British to Slash Aid to Nigeria, Others

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Bennett Oghifo

The British government has plans to slash aid to Nigeria and seven other countries in conflict zones around the world, according to a report yesterday by openDemocracy, an independent global media organisation.

The report said the UK government proposed cuts to Overseas Development Aid budget for year 2020/21-21/22 broken down by country shows that Nigeria’s aid would be cut by 58 per cent.

Others are: Sahel, 93 per cent; Syria, 67 per cent; Libya, 63 per cent; Somalia, 60 per cent; Democratic Republic of Congo, 60 per cent; South Sudan, 59 per cent; and West Balkans, 50 per cent.

These figures were discussed by senior officials at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) last month according to email correspondence openDemocracy said it saw, “included cutting British aid to Nigeria for the next financial year by 58%, and reducing assistance to the Western Balkans by 50%.

“In recent weeks, senior British civil servants have discussed cutting aid to Syria by two-thirds, from £137m pledged last year to just over £45m this year, despite this week’s pledge by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to provide humanitarian assistance to the war-torn Middle Eastern state.

The figures seen by openDemocracy reveal for the first time the scale of British aid cuts, the report said.

“UK aid to Libya could fall by 63% in 2021-22. Assistance to Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo could fall by roughly 60%. In South Sudan, where millions face catastrophic famine, the UK’s aid spend is set to drop from £110m to just £45m.

“British spending in the Sahel region of Africa could also drop by more than 90%, from £340m to £23m. Aid to Lebanon could fall by 88%, although some of this shortfall will be covered by a rise in assistance from other government budgets.”