David Cameron will today admit that millions of pounds of foreign aid has been ‘wasted’, but insist this is not a reason to turn off the tap.
The Prime Minister, on a curtailed tour of Africa, will hit out at those in his own party who criticise his decision to pour billions more into foreign aid at a time of cutbacks at home.
In a speech in Lagos, Nigeria, he will declare: ‘The aid sceptics are wrong. Aid is essential. It can work and we are making it work.’
Trip for trade: David Cameron holds a press conference with South African President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria - he is due to speak in Lagos, Nigeria before returning to the UK.
Mr Cameron will acknowledge that critics of the plan to raise aid spending by 34 per cent to £12billion have ‘powerful arguments’.
He will say: ‘There are some people back at home who don’t like Britain’s aid commitment.
‘They see us make painful cuts to budgets at home and wonder why we are increasing our spending abroad.
And they look at where some of our aid money has gone in recent years – on the wrong priorities and into the wrong hands – and think: this is all being wasted.
They have a point. Some of our money has been wasted. But that’s not an argument to stop aid. It’s an argument to change the way aid is delivered and that’s what we’re doing.’
Mr Cameron will say that aid should be used to boost infrastructure and trade to ‘move people from dependence to independence’.
He will call on Africa’s politicians to show more leadership in tackling corruption and lifting trade barriers.
He will say ‘this can be Africa’s moment’ if the continent can tackle the challenges of boosting trade and democracy.
Mr Cameron is accompanied by a 30-strong business delegation, including Barclays boss Bob Diamond, representatives of multinationals such as Vodafone and a number of private equity tycoons.
In South Africa yesterday, he said: ‘It is right for the British Prime Minister to be out there with British businesses trying to drum up exports and growth for our economy.
'It is what I have done in India, China and now Africa.’
He paid tribute to Nelson Mandela who celebrated his 93rd birthday yesterday, saying it was ‘a great honour’ to be in the country to toast the former anti-apartheid leader, whom he described as ‘an inspiration to the world’.
Meet and greet: David Cameron offers a gift to Bishop Desmond Tutu during his trip to South Africa - before he returns home early to deal with the phone hacking scandal.