1.In January 2017, DFID published its Economic Development Strategy: Prosperity, poverty and meeting global challenges. This document built on the Economic Development Strategic Framework of 2014 which our predecessor Committee scrutinised in its 2015 report, Jobs and Livelihoods. Although the 2017 initiative is DFID’s first official, self-standing, ‘economic development strategy’, DFID has a tradition of encouraging economic development, including by working with the private sector, starting under the leadership of Rt Hon Clare Short as Secretary of State (1997-2003) with prominent examples such as its support for M-Pesa, the ever-expanding, smartphone-based, financing and microfinancing service.
2.Predecessor Committees have reported on this subject before: in 2006 with Private sector development work and the Jobs and Livelihoods report in 2015. The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) which reports to us, has also contributed to scrutiny of these issues with reviews in the past few years of:
In February of this year our ICAI Sub-Committee took evidence from the ICAI Commissioners and DFID on the ICAI review of DFID’s approach to supporting inclusive growth in Africa. ICAI has just published its follow-up work on its recommendations from this review.
3.The Committee and Parliament have also been closely following the work of the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC). In 2011 our predecessor Committee looked at the corporation’s future. The National Audit Office carried out scrutiny of CDC in 2016 and the Public Accounts Committee reported on it in April 2017. Also, our predecessor Committee examined DFID witnesses in relation to the Commonwealth Development Corporation Bill in 2017 (now enacted) which proposed increasing the maximum limit on its investments from £1.5bn to £6bn (with the potential to increase to £12bn without further primary legislation). ICAI have recently launched a performance review of how effectively CDC has adapted its strategy and operations to help meet DFID’s economic development priorities and drive growth in low-income and fragile states.
4.Running parallel to our inquiry, the International Trade Committee has been conducting an inquiry into the UK’s future trade relationships with developing countries, particularly those in the Commonwealth. We discuss trade in this report as an integral part of the Economic Development Strategy, but we have tried not to duplicate the work our colleagues are currently carrying out.
5.This report does not seek to summarise or replicate the work that has gone before or to duplicate work in parallel but to build on it, following up on the conclusions and recommendations made in the past. It has been a short inquiry which has involved a call for written evidence and an oral evidence session with CDC and DFID. The aim has been to monitor DFID’s responsiveness to previous concerns and whether new concerns have been raised. In this report we look at the specific issues raised in past reports and the written evidence, such as how the strategy includes support for marginalised groups.
1 DFID , January 2017
2 DFID , 2014
3 International Development Committee, Twelfth Report of Session 2014-15, , HC 685
4 is designed to enable customers safely and securely to send, receive and store money via a basic mobile phone. Now at its 11th anniversary it is the world’s leading mobile money service having expanded from Kenya and Tanzania to operation in Afghanistan, South Africa, India, Romania and Albania.
6 International Development Committee, Fourth Report of Session 2005-06, , HC 921;
7 International Development Committee, Twelfth Report of Session 2014-15, , HC 685
8 ICAI, , May 2014, Report 35
9 ICAI, , May 2015, Report 43
10 ICAI, , June 2017
11 Oral evidence taken on , HC (2017-19) 727
12 , June 2018
13 International Development Committee Fifth Report of Session 2010–11 HC 607
14 NAO, , November 2016
15 “” Public Accounts Committee, April 2017
16 , HC (2015-16) 686, Qq43-46
17 ICAI Approach Paper, , 29 May 2018
18 International Trade Committee:
Published: 17 July 2018