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Could DFID be absorbed by the UK foreign office? (Devex)

January 24, 2019

From the article:

United Kingdom Member of Parliament Boris Johnson has once again called for the Department for International Development to be scrapped and rolled back into the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

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“Had the Conservatives come back with a big majority [in the 2017 general election, in which Theresa May won a minority government], we suspected they might have seriously considered merging the departments,” Ian Mitchell, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, told Devex.

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The justification often given is that a joined-up approach between DFID and FCO would create greater coherence and efficiency. In reality, changes such as these are “generally driven by political motivations,” Mitchell said. “It doesn’t seem to be that it’s more effective; it seems that it’s a political choice to integrate.”

Having a single voice for the U.K. internationally and perceived greater control over foreign spending appeals to some and is a way to win over aid skeptics, Mitchell explained. In the minds of some MPs, “development should be secondary to our U.K. foreign policy objectives.”

Related Experts

Ian Mitchell
Director of Development Cooperation in Europe and Senior Policy Fellow