Speaker: Dr Alison Evans, Lead Comissioner for ICAI Rapid Review into the Prosperity Fund

We are pleased to welcome the Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI) Chief Commissioner, Dr Alison Evans, who was also the Lead Commissioner for the ICAI Rapid Review into the Prosperity Fund, for a discussion of the Review and the Government's response. ICAI is an independent organisation reporting to the International Development Select Committee.

ICAI examined the recently established cross-government Prosperity Fund, which promotes economic reform and development needed for growth in developing countries. The review – which focused on the likelihood of future effectiveness, as the Prosperity Fund has not yet begun implementing major programmes – recognised the significant progress which had been made in a short time frame and noted that the Fund’s systems and processes were still being refined. However it said the Fund was likely to face challenges in meeting both its primary purpose of poverty reduction and its secondary aim of creating opportunities for international business, including UK firms.

The review said the Fund had made improvements in its governance structure, in the short period since it was established. But raised concerns over the speed at which government departments were expected to scale up their aid spending, and said they will need to work hard to design and deliver programmes capable of achieving results.

The review called on the government to look again at the planned rate of expenditure, including considering extending the time period over which the £1.3 billion is due to be spent. It also calls on the Fund to improve its transparency, saying there was too little public information available about its work.

Dr Evans will summarise the review's findings and recommendations, and also the Government's response.