Rt Hon Andrew MitchellMP -Secretary of State for International Development
Ms Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala - Managing Director, World Bank
Rt Hon David Laws MP - Chair, All Party Parliamentary Group on Overseas Development
Andrew Mitchell and Ngozi Okonjo -Iweala addressed an audience of over 130 attendees and discussed their views on how to get the best deal for development in the current financial climate.
Chairman David Laws introduced the meeting with an extract from for Labour MP Chris Mullin’s diaries in which the author endorses Mr Mitchell’s commitment to International Development.
The newly installed Secretary of State spoke of the consensus across all political parties on the importance of the development budget. Citing the external causes of both terrorism and illegal immigration he noted the need to persuade sceptics of the fact that as well as being a moral issue, promoting development was very much in the national interest. Mitchell then went on to set out the 3 pillars of the coalition case for development. Firstly, they will continue to see conflict as a key delineator of poverty and therefore strive to prevent conflict and address associated poverty. Mr Mitchell drew on his own experiences of refugee camps to illustrate his points. Secondly the Government believes in the capacity of job creation and investment to generate wealth. A key part of this will be the successful completion of the Doha trade agreements. Finally, continuing the commitment to spending 0.7% will mean an increased need to demonstrate value for money. This will mean the creation of an ‘Aid Watchdog’ to monitor spending alongside reviews of bilateral and multilateral aid as well as British Emergency Relief. Andrew Mitchell also spoke of the importance of the Millennium Development Goals and an increased commitment to secondary education and private enterprise.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was introduced by Chair David Laws who highlighted her position at the World Bank and the current focus of her role on IDA-16 as well as her previous posts within the Nigerian Government.
Ngozi briefly outlined the history of the World Bank before identifying what she feels are the three main issues which need to be addressed to drive development. These were ensuring the effective management and use of a country’s own resources, creating the right environment for domestic and foreign investment and allowing aid to transform institutions. Ngozi gave a characteristically passionate speech about how development effectiveness could be delivered only allowing a country to make the big decisions about its own future, itself. That is how countries like South Korea, Egypt and Indonesia have made progress. Ngozi drew on the bank’s own work which highlights some of the numbers behind development progress including quantifiable figures on the number of lives estimated to have been saved by World Bank work. She said that if we are to focus on results then a move to a more performance based system would be possible and that rather than setting imaginary future goals donor and recipient countries could put in place interim targets on areas such as Education, Governance and corruption. Ngozi finished by confirming her belief that despite the financial crisis countries such as Britain would take forward their commitments to aid and the world’s poor.
The event closed with questions from members of the All Party Group on Overseas Development including Treasurer Tom Clarke and Elidih Whiteford. Members of the audience were also able to ask questions. Amongst the standout answers Andrew Mitchell commented that evidencing progress in development and showing results would need a form of long-term evaluation which married up research with more practical objectives. David Laws drew the event to a close.
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Overseas Development (APGOOD) has recently re-formed with a new executive committee and will be hosting its first public meeting of the new parliamentary term. Working to keep international development high on the parliamentary agenda, APGOOD’s new chair, Rt Hon David Laws MP, has invited Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP and Ms Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of the World Bank to discuss the challenge of ensuring development assistance achieves results and provides value for money.
Although the budget of the Department for International Development (DFID) has been ring-fenced, there is no room for complacency across the development sector. DFID and other international aid organisations will be increasingly expected to demonstrate the effectiveness of their spending and to prove that it represents value for money to taxpayers. Ahead of a busy few months, as the new Parliament picks up steam and the international development community begins to focus on the Millennium Development Goals Summit in New York and the Climate Change talks in Cancun, Andrew Mitchell will present to APGOOD his plan to lead the UK’s drive for development results.
Ms Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a leading global voice on development issues and is a Managing Director of the World Bank. Drawing on her experience as Minister of Finance and then Minister of Foreign Affairs in Nigeria, and her more recent role overseeing the World Bank’s technical and financial support to developing countries, she will discuss the challenges of securing progress in economic development and poverty reduction. She will also reflect on the World Bank’s approach to development effectiveness.
Please note that as this is an APGOOD meeting, participation in the Q&A will be restricted to the parliamentary group's members only.