Secretary of State for International Development
Date of Birth: 23/03/1956
Place of Birth: London
Since May, Andrew Mitchell has been head of the Department for International Development in Britain’s new Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government. Along with aid, DFID produces research on development issues. Its budget was one of the few to survive Chancellor George Osborne’s harsh cuts. Britain’s international aid commitment will increase to 0.7% of national income by 2013.
Taking the view that the Chinese presence in Africa is an opportunity rather than a threat to British interests, Mitchell said in October that cooperation with China in Africa was a ‘high priority’ for his government and discussions for joint projects were already under way.
Mitchell took control of DFID promising to get Britain’s commitment to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals ‘back on track’. In October, the Global Poverty Action Fund was created to target countries lagging behind MDG benchmarks. Then, late last month, the Independent Commission for Aid Impact was launched under chartered accountant Graham Ward; it will rate the viability of 20 projects a year on a traffic-light system: red, amber or green. Next up is reform of the Commonwealth Development Corporation, now known as CDC Group, Britain’s development finance body.
Mitchell was born in 1956 in London. He served in the Army’s Royal Tank Regiment before going to Cambridge University, where he studied history. After graduation, he joined investment bank Lazard, where he worked in its International and Corporate Business Department. In 1987, aged 31, he was elected as member of Parliament for Gedling, a seat he held for a decade. He returned to Parliament in 2001 as MP for Sutton Coldfield and was Shadow Minister for Economic Affairs (2003-04), Home Affairs (2004-05), and then International Development (2005-10).