Today (Sunday 16 Sept), the Mail on Sunday has published an article referencing DFID's work: "A very bitter pill for UK taxpayers to swallow: Britain funds £45 million family planning programme in Tanzania and still they won't tell us if £125m goes to terrorists"
The piece contains three stories that report on a number of programmes under DFID’s aid budget, in some cases making claims which are not accurate.
The first piece questions DFID’s family planning programme in Tanzania in light of recent comments made by President John Magafuli. It claims Mr Magufuli’s comments would “fuel fresh criticism of Britain’s bloated foreign aid budget”.
The Tanzanian government, this week, clarified that Mr Magafuli's comments did not mean a ban on family planning and the government remained committed to its family planning policy with the objective to prevent maternal and childhood mortality.
To that end, not only do DFID’s ongoing programmes in Tanzania continue to support women who want family planning support, they do so with the backing of the Tanzanian government.
Women continue to want family planning in Tanzania, and for many women, there are currently insufficient services available for them to get what they want.
In a second story, the piece reports on claims that the "UK Government has been accused of a cover-up over whether foreign aid money is funding Palestinian terrorism".
To be clear, as DFID has been in the past, there is nothing to cover up. The UK Government does not fund Palestinian terrorism.
The piece claims to have previously revealed that “thousands of Palestinian terrorists were getting cash handouts from British aid money”. This is not true.
Our support for the Palestinian Authority helps employ vetted teachers, doctors and nurses in the West Bank. Only named public servants from a pre-approved list are eligible for this funding and we have robust measures in place to make sure funding is not misused. For example, the Palestinian Authority payroll is checked by independent auditors, who have shown that all UK funds reach the intended beneficiaries.
The UK continues to support a two-state solution that would see a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state. Our work with the Palestinian Authority promotes stability through building strong institutions to help create a Palestinian government, as well as continuing to help them to educate a generation of young people and provide vital health services.
Lastly, in a third story, the piece makes inaccurate claims about Partnership For Investment And Growth In Africa (PIGA), stating “We pay £16m to promote African trade with China”.
This is poorly described. Whilst PIGA does support trade and investment between Africa and China, it is part of a wider programme (Invest Africa) which supports African economies to attract investment and increase trade with the rest of the world, including with the UK.
Invest Africa is also supporting UK investors and companies to increase economic ties in Africa. This is alongside DFID’s wider economic development programming which help African countries create jobs, improve productivity and to boost capacity to attract and support investment.
In addition, the “£16.5 million to help encourage Chinese investments in Africa” is not correct. Currently £2-3 million a year goes to PIGA.
As the Prime Minister emphasised during her recent visit to Africa, HMG support to build markets on the continent and strengthen trade and investment ties with the UK, is a win-win for the UK and Africa. DFID is turbo charging its work to support inclusive growth, create jobs and build the enabling environment for investment, alongside deepening our engagement with UK businesses seeking new opportunities.