Boris Johnson has today pledged to spend £430m extra in foreign aid at the G7 summit in Cornwall today, with funding set to go to boosting education in the world’s poorest countries.
Today’s first joint meeting of the summit saw leaders discuss the post-Covid global economic recovery, with Downing Street saying “all girls get a quality education is central” to the goal of “building back better”.
The Prime Minister today called on other G7 leaders to match his commitment to the Global Partnership for Education – a fund dedicated to education in developing countries.
It comes amid a Tory rebellion over Johnson’s decision to impose a £4bn-a-year foreign aid cut in light of UK’s record Budget deficit.
“The best way we can lift countries out of poverty and lead a global recovery is by investing in education and particularly girls’ education,” Johnson said.
“It is a source of international shame that every day around the world children bursting with potential are denied the chance to become titans of industry, scientific pioneers or leaders in any field, purely because they are female, their parents’ income or the place they were born.
“I am calling on other world leaders, including those here at the G7, to also donate and put us firmly on a path to get more girls into the classroom, address the terrible setback to global education caused by coronavirus and help the world build back better.”
Johnson’s announcement comes after a group of at least 35 Tory MPs were prepared to vote against the government earlier this week in an attempt to reverse its foreign aid cut.
The amendment never went to vote on in the House of Commons after it was thrown out by Sir Lindsay Hoyle, however the speaker also said that the matter should be debated in parliament.
Among the rebels were former Prime Minister Theresa May, former international development secretary Andrew Mitchell and former Tory leader David Davis.
Davis told City A.M. that today’s announcement was “good and welcome”, but “doesn’t do enough to solve the problem I’ve been talking about”.
“And what I’ve been talking about, and what my primary concern is, is people receiving food and clean water,” he said.
“Particularly clean water for young mothers.”
Johnson also held a bilateral meting today with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on the first day of the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall.
The Prime Minister thanked Suga for supporting the UK’s ascension to the 11-nation Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and outlined his support for the Tokyo Olympics to go ahead this year.
Johnson went on to meet with Canadian Prime Minister and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi in separate one-on-ones.