British aid money should only go to democracies

Edgbaston Park Hotel and Conference Centre
Thursday 31 January 2019 (18:00-19:15)

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Should UK aid only be given to democracies? Many countries around the world receive UK aid, including more democratic states such as Ghana and more authoritarian ones such as Rwanda.

The logic behind supporting governments in authoritarian states is that we can encourage democracy where it does not exist, and improve the lives of citizens by promoting development in authoritarian contexts. But isn't it hypocritical to call for human rights on the one hand, while funding repressive regimes on the other? And does it even make sense to fund development projects in countries where problematic politics so often undermines economic progress?

This debate will see speakers provide fresh perspectives on this important debate and address the case for international aid, bringing together policy makers, academics and charity representatives. The event will be open to staff and students, key stakeholders and members of the public. You can watch this event live on the University of Birmingham Facebook page

Chair: Professor Richard Black, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Head of the College of Social Sciences


  • Professor Nic Cheeseman, Professor of Democracy and International Development, University of Birmingham
  • Tufail Hussain, Deputy Director and Head of Fundraising at Islamic Relief
  • Claire Leigh, Director of International Development Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns, Save the Children
  • Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, Former Secretary of State for International Development, University of Birmingham
  • Toni Pearce, Head of Advocacy, Oxfam GB

Note: There will be a drinks reception held after the event between 19:15-19:45