An overseas aid fund is to be used to help promote international trade between the UK and emerging economies now that Britain is to leave the EU, reports have stated. The Cross-Government Prosperity Fund is described on government websites as helping to "promote economic growth in developing countries".
According to the Times, the fund will now have the express purpose of promoting international trade in the hopes that that will benefit economies and businesses globally, including in the UK. Money will be used to support countries engaging in trade deals, the report said.
Government sources told the newspaper that trade reform will now be a high priority for the fund. The Independent Commission for Aid Impact says that "Since the referendum on leaving the European Union, the promotion of trade has been given a higher priority by the Prosperity Fund."
Ministers have been told to ensure the fund reduces poverty, a legal requirement for using the aid budget. A spokesperson for the government told the paper: "In a post-Brexit world a more outward looking, global Britain investing and trading with the fastest growing markets is good for the UK and good for the world."
The spokesperson went on to say that building "well-regulated, competitive markets" would help the world's poorest in middle-income countries "to stand on their own two feet and become our trading partners of the future". The fund is said to not necessarily be aimed at the poorest nations but countries like China, India and Brazil.