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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid