Our Work

The current state of UK aid: A synthesis of ICAI findings from 2015 to 2019

Independent Commission for Aid Impact

Looking ahead, UK aid will continue to evolve rapidly, in response to a dynamic global context and new UK priorities. This review draws together the key findings from across the 28 reviews and four follow-ups conducted over the last four years, to explore how well equipped the aid programme is to respond to the challenges ahead, and the opportunities and risks associated with the changing functions of UK aid.

The review included the following findings:

  1. DFID has responded well to the ‘leave no behind’ principle, despite substantial practical challenges, but other aid-spending departments are yet to adopt the commitment.
  2. A more convincing approach and set of instruments for promoting economic development have been developed but considerable work is needed to learn how to deploy these tools effectively.
  3. UK aid has shown it can deliver in the midst of conflict. However, UK aid does not yet have a convincing approach to addressing the long-term drivers of conflict and fragility.
  4. The UK has demonstrated it can be highly influential in shaping the international response to global crises, but the most pressing global challenges call for greater urgency and intensity of action.
  5. The government has clearly signaled its intention to use the aid programme to pursue direct UK national interests. While this is not necessarily in conflict with good development practice, the focus needs to remain on building long-term opportunities, rather than short-term advantage.

Areas of expertise: 

  • Aid architecture
  • Aid effectiveness
  • Conflict and fragility
  • Resilience and sustainability
  • Migration
  • Civil society
  • Security and justice

Press coverage: Public Finance InternationalThe TelegraphDaily MailThe Sun

Read the report

Sign up to our bulletin

Sign up to our free weekly bulletin for the latest international development news and analysis