EXCLUSIVE: One-year-old Ahmed is same age as the PM’s son Wilfred and is one of millions of kids put at risk by plans to cut the overseas aid budget by £4billion a year
This is the face that should shame Boris Johnson for his decision to slash overseas aid.
One-year-old Ahmed – the same age as the PM’s son Wilfred – is one of millions of kids put at risk by plans to cut the budget by £4billion a year.
This week Mr Johnson will strut the international stage as Cornwall hosts the G7 summit of wealthy Western nations.
Meanwhile, Ahmed will be fighting for his life in drought-hit Somalia.
He is in a camp with no basic facilities surviving on peanut paste from a Save the Children malnutrition centre.
His mum Nala and four siblings left their native Mali four years ago for food when drought killed their cattle.
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Ahmed is one of an estimated five million children suffering water shortages, famine, floods, locust plagues and wars in the vast Sahel region of Africa.
In Niger, teacher Rose Ramatou said aid gives kids caught up in the chaos some education and a better life.
Of one pupil, she said: “He’s the best in my class but he is quiet. What he has seen has seriously impacted his mental health.”
Save the Children)
Tomorrow the PM faces a Commons defeat from his own MPs who oppose cutting aid to £10billion a year from 0.7% to 0.5% of national income.
The rebels include his predecessor Theresa May plus four ex-Cabinet ministers and are backed by former PMs John Major and David Cameron.
Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy said: “As world leaders gather in Britain for the most important G7 summit in a generation, Boris Johnson is having to be shamed into reversing short-sighted aid cuts.”
Jennifer Larbie, of Christian Aid, added: “The eyes of the world will be on Boris Johnson. He will lack any credibility talking up ‘Global Britain’ while trying to stop his own MPs from making sure his government keeps its promises to the world’s poorest people.”
The Foreign Office said: “Government is committed to returning to spending 0.7 per cent of GNI on aid when the fiscal situation allows.”
Comment: By Andrew Mitchell Ex-International Development Secretary
You will have a variety of views about the merits of foreign aid. But I think very few of you believe we should be doing less to help.
Look at Yemen, where half of all medical facilities have been destroyed, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes, and a child dies every 10 minutes from a preventable disease.
We are the only G7 country cutting aid. Every other country is increasing aid in the face of the global pandemic. The cuts to UK aid amount to just 1% of what the Chancellor is borrowing this year, but will result in hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths, mainly of children.
How can Britain chair a global summit and ask other nations to make promises, when we are breaking the promise? It is a political own goal and a strategic error that loses friends and alienates people.