Aid sector and unions condemn launch of British International Investment
Date: 20 December 2021
Development organisations and trade unions have published an open letter to the Foreigh Secretary calling for assurances that British International Investment (BII) will prioritise poverty reduction and improve transparency.
In November, we reported that the UK development bank CDC Group was planning to relaunch as British International Investment early next year.
Signatories to the letter, which was co-ordinated by Global Justice Now and was also sent to the new CDC Group Chair Diana Layfield, include CAFOD, Christian Aid, StopAIDS, the National Education Union, the TUC and Unison.
As well as calling for a strong poverty reduction mandate and improved transparency from BII, the letter calls for guarantees that BII will not invest UK aid in private equity funds or public-private partnerships, and that it will institute a new accountability mechanism for impacted communities.
Speaking about what the rebrand meant for the future of UK aid, our finance campaigner Daniel Willis said:
There is a clear role for U.K. aid to play in supporting the global south during the pandemic and against climate change, but instead the government is chasing colonial post-Brexit fantasies.”
“After already cutting the aid budget by £4 billion this year, the government’s expansion and rebrand of BII’s role will see grant aid squeezed further and more funds going to for-profit, ineffective, private sector projects instead. CDC Group’s track record, of funding exclusive private hospitals and schools, industrial agriculture and damaging fossil fuel projects, shows it is not a fit institution for distributing development funds.”
“At COP26, we heard strong calls from climate vulnerable countries to increase grant funding for climate action, which simply won’t happen if climate finance is channeled through BII. The bank has no understanding of the meaning of climate justice and will simply spend money advancing British interests.”
The full text of the letter can be found here.
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 NowTel/WhatsApp/Signal: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Simon Dawson/No 10 Downing Street (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)