UK to end direct aid to South Africa

30 Apr 13
The UK will stop giving direct aid to South Africa in 2015 and instead focus on providing technical support and skills, International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced today.

By | 30 April 2013

The UK will stop giving direct aid to South Africa in 2015 and instead focus on providing technical support and skills, International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced today.

The bilateral aid is currently worth £19m a year – down from a peak of over £40m in 2003. Help is focused on reducing the childbirth mortality rate and ing people to start or expand their own business.

These programmes will now be wound up by 2015, and the UK’s relationship with Africa’s largest economy will shift from a focus on aid to one based on promoting trade.

Speaking in London, Greening highlighted the success the UK has had in ing South Africa to make the transition from apartheid to a ‘flourishing, growing’ democracy.

South Africa now accounts for over a third of sub-Saharan Africa’s gross domestic product. It is a member of both the Group of Twenty leading economies and the emerging economies bloc, which also includes Brazil, Russia, India and China – the Brics. The UK’s trade with South Africa is worth £10.5bn a year.

‘South Africa has made enormous progress over the past two decades, to the extent that it is now the region’s economic powerhouse and Britain’s biggest trading partner in Africa,’ Greening said.

She added: ‘I have agreed with my South African counterparts that South Africa is now in a position to fund its own development. It is right that our relationship changes to one of mutual co-operation and trade, one that is focused on delivering benefits for the people of Britain and South Africa as well as for Africa as a whole.’

From 2015, the UK’s development role in South Africa will particularly focus on providing technical assistance, skills and knowledge to speed up poverty reduction and tackle inequality, as well as providing access to international best practice in areas such as health and economic growth.

The UK will also work to support South Africa’s role in reducing poverty and driving economic growth across the whole of Africa, and also develop its position as the region’s major trading hub.

In November, Greening announced plans to end UK development aid spending in India by 2015, a move that was labelled ‘premature' by the Institute for Public Policy Research think-tank in light of the development challenges the country still faces.

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