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The Politics and Economics of Britain’s Foreign Aid

The Foundation focuses its resources on three key areas; education, cultural dialogue and good governance. It was therefore a significant moment when one of our Trustees, Sir Tim Lankester, published his recent book “The Politics and Economics of Britain’s Foreign Aid” which explains how weak governance and a lack of transparency between conflicting policy agendas has led to the Pergau dam aid project being considered “a prime example of how not to give aid”.

The construction of the Pergau dam was one of the most controversial projects in the history of British aid, not least because of its very high cost but also due to its link with a major arms deal. After two parliamentary enquiries and significant media coverage, in a landmark judgement the aid was deemed to have been unlawful.

Sir Tim worked at the World Bank and the British Treasury before serving as Private Secretary (Economic Affairs) to Prime Minister James Callaghan and then to Margaret Thatcher. It was later on in his career, when he was serving as Permanent Secretary to the Overseas Development Administration, that he was perfectly placed to provide a non-partisan account of how government can go so wrong.

 

 

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