UK taxpayers spent £1.5 million on Sudan peace programme

UK armed forces have completed evacuation of British diplomats from Sudan

UK taxpayers have spent almost £1.5 million on a “peace and reconciliation” foreign aid programme in Sudan in the last two years, the Express can reveal. The apparent waste of taxpayer cash came to light as the government rushes to airlift UK diplomats out of the country. 

Hundreds have already died in the North African country after fighting broke out between rival military factions last week. 

Around 2,000 UK citizens have sought help, but the Government has been focussing its attention on airlifting diplomats to safety, and warned any mass evacuation of Brits carried potentially “grave” risks. 

As the situation escalates, the Express can reveal millions were spent by UK taxpayers on a “peace and reconciliation” programme, yet again calling into question foreign aid spending. 

The figure uncovered by think tank The Taxpayers’ Alliance, which campaigns for money in government coffers to be spent more efficiently. 

The £1.5 million figure has been spent in Sudan since the project was launched back in May 2021. 

This is out of a total projected foreign aid spend in the country of £3,339,997, with the project expected to run until the end of March 2024. 

The “peace and reconciliation” project was described by the Government as an “historic opportunity to address the root causes and impact of decades of conflict”. 

Given the current death toll of 420, with thousands fleeing, the project appears to have failed. 

The TaxPayers’ Alliance’s Conor Holohan said: “Clearly UK projects in Sudan haven’t been delivering results.”

“Despite noble aims, UK Aid hasn’t stopped the country from descending into chaos.

“Taxpayers need to know that every penny of foreign aid delivers on its promises.”

The multi-million pound programme identified a number of risks in the country, but also highlighted measures to mitigate dangers to peace in Sudan. 

The areas spent on included: “Invest heavily into the peace process, linking different actors together and pressing for inclusivity”; as well as “Support for grassroots and national level processes on gathering consensus on transitional justice settlement in Sudan”.

By contrast, the total budget for “humanitarian preparedness and response” in Sudan was just £3 million. 

This represents a figure 11 percent less than that allocated for the Department for International Development for ‘Peace and Reconciliation’. 

The apparent waste of taxpayer’s funds comes as it was revealed the operation to evacuate British diplomats almost fell apart, as the plane was delayed an hour before taking off. 

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This morning The Sun revealed there was a “significant delay to take off” from a mission to extract UK diplomats yesterday, after the Foreign Office attempted to fly a Sudanese citizen dependent of a Brit. 

The paper’s political editor said there was a “tense standoff with local authorities”, resulting in the UK plane being grounded for an hour. 

Defence Minister James Heappey said that “the job isn’t done” when it comes to rescuing the 4,000 or more British and dual nationals trapped in the African state. 

“Work is underway in [the Ministry of Defence] and has been all weekend and the back end of last week to give the prime minister and Cobra options for what else could be done to support the wider community of British nationals in Sudan,”

The Government faced backlash over its decision to focus on extracting diplomats only, as countries such as Germany moved to rescue both diplomats and nationals. 

Following a statement in the Commons this afternoon, International Aid Minister Andrew Mitchell said he hoped UK efforts to rescue those in Sudan would be more successful than the Kabul airlifts following the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban in 2021. 

The Foreign Office has been contacted by for comment. 

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