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.
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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid