In his new pamphlet, A Safer and More Prosperous World: Why Aid Really Matters In An Age of Austerity, Andrew Mitchell is unapologetically optimistic about the positive role that British government can play in international development. Covering issues such as wealth creation and conflict prevention (both of which Mitchell believes are vital for development) the new pamphlet sets out Mitchell’s vision of the future for British international development.

This, however, is not an appeal for the status quo. In fact, one of the highlights of the pamphlet is a proposal that would represent a fundamental shift in how international development policy works. Mitchell believes that the future for British international development lies with the private sector, rather than with the Department for International Development (DFID):

"In my view it is not an unreasonable proposition to suggest that in 50 years’ time CDC [the Government-owned Development Finance Institution] will be seen as the principal British development structure, rather than DFID."

This may be welcome news to those who are sceptical of government aid programs – especially those within Mitchell’s own party who have been vocal in their opposition to British Government policy in this area. At a time when the UK economic recovery is slow and budget cuts are common right across Whitehall, the UK government’s commitment to increase its international development budget has never been more controversial.

“Britain’s international development policies are not about soft-hearted altruism. They are a clear and hard-headed approach to our own security and prosperity…they are also morally right.”

The Legatum Institute aims to promote a lively and intelligent discussion, which is why the Institute has published a series of short responses alongside this pamphlet. It is hoped these papers will further the debate and enrich our understanding about international development.

In this short video, discussion moderator and Legatum Institute Director of Global Transitions Anne Applebaum interviews Mitchell about the objectives of the new pamphlet.

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This pamphlet is published by the Legatum Institute as part of our Policy Dialogues series in partnership with the 2020 Conservatives.