In his final days as British prime minister, David Cameron hailed Britain’s 12 billion pound ($16 billion) foreign aid budget as one of his greatest achievements. Britain last year enshrined in law its commitment to spend 0.7 percent of its national income on aid every year, making it the first major industrialized nation to do so.
On Thursday, Priti Patel was appointed as the Secretary of State for International Development by the new Prime Minister, Theresa May.
Ms Patel said: “Successfully leaving the European Union will require a more outward looking Britain than ever before, deepening our international partnerships to secure our place in the world by supporting economic prosperity, stability and security overseas. That’s why my department will be working across government, with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the new Department for International Trade, the Home Office and others.
“We will continue to tackle the great challenges of our time: poverty, disease and the causes of mass migration, while helping to create millions of jobs in countries across the developing world – our trading partners of the future.”
Ms Patel’s comments about aid and trade could give some clues to the direction she might take the department in. In 2013 she said: “A long-term strategic assessment is required … in order to enable the UK to focus on enhancing trade with the developing world and seek out new investment opportunities in the global race. It is possible to bring more prosperity to the developing world and enable greater wealth transfers to be made from the UK by fostering greater trade and private sector investment opportunities.”