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Chinese bras to Nigerian malls benefit from foreign aid





Chinese bras to Nigerian malls benefit from foreign aid Chinese bras to Nigerian malls benefit from foreign aid
  • Britain has poured more than £100million of the foreign aid budget into shopping malls and retail chains around the world
  • Despite high street shops at home facing a massive rise in business rates
  • Some pubs, shops and nurseries in the UK are facing 300 per cent rises
  • MPs called on Theresa May to divert some of the £12bn foreign budget to provide relief for suffering businesses in the UK 

Britain has poured more than £100million of the foreign aid budget into shopping malls and retail chains around the world as high street shops at home face massive rises in business rates.

China's biggest bra retailer, a cinema chain in Nigeria, fast food restaurants in Vietnam, wine merchants in Thailand and a bookseller in Costa Rica have all received generous investments of aid cash.

At the same time, small firms in the UK are about to hammered by the first shake-up in business rates in seven years that will earn the Treasury an extra £1billion. More than 500,000 traders will have to pay more, with some pubs, shops and nurseries facing 300 per cent rises.

British support: Cosmo Lady, China's biggest bra retailer, gets UK aid cash  British support: Cosmo Lady, China's biggest bra retailer, gets UK aid cash 

British support: Cosmo Lady, China's biggest bra retailer, gets UK aid cash 

Last night MPs called on Theresa May to divert some of the £12billion foreign budget to provide relief for suffering businesses in the UK.

The aid department, Dfid, has been pumping millions of pounds through its investment arm CDC, formerly the Commonwealth Development Corporation.

Aid chiefs last night admitted around £80million of the funds invested by CDC, which is wholly owned by the Government, had gone to shopping centre and real estate projects. Further cash has been poured into store chains and restaurants.

 

In Kenya, at least £15million has gone to help build Garden City, a luxury mall and housing development in Nairobi. It is claimed to be East Africa's largest shopping centre and, according to its website, features luxury brands among more than 100 shops.

Other developments to get aid cash include a retail park next to Douala airport in Cameroon, the RaceGame mall in Maputo, Mozambique, the Waterfalls Mall on the outskirts of Lusaka, Zambia, and the Twin Lakes Mall in Lagos, Nigeria and the First Festival Mall, in Festac, Nigeria.

Faster food: Money from the foreign aid budget helped Indian burger chain Vada Pav expand into Vietnam  Faster food: Money from the foreign aid budget helped Indian burger chain Vada Pav expand into Vietnam 

Faster food: Money from the foreign aid budget helped Indian burger chain Vada Pav expand into Vietnam 

Retailers and restaurateurs have also received huge sums of money.

Beneficiaries include Cosmo Lady, which is China's largest bra retailer with 2,500 stores, Vietnamese clothes retailer Viet Fashion, which has 80 outlets, and South African home furnishings store Coricraft.

US ice cream and fast food chain Dairy Queen received investment to build restaurants in Vietnam, while Indian burger joint Vada Pav got funding to enlarge there. Cinco Millas, which runs fine dining restaurants in Peru and cities in Latin America, also received aid cash.

It has also been invested in Wine Connection, which sells 'high quality and exclusive wines' in Thailand and Singapore, South African tyre stockist TIAuto, Indian furniture shop Future Retail, Costa Rican bookseller Desarrollos, and Bangladeshi supermarket Rahimafrooz.

Cinemas invested in include PVR, the largest multiplex chain in India, and Filmhouse, which has a 20 per cent market share in Nigeria. Tory MP Peter Bone last night called for the aid budget to be cut so business rate increases can be cancelled. He said: 'We spend far, far too much on overseas aid. A substantial amount should be spent here in the UK instead.

'Most people would not see this spending as the right way to help developing countries. The answer is to open our markets to developing countries and we will be able to do that after we leave the EU.'

Spending spree: Our cash backed the Festival Mall in Nigeria (pictured)  Spending spree: Our cash backed the Festival Mall in Nigeria (pictured) 

Spending spree: Our cash backed the Festival Mall in Nigeria (pictured) 

Ministers claim money invested in businesses throughout the world by the CDC helps create jobs.

More than £735million of the foreign aid budget has been allocated to the CDC in the past two years, but a report by the National Audit Office in November found it was struggling to show that its work made a lasting impact on people's lives in poor countries.

The CDC uses its money to take stakes in businesses. After a while it can sell off its portion of the firms and re-invest the cash elsewhere.

Around 14 per cent of its portfolio is in China, but it has stopped making new investments there since 2012. Just under a quarter of its money is invested in India.

Chain gang: America's Dairy Queen is expanding into Vietnam  Chain gang: America's Dairy Queen is expanding into Vietnam 

Chain gang: America's Dairy Queen is expanding into Vietnam 

A Dfid spokesman said: 'We have radically transformed CDC to ensure their investments are targeted where they have greatest impact for the world's poorest. In the last year alone CDC invested in businesses that have created over one million jobs across the poorest countries in South Asia and Africa.

'Every penny of profit generated by CDC is reinvested – this makes every penny of UK taxpayers' money go even further.'

A CDC spokesman added: 'Any money from government to CDC will be paid back because we aim to make investments that make money while doing good.

'Only two per cent of our investments are in shopping developments and real estate, but we make them because they create retail and construction jobs for poorer workers and have wider benefits for developing countries' economies.'

 

 

 

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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