Black Affairs, Africa and Development

At last! Tories see sense on aid: Cash will go to UK firms investing abroad – not corrupt regimes

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  • British companies will use money to win infrastructure contracts
  • International Development Secretary Justine Greening to announce change
  • Follows years of critcism of aid budget being squandered
  • Prime Minister David Cameron said to be ‘hugely enthusiastic’

Foreign aid is to be diverted through British companies to prevent it falling into the hands of corrupt and wasteful regimes.

Firms will use the money to win infrastructure contracts and boost struggling economies in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

The radical move, to be announced by International Development Secretary Justine Greening next week, is being seen as a victory for common sense in the bitter controversy over the £11billion international development budget, which has been ringfenced while other departments face cuts.

It follows years of criticism that the nation’s ballooning aid budget is being squandered by Third World governments on ineffective projects, or lining the pockets of corrupt officials.

Prime Minister David Cameron was said to be ‘hugely enthusiastic’ about the shift of emphasis from simply fighting poverty with handouts to economic development.

In future, a significant portion of the aid budget – adding up to billions over the years – will be used to secure contracts for British firms to build roads, railways and key buildings such as schools and hospitals.

Miss Greening will tell the London Stock Exchange next week: ‘I want to see British business joining the development push with [the Department for International Development]. We all have a huge opportunity to help build up responsible trade with the emerging economies of developing countries.

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