Ivan Lewis: ‘Justine Greening has some serious questions to answer’

Ivan Lewis MP, Shadow International Development Secretary,  responding to Justine Greening’s claim that the decision to end DfID’s bilateral aid programme to South Africa was agreed by the South African government, said:


“Justine Greening has serious questions to answer – her claim that her decision was made with the agreement of her South African counterparts has been completely contradicted by the South African Government.


“This looks like a serious breach of trust with one of our most important strategic partners. Justine Greening must explain why she is saying one thing about her conduct while the South African Government is saying another.


“Behaving in what looks like a high-handed and patronising fashion towards South Africa is no way to treat one of the world’s key emerging nations and is not in Britain’s national interest.”


Editor’s Notes


1. “UK to end direct financial support to South Africa”. Justine Greening stated: “I have agreed with my South African counterparts that South Africa is now in a position to fund its own development. It is right that our relationship changes to one of mutual cooperation and trade, one that is focused on delivering benefits for the people of Britain and South Africa as well as for Africa as a whole.”




2.  Response from the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation: “UK unilateral decision to terminate Official Development Aid to SA”


http://www.dfa.gov.za/docs/2013/uk0430.html. 30th April 2013

Governance reform is more important than legacies for multinational sports bodies

By Robbie Barkell

Alive & Kicking is supported by Barack Obama & footballers including Drogba & Eboue

The full effects of the World Cup on South Africa will only be fully evaluated in the longer term, but it is already apparent that FIFA could have done more to ensure the tournament had maximum benefit for the host nation. Whether it’s the local businessman in Cape Town banned from selling his ‘proudly South African’ key rings, or the food vendor in Johannesburg stopped from selling meals to spectators, the media is full of examples where locals were unable to gain from the event which has cost their country close to $6 billion.

In contrast, FIFA is expected to net a total of $3 billion in revenues from the tournament. Of this, $10 million is being spent on its World Cup legacy programme titled ‘20 Centres for 2010’. This will see the construction of 20 Football for Hope centres across Africa, five in South Africa and 15 across the rest of the continent. That’s 1 centre per 3 countries.

This relatively small gesture has prompted some development actors to question whether a legacy programme was necessary at all. “The World Cup highlighted many of the positive aspects of the African continent, however it would have benefitted the region a lot more if the organisers had run it ethically,” says Will Prochaska, of African charity Alive & Kicking. “By supplying merchandise and food from local people and local enterprises, they could have saved themselves the hassle of the legacy programme as the tournament would have generated a social surplus by itself”.

This may sound like a worthy idea, but it is one that FIFA is unlikely to heed no matter how many governmental or non-governmental actors suggest it. This is, in part, due to the governance structures typically found within multinational sports organisations which grant them significant autonomy but little accountability.

The governance issues at FIFA are highlighted by Daniel Kaufmann, the former World Bank lead on transparency and anti-corruption, in his article for the Brookings Institution and by Stefan Szymanski speaking on Radio 4. There are 3 key problems:
1.    Multinational sports organisations hold a monopoly on the arrangement of major events for the sport they represent. This gives national sports associations a weak bargaining position, as opting-out of the body would leave a severe shortage of international competition.
2.    The regional federations (such as UEFA) that elect FIFA’s executive committee members also receive their funding from that same organisation, making it financially risky for such actors to challenge the status quo. Additionally, there are no term limits for committee members or the President.
3.    FIFA is fiercely resistant to pressure from the outside, threatening to ban nations from participation should national governments be seen to be interfering. In fact, by law FIFA is only accountable to Swiss courts.

These problems are not unique to FIFA, and are also embodied in other multinational organisations including the International Olympic Committee. They provide a significant hurdle for anyone trying to bring about positive change to such bodies, and must be remedied if the agenda of these organisations are to become more development-focused.

Fantastic opportunity to visit South Africa with ACTSA

Are you an active member in a youth or student movement? Are you interested in Southern Africa Issues?

Action For Southern Africa want you to be part of their 2010 Youth and Student Delegation to South Africa.

You will gain an in-depth knowledge on Education issues, HIV/AIDS, Civil Society, South Africa Government, South Africa’s relations with the UK and more.

You will also have the opportunity to meet student leaders, trade unionists, NGOs and Government Ministers; as well as to visit HIV/AIDS projects, Urban Townships, rural areas in Swaziland, Robben Island, Manzini and more

The trip is from 27 August to 9 September with pre and post briefings in Lond on the 22 July and 7 October. Flights, accommodations, meals, insurance, and visas are paid for by ACTSA. Applications are due 21 June 9am. Telephone Interviews will be held 1 and 2 July. If you would like to apply click on the link http://www.actsa.org/page-1444-delegation.html

Check out ACTSA’s World Cup actions

The World Cup is on the very near horizon and brings with it more than just the promise of good football. This tournament, which begins in a fortnight, will be held in South Africa and is the largest tournament ever held on African soil.

There is more to this World Cup than football. Though South Africa has made huge strides since the downfall of apartheid, there still remains a society that is racked with inequality, poverty and illness. The scourge of HIV/AIDS is taking its toll on every section of society, yet it is the poorest that feel the pain the most.

Action for South Africa (ACTSA) have launched a ranges of resources and we really encourage you to take a look!

They are calling for action too. They are calling on the British Government to help eradicate mother to child transmission of HIV by the next World Cup in 2014. So much has been done in the developed world, but not enough elsewhere. Help them get this done by taking their e-action!