News / Africa

South Africa Surprised By UK Decision to End Aid

British politician Justine Greening leaves No. 10 Downing Street in central London on Sept. 4, 2012.British politician Justine Greening leaves No. 10 Downing Street in central London on Sept. 4, 2012.
British politician Justine Greening leaves No. 10 Downing Street in central London on Sept. 4, 2012.
British politician Justine Greening leaves No. 10 Downing Street in central London on Sept. 4, 2012.
Anita Powell
The United Kingdom’s announcement Tuesday that it would stop all direct aid to South Africa by 2015 has provoked consternation and confusion in Pretoria.  An official in the foreign ministry says South Africa was not told in advance of the decision, and that the move could “redefine” the two nations’ relationship. 
British International Development Secretary Justine Greening said Tuesday that the U.K. is ending direct aid to South Africa, worth about $29 million per year. 
Greening said she had consulted with South African officials ahead of the decision and that they had agreed that “South Africa is now in a position to fund its own development.”
However, in Pretoria, South Africa’s capital, officials said they were taken by surprise. 
Foreign ministry spokesman Clayson Monyela suggested the decision could have a major impact on British-South African relations.
“The South African government has noted with regret this unilateral announcement by the government of the United Kingdom regarding the termination of the official development of aid to South Africa.  It’s a major move with far-reaching implications, particularly on the projects that are currently running, and and it is tantamount to redefining our relationship," he said. 
Monyela did not say what that new relationship might entail.  The two countries cooperate on a variety of issues and across a variety of platforms, diplomatically and otherwise. 
South Africa is Britain’s largest trading partner in Africa.  And both countries are home to a significant number of citizens from the other country. 
South African officials like to tout their nation’s status as a rising economic powerhouse.  The country recently became the newest member of BRICS, a group of emerging economies that includes Brazil, Russia, India and China.  
South Africa is also the biggest economy in Africa and is home to a growing black middle class. 
But despite those achievements, foreign ministry spokesman Monyela made it clear South Africa is not pleased with the suddenness of Britain's announcement.
“Inasmuch as we appreciate how we are being viewed by the world, including the U.K., that we are a growing economy, influential, a member of BRICS and  therefore carry and wield some influence in global affairs - inasmuch as we appreciate all of those things, the key issue we are raising is that there shouldn’t be a space for unilateral decisions and announcements within the framework of the U.K.-S.A. bilateral forum.  Things must be discussed, there should be consultation and modalities agreed to," said Monyela. 
For now, Monyela said, the government will have to figure out how to continue funding some of the rural development projects the United Kingdom had taken on. 
The U.K.'s Greening said that after British aid stops in 2015, the two nations will focus on trade. 

You May Like

Video Egyptian Journalists Call for Freedom of Press

Despite release of al-Jazeera journalists and others, Egyptian Journalist Syndicate says some remain imprisoned More

Turkey Survey Indicates Traditional Distrusts, Shift to the West

Comprehensive public opinion survey also found a large majority of those interviewed distrust all countries other than country’s neighbor, Azerbaijan More

Pakistan Court Upholds Death Sentence in Blasphemy Killing

Highest court upholds sentence of Mumtaz Qadri convicted of 2011 killing a provincial governor for criticizing country’s controversial blasphemy law More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Justin Goldsmith
May 01, 2013 1:38 PM
How does the UK generate such wealth that it can afford to give away $29 Million since 1994? It would be interesting the total amount of grant money to Africa and who the recipients are.

by: Adrian Hanekom
April 30, 2013 3:57 PM
After Zuma spent the last batch of foreign aid on his mansion I don't really think there should be any confusion.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Music Brings Generations Together

When musicians over the age of 50 headline a rock concert, you expect to see baby boomer fans in the audience. Boomer rock stars have boomer fans. Millennial rock stars have millennial fans. But this isn’t always the case. Take the Lockn’ Music festival which took place in mid-September in rural Arrington, Virginia. Here, Jacquelyn de Phillips discovered two generations of people who are considered quite different in the outside world, spending 4 days together in music-loving harmony.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs