Stop big business cashing in on aid
WDM’s landmark Pergau Dam legal victory in 1994 meant that the promotion of UK exports to developing countries, or ’tied aid’, was no longer legal. Now, however, UK government aid policy is showing a worrying trend towards once again prioritising a pro-market view of aid over the needs of the world’s poorest people.
Whether it's technical assistance to secure tax incentives for foreign investment in south Asia, or promoting public-private partnerships in health, education and water, the private sector now seems to be central to UK aid programmes.
But is the role of aid to promote market-oriented policies or should greater emphasis be placed on public provision and the role of governments? Or should we move beyond aid as a charitable act and instead see it as a form of international wealth redistribution to be used by recipient countries to pursue their own development goals?
UK overseas aid is backing tax breaks for multinationals; but it should be a contribution to
global equity, not a business opportunity.