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DFID and other donors must not cut aid to South Sudan

25 April 2012

Kevin Watkins, co-author with Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP of a major new report on education in South Sudan last week, has warned of the consequences of aid to South Sudan being cut as a result of the oil dispute with Sudan. He writes for the Guardian’s development blog;

How should aid donors respond to the crisis? The UK has already voted with its aid programme. The international development secretary, Andrew Mitchell, has made it clear that in the event of failure to get the oil flowing again DfID will cut long-term development assistance and shift resources into humanitarian emergency support. The all-party international development committee has given this approach a ringing endorsement, warning that Britain’s taxpayers could not be expected to “bankroll South Sudan through this austerity period“.

This is bad advice. DfID is one of the largest donors in South Sudan. It accounts for around one-fifth of total budget spending on basic health provision and is a major source of finance for education, with a flagship programme on girls’ education. Any cut in long-term development funding will mean fewer children in school, fewer people getting access to healthcare and education – and more kids like Frezer dying for want of affordable treatment and skilled health staff.

…cutting long-term development aid to leverage peace is the wrong approach, which is why donors such as the US and Norway have been lukewarm in their response to the UK’s move.

It is critical aid donors come together to forge a strategy for protecting basic services and building on the fragile gains made.

Read the full article here.

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