The UK unveiled its new International Development Strategy on Monday. The country has revamped this strategy because of the significant changes in global politics, with the re-emergence of Great Power confrontation (as against mere competition) and the concomitant increase in the risk of major inter-State wars.
The new strategy was launched by UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Secretary (Cabinet Minister) Liz Truss. The accompanying official press release assured that, under the new strategy, the UK would “sustain our commitment to Africa and ensure our development programmes in the Indo-Pacific remain a critical part of our ambition to increase our focus on the region.”
"In an increasingly geopolitical world, we must use development as a key part of our foreign policy,” she affirmed. “Malign actors treat economics and development as a means of control, using patronage, investment and debt as a form of economic coercion and political power. We won’t mirror their malign tactics, but we will match them in our resolve to provide an alternative."
The new British strategy had four priorities. One: to use the financial strength of the City of London and the country’s financial expertise to deliver honest and reliable investments by means of British Investment Partnerships, coupled with support for developing countries to create sustainable ‘green’ economies. Two: to provide girls and women with “the freedom they need to succeed”, using bilateral aid to educate girls, empower girls and women, protect them against violence and liberate their potential. Three: to increase and prioritise humanitarian aid and assistance, with assigned funding of £3-billion over the next three years. Four: to continue to drive and support programmes and projects regarding climate change, the natural environment and worldwide health.
“The new strategy, launched [Monday], will ensure that our international development work brings benefit across the globe and here at home,” stated Truss. “Our strategy will deepen economic, security and development ties globally, while delivering jobs and growth in both the UK and partner countries.”
As part of the new strategy, the UK would increasingly transfer its aid funding from multilateral to bilateral programmes. The aim was that, by 2025, 75% of the UK’s aid budget would be used to fund bilateral and country-specific programmes. This was to allow the UK, in the words of the press release, “to deliver more aid directly to where it is needed”.