U.K. Should Continue To Invest In Foreign Aid Through DFID

Devex: Opinion: The death of DFID?
Alex Thier, chief of policy, planning, and learning at USAID from 2013-2015, director of U.S. assistance to Afghanistan and Pakistan from 2010-2013, and former executive director of the Overseas Development Institute

“Of the countless casualties piling up on the Brexit funeral pyre, there may be a new one coming with far-reaching consequences beyond British shores: the potential demise of the U.K. Department for International Development. … The threat to DFID’s existence and independence comes from Boris Johnson, the arch-Brexiteer and former British foreign secretary and London mayor who is most likely to succeed Theresa May as Britain’s next prime minister. As foreign secretary, Johnson maneuvered to absorb DFID into the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. … This play for the robust resources of British foreign aid is not new. The Tories have tended to want to consolidate the power of the foreign aid purse into the foreign office, and Labour to create an independent entity. … The core lesson of the last few years — with climate crises, pandemics, and mass displacement — must be that so-called ‘development’ problems are actually fundamental national security issues. The ability to deal with extremism, migration, and threats to the global food supply are top priorities on anyone’s list, and foreign assistance will be an absolutely critical tool to addressing them. If anything, more diplomatic power must be redirected to addressing these problems, rather than winnowing the aid resources. … If Johnson and Britain want influence and results, they will do well to invest their money effectively in things that are critical to planetary stability and survival. That’s what DFID is there for” (5/28).

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