Aid revamp labelled: ‘Cold War throwback’
Date: 25 November 2021
Responding to Liz Truss’ announcement that CDC Group will be revamped into the British International Investment today, Nick Dearden, Director of Global Justice Now said:
“This money should be about creating a more resilient, sustainable and equal world. But CDC’s recent history of investing in fossil fuel projects, elite private healthcare, and colonial palm oil plantations shows that channelling aid through private equity funds only exacerbates inequality and hardship.
“At COP26 we heard lower-income countries and indigenous peoples call for grant-based climate finance and protection of frontline communities. But this rebrand doubles down on the UK’s ideological approach, pushing this much needed money through profit-driven financial markets and attaching ever more ideological strings.
“CDC and the City of London have a long history of pushing the same kind of tied aid as autocratic regimes. Forcing low and middle income countries to choose between the two is an utterly self-defeating Cold War throwback.”
The group said they had several serious concerns with the strategy including:
- This is a wholly inappropriate means of delivering the climate finance which has just been promised at CoP26. Such funds should be grant-based finance which helps governments build low carbon economies and adapt to climate change, not an opportunity for the UK and its financial sector to profit
- Pushing aid through private equity markets has a disastrous history, which includes UK aid being invested in plastic surgery clinics and luxury shopping malls for the wealthy. This does nothing to alleviate poverty and actually increases inequality.
- While Liz Truss talks about ‘strings free’ money, she makes clear that this money will help support British finance and British exports. It will also have a deeply ideological purpose, building ever more market-driven economies which have eroded countries ability to deal with climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic
- Truss’ main incentive for the move is not the alleviation of poverty or reduction of poverty but an ideological crusade to compete with China.
Global Justice Now has repeatedly worked to highlight CDC Group’s mismanagement of UK aid money:
- Doing more harm than good? Why CDC must reform for people and planet, February 2020
- Healthcare for all? How UK aid undermines universal public healthcare, January 2021
- The future of aid after DfID: Shocking development projects supported by the UK, July 2020
Joe Karp-Sawey, Media Manager, Global Justice Now
Photo: Simon Dawson/No 10 Downing Street (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)