation precisely because of the fact that aid works and development works. And so South Africa as a country has got richer. But still a lot of its people are extremely poor. One quarter of South Africans live on less than $2 a day," Ward said.

The diplomatic row has sparked a debate in Britain over whether countries with fast developing economies should still receive aid.
 
Last year Britain announced it will also end aid payments to India by 2015. The World Bank estimates that nearly 30 percent of India's 1.2 billion people live on less than a dollar a day.

But that's no reason to keep giving aid, says economist Fredrik Erixon, director of the European Centre for International Political Economy in Brussels.

"In fact, we have seen that foreign aid, rather, has preserved bad economic policies, bad economic institutions and bad regimes," Erixon said.

Erixon claims the laudable aims of aid agencies can be compromised on the ground.

"Receiving governments are not very happy of having foreign or international organizations operating inside their own country without them getting some piece of the pie as well," Erixon said.
 
Aid agencies have praised Britain for protecting its aid budget from spending cuts.
 
But with austerity measures biting hard elsewhere, there is much debate over whether the government should give more to its own citizens before helping others.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid