The National Office of Statistics has confirmed that the UK reached the internationally agreed target of 0.7% of gross national income devoted to overseas development assistance in 2013.
The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) is the UK’s leading think tank on development. It can supply experts who can speak about the implications of this.
- The UK will be the biggest EU nation to reach 0.7% - way ahead of other major European economies, such as Germany.
- The delivery of aid has contributed to educating children, maternal health services and provision of clean water in the world’s poorest countries.
- It has put the UK in a leadership role on development issues, globally.
- The pattern of aid is changing, as the pattern of poverty has changed. More aid is being given to middle income countries, such as Pakistan and Nigeria – where many of the world’s poorest live - and increasingly in the form of concessional loans.
- In the future the challenge is to harness the aid to deliver much better services to the poor. For example, although more children than ever before are in school, the quality of education delivered in the classroom is often very low.
ODI’s executive director Kevin Watkins can speak about the future of aid and the contribution that the UK’s commitment to 0.7% is making. He said: “This is a fantastic achievement reached with cross party co-operation that puts Britain in a leadership position over the greatest challenge facing humanity.”
Mikaela Gavas, an Overseas Development Institute research fellow who specialises in Europe and aid, said:“0.7% has been useful as a target, and a benchmark by which different countries are measured. ““As the pattern of poverty changes, so will the pattern of aid. Countries like Ghana and Gambia have progressed to middle income status, but still have many people living in poverty. Others are transitioning beyond grant aid, and into concessional loans.”
Some countries have not yet reached the 0.7%. Germany is projected to reach just 0.38%.