The UK government has therefore been commended for increasing its development spending to 0.72 per cent of gross national income despite a challenging budget climate, according to a new review by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The OECD has thus urged the UK to strive to maintain that level of aid for the years ahead, a document made available to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on Thursday has stated.
In its latest Peer Review of the United Kingdom, the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) said that by raising its aid by 30.5 per cent to £11.4 billion in 2013 the UK became the world’s number two donor by aid volume after the U.S.
The UK is the first major economy to meet the 0.7 per cent target agreed by international donors in 1970. The average ODA/GNI ratio among DAC members is 0.30 per cent.
The scaling-up of the UK’s aid budget was planned in a way that should ensure the extra money was well spent and had the greatest possible impact, according to the Review.
The Review also praised the UK for its focus on the countries that are most in need, including fragile and conflict-affected states such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Ethiopia.
In 2012 the UK allocated 0.19 per cent of its GNI to the least-developed countries, above a UN goal of 0.15 per cent, and with more than half of its bilateral ODA that year going to sub-Saharan Africa.
The UK’s Department for International Development’s (DFID) focus on social infrastructure and services reflected the UK’s emphasis on meeting the Millennium Development Goals, the Review said.
“The UK has remained committed to fighting global poverty despite its own economic crisis and has fulfilled its promise to spend 0.7 per cent of its GNI on development aid. This is an impressive achievement and shows that a persistent political will can bring ambitious goals within reach,” said DAC Chairman Erik Solheim.
The UK could do more, however, to bring a development dimension into the government’s broader work by drawing on capacities in other departments to support aid programmes, the Review noted.
It could also step up its efforts to ensure that domestic and foreign policies in areas like defence and migration support its development work and do more to monitor these efforts – an area where the UK’s performance has not improved since 2010, according to the Review.
The Review found that the UK fully implemented 15 out of 19 recommendations in the 2010 Review, such as putting a stronger emphasis on producing more and better evidence about what works in development to help achieve better value for money.
The UK should now work on simplifying some of the more cumbersome operational procedures within DFID, the OECD urged.
Each DAC member is reviewed every four to five years as a way to monitor its performance, hold it accountable for past commitments and recommend improvements.
A review uses input from officials in the country being reviewed as well as civil society, the private sector and other donors in recipient countries.