UK

UK Aid To South Africa To End In 2015, Says Justine Greening

30/04/2013 07:44 BST | Updated 30/04/2013 15:27 BST

Updated 15:25, 30 April 2013: Oxfam comments

The UK's direct aid to South Africa will end in 2015, International Development secretary Justine Greening has announced.

The government's aid programme to South Africa is currently worth £19 million a year, down from its peak of more than £40m in 2003, and has focused on reducing the mortality rate among women giving birth, as well as supporting businesses.

The government will continue to fund its current projects but speaking at conference of African ministers and business leaders in London today, Greening said that bilateral aid to South Africa, which has been in place for more than 20 years, should come to an end.

south africa poor

A young boy holds soup and bread for his family which was distributed in the Blikkiesdorp Township of Cape Town, South Africa

She told a conference of African ministers and business leaders in London that the country was now "in a position to fund its own development".

She added: "South Africa has made enormous progress over the past two decades, to the extent that it is now the region's economic powerhouse and Britain's biggest trading partner in Africa.

"We are proud of the work the UK has done in partnership with the South African government, helping the country's transition from apartheid to a flourishing, growing democracy."

The relationship would now be one of "mutual co-operation and trade", she said.

In response, Oxfam said that steps must be taken to ensure that lives are not put 'on the line.

The charity's head of development finance and public services, Emma Seery, said: "Whilst South Africa should be in a position to fund its own development, there remains widespread poverty and inequality so UK aid is still a lifeline for poor people.

"Today, UK aid is helping to provide life-saving medicines to people living with HIV in South Africa, so the UK must ensure that this announcement doesn't put these lives on the line.

"It will be crucial for the UK government to work with South Africa on a concrete plan to make sure the poorest people will get the help they need."