Britain increases Mozambique aid

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Britain will increase its foreign aid to Mozambique by 14 percent this year to 80 million pounds, targetting programmes in health, education and good governance, an official said Friday.

"We're giving 330 million pounds ($538 million, 373 million euros) over the next four years," said Keith Mackiggan, local head of the British Department for International Development.

The pledge will see Mozambique receive 80 million pounds for the next two years, and 85 million pounds in 2013 and 2014.

"This is a slight increase over last year's aid, which was 70 million pounds," Mackiggan told AFP.

Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world, with over half of its 22 million people living below the poverty line.

Foreign aid makes up 46 percent of the country's budget. The British aid will provide budget support, but also finance specific programmes run by the British government, private companies and charities.

Many donors have increased aid to Mozambique this year, though last year a group of 19 large donors held back money because of irregularities in the 2009 elections and governance issues.

Mozambique is trying to rein in spending with plans to trim back food and fuel subsidies that cost the government millions of dollars a month. The government said last month it would gradually scale back the subsidies and offer other forms of support to the poor.

© 2011 AFP

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