[TABLE="width: 100%"] [TR] [TD="align: right"][/TD] [/TR] [/TABLE] [TABLE="align: left"] [TR] [TD][/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD][/TD] [/TR] [/TABLE] The United Kingdom is to donate £643 million in aid to Tanzania over the next four years. According to Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for the Department for International Development, the support is to help Tanzania reduce poverty levels and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Since 2000, the UK has provided £596 million in aid to Tanzania (£140 million in 2009/2010 alone) and remains the largest donor of aid to Tanzania. In times of austerity and cuts to the UK's Education budget prompting riots on the streets of London by angry students, can this level of financial support be justified and is it achieving its purpose? The indications are that it is not. Despite these staggering amounts of aid, Tanzania remains one of the poorest countries in the world with a third of the population living below the poverty line. President Kikwete first came to power in 2005 on the back of anti-corruption rhetoric and assurances of good governance. In 2011, allegations of Grand corruption remain rampant in the country with Kikwete providing little more than rhetorical evidence of his anti-corruption stand and, if you dig though the rhetoric, a disturbing picture emerges. In the last two years Tanzania has dropped 32 places in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index and Transparency International (Kenya 2009 survey) found the Tanzanian Judiciary to be the most corrupt institution in East Africa. Cases of grand corruption float in and out of public exposure amounting to little more than an unconvincing and half-hearted attempt to placate donors. In 2008 the Tanzanian government launched a series of high-profile corruption prosecutions including the theft of billions of shillings from the Bank of Tanzania's External Payments Arrears account. The Richmond energy scandal which forced the resignation of former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa after being implicated in improperly awarding a contract to the US-based electricity company Richmond Development to provide electricity after a drought early in 2006 and the BAE Systems scandal where Tanzania was supplied with an overly sophisticated radar system amidst allegations of bribes and ‘accounting misdemeanours' by BAE before the High Court in London. Most worrying perhaps for the British tax payer is the Silverdale Farm case where British investors Stewart Middleton and Sarah Hermitage invested in the agricultural sector (a sector targeted by British aid) and suffered a four year campaign of violence and abuse of law instigated by Benjamin Mengi brother to Media Tycoon Reginald Mengi which forced them from the country in 2008 with the loss of their investment. The case, described by former British High Commissioner to Tanzania Andrew Pocock as ‘a continuing outrage' prompted British M.P. (Thanet North) Roger Gale to call for the suspension of British Aid to Tanzania until Benjamin Mengi, who he described as a small time crook, was brought to justice. Despite this and the fact that President Kikwete has failed to honor his promises to the British government that the case would be resolved in accordance with the rule of law, the UK continues to supply Tanzania with over a quarter of its direct budget support. It is accepted that government transitions to multiparty democracies are problematic. In particular, donor insistence for transitional regimes to adhere to western principles of good governance particularly non-interference with the judiciary by the executive allows for corrupt regimes to act with impunity. That said, it is unconscionable, that the British tax payer should be asked to support these regimes. DFID's Bilateral Aid Review: Technical Report (March 2011) stated by Andrew Mitchell to have been designed, to make Britain's aid budget more focused and effective ranks Tanzania in the top 10% of countries supported by UK aid which has the potential to be most well used. This does not sit comfortably with the finding of the 2009 Human Rights Report which states'senior government officials estimated that 20% of the government's budget in each fiscal year was lost to corruption'. Assuming the accuracy of the later, almost £130 million of tax payers will be lost to corruption in Tanzania over the next four years. Andrew Mitchell states he is determined to get value for money in respect of Britain's £2.9 billion bilateral aid budget. He will struggle to get value for money in Tanzania where the evidence suggests, that UK aid is neither justified or meeting its purpose. By Sarah Hermitage The author is a British investor.