ICAI review on UK aid to India – Bond reaction

Today, Thursday 18 April, The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) has released its follow-up review on UK aid to India.

ICAI’s review raises questions over some investments made by the UK’s development finance institution British International Investment (BII), including in social media sites and a cosmetics company.

The report comes after BII pledged in 2023 to the International Development Committee that it would improve its investments’ links to poverty reduction.

The watchdog found recent taxpayer-UK aid funding from BII going to an Indian fund that invested in a cosmetics company, social media platforms and dating apps.

In reaction to the review, Gideon Rabinowitz, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Bond, the UK network for NGOs, said: 

It is concerning that BII, which has received over £4 billion from the UK aid budget in recent years, thinks women’s economic empowerment and poverty reduction can be achieved by spending a huge amount of UK aid on questionable cosmetics and social media businesses. The UK government needs to hold BII to account and ensure that British taxpayers’ money is invested in local businesses that support local development and prioritise the needs of local communities, both in India and other countries where BII operates.


Notes for editors

  • Bond is the UK network for organisations working in international development. Bond unites and supports a diverse network of nearly 400 civil society organisations from across the UK, and allies to help eradicate global poverty, inequality and injustice.