UK confirms final aid package
The UK government Department for International Development (DFID) will provide GBP 105 million (nearly USD 200 million at current exchange rates) over the next three years for continuing work in China to support basic education, AIDS and TB prevention and care, and water and sanitation, according to its 2006-2011 Country Assistance Plan, finalised in March and formally launched in Beijing in May.
Speaking at the Beijing launch ceremony, Adrian Davis, head of DFID in China, said that the new assistance will “try to help, in a very small way, to improve the effectiveness of China’s own domestic programmes” in areas relevant to the Millennium Development Goals. The fields selected for continuing aid, he said, are those where the Department has “worked for a long time, has been asked for help by the Chinese, and has something of value to offer.”
DFID’s strategy of scaling up, working with other donors and attempting to strengthen Chinese government programmes was illustrated, Davis said, by assistance in basic education. A bilaterally implemented GBP 14.4 million Gansu Basic Education Programme, now closing, had benefited 120,000 children in four counties. This, said Davis, would be “too expensive to be replicated across China;” but the lessons from Gansu were then incorporated into a World Bank-financed Basic Education in Western Areas of China programme that will benefit 2.4 million children in 112 counties, with DFID providing technical advice and a GBP 24. 48 million grant to effectively soften the terms of the World Bank loan. In the third - and, by implication, final - phase of DFID’s assistance, the Department is now planning to contribute GBP 30 million to the Government of China’s own CNY 20 billion (USD 2.5 billion) programme to universalise nine years of compulsory education. DFID expects, said Davis, to get “much bigger bang for our pound” by influencing the focus and implementation of that programme.
Another GBP 30 million is earmarked for work to scale-up the national AIDS response, harmonising with resources already allocated by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
DFID will also work with Unicef on a new and “integrated” water, sanitation and hygiene education, programme. Promote interdepartmental cooperation in these three areas “is really very innovative and will promote much better health impacts,” said Davis.
Collaboration with the World Bank and Unicef, Davis said, reflected DFID’s commitment to Millennium Development Goal 8, “to build global partnerships for development.”
The Country Assistance Plan also pledges “to promote better analysis of the impacts of China’s rise on developing countries, particularly in Africa.”
A longer profile and analysis of DFID’s China programme, published in October 2005, can be downloaded from our website. Use the search function to find the article entitled “Shifting roles in quest of impact”
Report by Nick Young, May 30 2006