I wish to update the House on how the Government has been supporting poverty reduction and global and UK prosperity using the cross-government Prosperity Fund (PF).
Details of the Prosperity Fund, its set-up, strategy, country and sector focus, and projects funded in 2016/17 are set out in the first Annual Report. A copy has been placed in the library of the House and has been published on gov.uk The publication of this first report reflects the Government’s commitment to transparency in the delivery of Official Development Assistance.
The cross-government Prosperity Fund replaced the FCO’s Prosperity Fund in April 2016, as part of a new, more strategic approach to promoting prosperity globally in line with National Security Council objectives. The Prime Minister announced the creation of the £1.3 billion Cross-Government Prosperity Fund in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR). This has since been revised to £1.2 billion following revisions to aid allocations.
The Prosperity Fund is a key element of the UK Aid Strategy 2015. Using primarily Official Development Assistance (ODA) resources, the Fund promotes economic reforms in developing countries which will contribute to a reduction in poverty. The Fund supports global and UK prosperity by removing barriers to trade, building prosperity partnerships, and creating opportunities for business, including UK business. It enables the UK to deepen relationships in countries across the globe.
Parliamentary accountability for taxpayers’ money spent via the Prosperity Fund is provided primarily through the International Development Committee (IDC) Select Committee. The IDC Sub-Committee on ICAI (Independent Commission for Aid Impact) is planning to take evidence from ICAI and Prosperity Fund officials in December.
The Prosperity Fund spent £63 million, of which £5 million was non-ODA, in its first year across targeted project interventions, capability and capacity building, research and analysis and knowledge transfer. Projects focused on countries with stubborn development challenges and were designed to help inform an effective strategy for running larger multiyear programmes from 2017/18 onwards.
Projects are helping partner countries develop the business environment, infrastructure, healthcare, urban planning, financial services and low carbon energy they need to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth. Projects also consider opportunities for promoting gender equality and inclusion. The Fund is monitoring and evaluating progress against Sustainable Development Goal 5, to “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”.