Evolution of the International Development Assistance System in the UK (1997-2016)

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2018-62-4-35-44
O. Kul’kova (kulkova-olga@yandex.ru),
Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, 30/1, Spiridonovka Str., Moscow, 123001, Russian Federation


Acknowledgement. The article is prepared at the expense of the Russian Fund for Fundamental Research grant 15-07-00061a “International development assistance as foreign policy tool: foreign experience”. 

Abstract. The article is devoted to the analysis of the evolution that the British system of international development assistance has undergone from 1997 to 2016 in the course of changing Labour and Conservative governments in power. Attention is paid to how the evaluation of aid effectiveness was conducted, how interdepartmental interaction was carried out in implementing the goals of promoting international development. The relevance of the article is based on the fact that it shows the historical evolution of the British governments’ approaches to strategic planning and implementation of the international development assistance policy, basing on the analysis of a wide range of documentary sources and scientific research. One of the most important conclusions is that since 1997, Britain has made the international development assistance sphere one of its major domestic and foreign policy priorities, and this persists despite the transfer of power from Labour to Coalition and then Conservative governments. In the current British strategy of aid for development, the emphasis is placed on linking this aid to ensuring security, overcoming conflicts, to the “securitization” agenda, and to the promotion of trade with developing countries. Under the government of Theresa May, the British system of international development assistance is awaiting a new round of reforming, as the country has entered a turbulence zone caused by the initiated process of its withdrawal from the EU. Most likely, the forms of cooperation between the Department for International Development and the EU agencies and organizations responsible for aid provision will be reviewed. It is also quite possible that DFID’s very existence can be placed under question in the future. The system of the UK aid to international development is facing many challenges presently. However, despite serious problems, the British aid policy has many strong assets and continues to develop. The UK has enshrined in law its commitment to spend 0.7% of its gross national income (GNI) on aid every year, which made it the first G7 country to meet the UN’s 45-year-old aid spending target. This shows Britain’s commitment to keep its place among the major donors and, moreover, to influence the global development agenda.

Keywords: United Kingdom (UK), Department for International Development (DFID), international development assistance, official development assistance (ODA), development aid, reform of the British international development assistance system


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For citation:
Kulkova O. Evolution of the International Development Assistance System in the UK (1997-2016). World Eonomy and International Relations, 2018, vol. 62, no. 4, pp. 35-44. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2018-62-4-35-44

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