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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 July 2006, 17:12 GMT 18:12 UK
UK to launch anti-corruption fund
Child in a neighbourhood of Freetown, Sierra Leone
Many people in Africa are still waiting for their lives to improve
The UK government wants to boost its foreign aid policy with a 100m fund to tackle developing world corruption.

The plans are in a new White Paper, which comes after last year's G8 summit of industrial nations pledged help for African and other developing nations.

Other proposals to tackle poverty include substantial spending hikes for health, education and social security.

The paper also calls for an overhaul of the United Nations to enable it to respond better to humanitarian crises.

International Development Secretary Hilary Benn said: "We have made progress in the last 12 months but we have not yet made poverty history."

'Long-term progress'

He added that sustained progress was impossible without better governance in developing nations.

"Long-term progress in the fight against poverty will only be achieved through effective governance and by people with the voice and confidence to hold their government to account," he said.

The 100m Governance Transparency Fund will be used to boost accountability, partly through the media and unions, as well as tackling corruption.

Spending on education will more than double to 1bn by 2010, while support for water and sanitation projects will climb from 95m to 200m between 2007 and 2010.

We must focus on our own back yard as much as focusing on Africa
Charles Abugre
Christian Aid

An "ambitious" health plan will try to eliminate fees for health care in the next ten years while Mr Benn also promised a "significant increase" in social security spending in ten countries across Africa and Asia.

Other features of the White Paper, which comes on the eve of this year's major G8 summit in St Petersburg, include giving developing countries more input into international discussions on climate change.

There will also be a doubling of investment in educating British schoolchildren on development issues, so they can "learn about the issues that shape their world".

'Overly timid'

Christian Aid welcomed the government's commitment of spending 0.7% of GDP on aid by 2013 - in line with UN targets.

But the charity described the White Paper as "both positive and disappointing in equal measure".

Head of policy Charles Abugre said the government had been "overly timid" on reform and also accused the UK of being complicit with corruption.

"The focus is all on Africa. But it takes two to tango," Mr Abugre said.

"UK companies have the power to encourage corruption, by paying bribes, and therefore the Government has the power to tackle it.

"We must focus on our own back yard as much as focusing on Africa."

There was similar criticism from other development groups. The World Development Movement (WDM) said it was wrong to infer that the problems of the developing world can be reduced to questions of corruption.

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