How your money is squandered on foreign aid

Added: 08-21-2018

Highlighting foreign aid spending by the the British Department for International Development, this article points to the UK’s foreign aid programs in India, sub-Saharan Africa, and elsewhere that appear to exemplify waste and mismanagement of taxpayer money. At the time, the Tory-led government reportedly pushed for increases in international aid budgets while all other activities faced years of financial austerity. 

international development United Kingdom (UK) expenditure Clare Short Department for International Development (DfID), UK Education For All (UNESCO) mismanagement foreign aid

Type Reading Time Author Date Source
article 7 minutes JONATHAN FOREMAN 01-01-2013
Type Reading Time
article 7 minutes
Author Date
Jonathan Foreman 2018-08-21 00:00:00 UTC
Key Takeaways

  • Practices at the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) may propagate overspending, inefficiencies, and waste on Britain’s foreign aid projects.
  • The 2012 British government proposal to increase DfID spending while promoting austerity on domestic spending seemed problematic to the author and others.
  • Jonathan Foreman suggests improving monitoring and efficacy at the DfID, cutting DfID funding, and allocating the money to the military and domestic programs in the UK.


In his 2013 article, journalist Jonathan Foreman offers several examples of inflated reports of success by the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID), and suggests that the DfID squanders money. He discovered “waste, mismanagement and fraud” in the department while researching his recent book, Aiding and Abetting. He decries the push to increase foreign aid while many British domestic programs face reductions.

Foreman reports that though the DfID described “remarkable progress” on the £388 million “Education for All” program to improve Indian schools, the former dean of education at Delhi University questioned those claims while the Indian government reported 18% of the funds were lost or stolen. In Ethiopia, he suggests that delivery of British food aid is linked to support the oppressive ruling party. At the time, the European Union (EU) received a third of the UK’s foreign aid money, though its operations were once called disgraceful by former DfID Secretary Clare Short.

Arguing that too much British foreign aid reinforces dependency and stifles economic reforms, rather than reducing poverty, Foreman recounts several instances of aid money straying from targeted goals. His examples include failed infrastructure projects in Africa, education money used for land and electronics in Pakistan, and earthquake relief money in Pakistan used to build mosques rather than rebuild houses. He also claims that aid money is wasted on projects in wealthier countries such as India and Indonesia; that the DfID has “vested interest in maintaining the giant global aid circus” due to its hundreds of thousands of staffers worldwide.

Foreman proposes improved monitoring, increased efficiency, and sweeping cutbacks in Britain’s foreign aid agencies. He suggests that British taxpayers “should come first,” and more aid money should be spent on the UK’s “Armed Forces” who, he says, are more efficient at providing immediate aid.


Journalist Jonathan Foreman:

Written for Daily Mail:

  • Related article from: FRAMED the film’s No Action Context First Kit: “Probe over millions spent on foreign aid consultants: Revelations that hundreds of millions of pounds are being spent in consultancy fees from the foreign aid budget have prompted the launch of an emergency audit.” By John-Paul Ford Rojas and Rowena Mason (6:30AM BST 17 Sep 2012) for The Telegraph:
  • Resource from: FRAMED the film’s No Action Context First Kit