S A upset at aid cut

  Dragon_Heart 22:13 02 May 2013

I read that South Africa are upset we are stopping all aid payments to them in 2015.

Lets face it we are no longer a rich super power ….... why don't we cut ALL overseas aid.

Also a few weeks ago the UK government were considering cutting aid to Pakistan until their government did something about getting more tax off their own rich ….. at about the same time the UK government cut the top rate of tax ?

My question is are we too free giving with our money to overseas and does it do any good

  Forum Editor 23:26 02 May 2013

"Lets face it we are no longer a rich super power"

Well, let's look at the facts - my source is the Credit Suisse research institute's wealth report for 2012.

Around 1985 UK wealth embarked on a period of sustained growth fueled by a robust housing market and good equity returns, which culminated with the financial crisis in 2007. At that time, the increase in the wealth-income ratio exceeded 9, the highest level recorded for any country except for Japan.

At about 20% of net worth,our level of debt is not exceptionally high by international standards. The current pattern of wealth distribution in the UK is typical for a developed economy. Slightly more than half the population has wealth exceeding USD 100,000, and there are 1.6 million US dollar millionaires. Also, 2.7 million people in the UK are among the wealthiest 1% in the world. The UK is currently fifth in the world GDP ranking. That makes us a rich nation by any standards.

Super power? That normally means military strength, and by that standard there is currently only one nation that officially ranks as a superpower - the United States. China is ranked officially as a 'Great power' (potentially a superpower), and we come in third place, also ranked as a 'Great power'.

According to the Stockholm International Peace research institute we are the world's 4th biggest military spender, our military budget in 2011 was 3.6 percent of the global total. In military terms,contrary to what a lot of people think, we punch well above our weight.

  fourm member 08:17 03 May 2013

'why don't we cut ALL overseas aid.'

There are two answers and you can pick the one that suits you best.

  1. Because we are human and wealthy enough to offer help to the many millions of people who don't enjoy the privileges we have.

  2. Because by helping developing countries to improve their standard of living and healthcare systems we make it more attractive for people to live in those countries and thus reduce the amount of illegal immigration to this country.

  Quickbeam 08:26 03 May 2013

That reads like a very good explanation of Hobson's choice fm...

  Quickbeam 08:35 03 May 2013

Dragon_Heart has just been broadsided by two professional writers on the secondary content of his post but as he says; "My question is are we too free giving with our money to overseas and does it do any good?"

I'd like to know the answer to that as I truly don't know either.

  morddwyd 08:55 03 May 2013

SA has more diamond and gold mines than just about anywhere, and we are giving them aid?

  Forum Editor 09:31 03 May 2013


"Dragon_Heart has just been broadsided by two professional writers on the secondary content of his post"

I didn't 'broadside' anyone, at least I didn't intend to; I simply corrected what was an erroneous statement, which was "we are no longer a rich super power" The thread's opening post asked why we don't cut all foreign aid because we're not a rich country.

Technically we're not a superpower in military terms, but we're not far from it, and we are certainly one of the richest countries in the world.

We're currently examining our foreign aid programme with a view to making cuts, and the announcement about South Africa is one of the results of that. Whether or not our aid payments do any good depends on your standpoint. Developed nations make aid payments because their governments believe that richer nations should help developing countries to progress, and because they believe it will improve their political and trading relationships with those countries - it isn't altruism, pure and simple.

Foreign aid doesn't always take the form of cash payments, it often comes in the form of medical, technical and military assistance, or direct investment, and aid payments often have conditions attached. There are many examples of how aid has directly benefited the countries receiving it, and of course it is generally in our interests to form as many trading relationships with the developing nations as we can, in expectation of future business for our exporters as those nations become economically self-sustaining.

Nevertheless, when times are hard (and relativity applies here)countries like ours are forced to re-examine their aid programmes, and that is what we're doing.

  fourm member 09:49 03 May 2013


UK aid to South Africa was £19m in the last year (down from £40m in the recent past).

For the 26th largest economy in the world with a GDP approaching $600m, £19m from the UK is a pittance.

But, as with other middle income economies, like India, that aid has been targeted at particular things to draw attention to them.

In South Africa some of it has gone on reducing death in childbirth and is, in part, a reminder to South Africa that it has, in the recent past, embraced crank beliefs about HIV/AIDS.

But, some of it is spent 'supporting businesses'. For me, that borders on trade not aid and makes me wonder how much of our worldwide aid spending is actually about trade promotion.

  Forum Editor 09:56 03 May 2013

"makes me wonder how much of our worldwide aid spending is actually about trade promotion."

The answer to that is probably 'more than a little, but less than the lot".

Alruism is a wonderful thought, and I'm sure there are people who believe fervently in the principle that in an international context we should help those less fortunate than ourselves. The cold truth is probably that we expect recipients to acknowledge the thought that one good turn deserves another when it comes (eventually) to placing contracts for all those new dams, Telecoms systems, and airports.

  Kevscar1 11:42 03 May 2013

Richest depends on how you look at it according to this list we are not even in the top 15 http://www.therichest.org/world/richest-countries/ IMF has us at No.7 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8sSb69FGoI 3.34mins

  fourm member 11:55 03 May 2013


But whichever way you look at it we still come out much better off that South Africa. We have 9th largest GDP whereas South Africa is 26th. Per capita GPD drops us to 36th because of the very small, very rich countries like Qatar and the Cayman Islands but that measure drops South Africa to 109th.

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