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

Pakistan Among Developing Countries Hit Hard by Global Warming

Pakistani officials hope developed nations agree to scale back emissions, offer help in dealing with climate change

Video Speed, Social Media Shape Counterterrorism Probes

Speed is critical in effort to prevent subsequent attacks; demographics of extremists lend themselves to communicating, establishing profiles on digital platforms

Islamic State Oil Trade Seduces Friends, Foes Alike

Terrorist group rakes in up to $500 million a year in sales to customers such as Syrian government, US-supported rebels and Turkey

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.

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigationsi
Katherine Gypson
December 01, 2015 10:06 PM
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigations

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Russia Marks World AIDS Day With Grim News

While HIV infection rates have steadied or even declined in many European countries, the caseload has grown rapidly in Russia, as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow. Over half of the new infections were transmitted through injection drug use.

Video Pakistan Hit Hard by Global Warming

As world leaders meet in Paris to craft a new global agreement aimed at cutting climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions, many developing countries are watching closely for the final results. While most developing nations contribute much less to global warming than developed countries, they often feel the effects to a disproportionate degree. As Saud Zafar reports from Karachi, one such nation is Pakistan. Aisha Khalid narrates his report.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

VOA Blogs