“We need a clear and cross-governmental international trade strategy” – Bond reacts to ICAI review on UK aid for trade 

Today, Tuesday 6 June, the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI), the UK aid watchdog, has released its review on UK aid for trade.   

  • The ICAI review examines the UK’s aid for trade in developing countries. 
  • The report found that while many objectives are being met, there is not enough focus on ensuring aid for trade benefits the poor.  
  • The review also highlights risks that the pursuit of direct benefits to the UK may compromise the focus on poverty reduction. 

In response to the report, Stephanie Draper, Chief Executive of Bond said:  

We need a clear and cross-governmental international trade strategy that does not compromise sustainable and inclusive economic development in lower-income countries, and this needs to be aligned with the SDGs and Paris Agreement while protecting human rights. This is something the international development sector has been calling for.  

Trade can be a positive lever for development, but its benefits do not automatically trickle down to the most marginalised people. In its international development work the government must focus on lower income countries which are excluded from global trade rather than more advanced economies that align with the UK’s trade interests. This would help ensure that the key drivers of poverty alleviation – smallholder farmers, small and medium or micro-sized enterprises – and marginalised groups in lower income countries, get the necessary support to expand their trade and thus strengthen local economies. 


Notes for editors 

  • 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.  
  • The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) works to improve the quality of UK development assistance through robust, independent scrutiny. 
  • For further information or interviews please contact Jess Salter at [email protected] or call 07392972411. 
  • To receive a copy of the report, please contact Gemma Roberts-Kinnear, of the ICAI engagement team at [email protected] or call 07990 511 784.