British aid is 'funding the construction of hotel in Mozambique'
18th November 2020

British foreign aid money is ‘funding the construction of shopping mall and luxury hotel for gas workers in Mozambique’ where rooms cost up to £285 a night

  • Finance division CDC Group gave $22.5 million to a fund based in Zimbabwe 
  • Its investments include the property developer African Century Real Estate
  • ACRE are behind projects aimed at people working at oil and gas companies

Britain is financing the construction of luxury apartments and other infrastructure for western gas workers in Mozambique. 

The government’s development finance division, CDC Group, invested in an apartment hotel and a planned shopping mall, giving £16.9 million to a fund based in Zimbabwe, reports say.

Its investments include the property developer African Century Real Estate (Acre), which is responsible for a number of projects in Cabo Delgado aimed at people working at multinational oil and gas companies, The Times reports. 

One such development, Palma Residences, has apartments going for up to £285 per night, and is marketed as an ‘oasis of comfort and security in this remote part of northern Mozambique’. 

The government’s development finance division, CDC Group, invested in an apartment hotel and a planned shopping mall, giving $22.5 million to a fund based in Zimbabwe, reports say (pictured: Palma Residences, Cabo Delgado)

Investments include the property developer African Century Real Estate (Acre), which is responsible for a number of projects in Cabo Delgado aimed at people working at multinational oil and gas companies

It comes following reports that Boris Johnson has plans to cut Britain’s foreign aid spending by £5billion as the Government looks to cover the £210billion cost of the Covid-19 crisis.

Jonathan Chenevix-Trench, the founding partner of African Century, has donated more than £100,000 to the Conservative Party, and its chief executive Pedro Pinto had served as the CDC’s Mozambique country director until 2001, reports say.

Concerns have been raised over the CDC-backed fund’s investment in Acre, which was made in November 2015.

Critics say it undermines Britain’s green credentials, and fossil fuel investments in the area could be worsening an Islamic insurgency. 

Daniel Willis, of campaign group Global Justice Now, said: ‘The use of UK aid to build luxury corporate hotels and unaffordable shopping malls is always questionable; for it to be also greasing the wheels of oil and gas expansion is unacceptable.’

A CDC spokesman said it holds a ‘single-digit percentage stake in the company through Takura, an investment fund’. 

He added that a 2015 impact assessment found that the property developer ‘created much needed jobs and skills in one of the most poverty-stricken regions in the world’. 

Palma Residences, has apartments going for up to $380 per night, and is marketed as an ‘oasis of comfort and security in this remote part of northern Mozambique’ 

It comes following reports that Boris Johnson has plans to cut Britain’s foreign aid spending by £5billion as the Government looks to cover the £210billion cost of the Covid-19 crisis

Britain currently sends 0.7 per cent of its gross national income out as foreign aid to support developing countries around the world (pictured: Palma Residences)

Boris Johnson has this year approved a £1 billion loan guarantee for a gas pipeline in the area being built by a consortium led by Total. 

CFO of Acre, Chris Ringrose, said they were making sustainable local jobs that alleviated poverty.   

Britain currently sends 0.7 per cent of its gross national income out as foreign aid to support developing countries around the world.

But the aid programme has drawn criticism in the past over some of the projects it has chosen to support which have included allocating cash to protect pangolins in China.   

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is said to be pushing for the proportion of foreign aid to be cut to 0.5 per cent, saving around £5billion.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick today did not reject the reports as he told LBC Radio the impact of coronavirus on the nation’s finances means there is a ‘legitimate choice’ to be made over whether the UK wants to ‘consider our options’. 

Source: Read Full Article