Yesterday, Tuesday 6 June, the International Development Committee (IDC) took evidence from the Minister of State in the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) during an evidence session looking at how the UK government is investing UK aid via its development finance institution, British International Investment (BII), which has been accused of a lack of transparency, prioritising middle-income countries that align with the UK’s political interest over lower-income countries in need of investment, and has been subject to accusations of human violations and poor impact for specific projects.
In response to the evidence session, Sandra Martinstone, Co-Head of Policy and Advocacy at Bond, the UK network for INGOs, said:
BII needs to be much more transparent, as confirmed by Andrew Mitchell today. It is unacceptable that the UK’s investment bank for international development, funded by the British taxpayer has not published its accounts since 2021/22, or that many important questions regarding its investments and impact on poverty reduction, a key mission of BII, remain unanswered.
BII lags all other government spenders of UK aid, and its international peers, by a mile when it comes to transparency. It’s only thanks to IDC enquiries such as this one, INGO research, and media reports that we know of various questionable investments. What other problematic investments do we not know about?
If BII wants to be the best DFI in the world, it should immediately publish information about all the investments made to date and update it on a quarterly basis so we can ensure taxpayers’ money is being invested in local businesses which support local development and prioritise the needs of local communities.
- Bond is the UK network for organisations working in international development. Bond unites and supports a diverse network of over 400 civil society organisations from across the UK, and allies to help eradicate global poverty, inequality and injustice.
- BII came twelfth from 21 non-sovereign Development Finance Instruments (DFIs) assessed with a score of 26.5 out of 100. BII received a 50% point penalty for all project-level indicators due to the fact that its project database was significantly out of date at the time of assessment, according to Publish What You Fund.
- Earlier this year, the Telegraph reported that BII had been accused of violating patients’ rights via a Kenyan hospital funded by BII.
- Last year, CDC Group (now BII) CEO Nick O’Donohoe was forced to defended the institution’s largest-ever single investment with DP World, owner of the widely criticized P&O Ferries.
- For further information or interviews please contact Jess Salter at [email protected] or 07392972411