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 6:42 PM
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.
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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid