19 Jun 2014

Australian focus on aid for trade

2:29 pm on 19 June 2014

The Director of the Development Policy Centre at the Australian National University says Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishops 'aid for trade' agenda will put more emphasis on the private sector and innovation.

Stephen Howes says the Australian government has announced an innovation fund of 130 million US dollars over four years specifically to trial new approaches in aid recipient countries.

Julie Bishop.

Julie Bishop. Photo: AAP / ALAN PORRITT

He says there will be a requirement to assess every project to see if the private sector can be involved in the delivery of aid.

He says this will be positive so long as the term 'private sector' is interpreted broadly to include non government organisations, and churches as well as for-profit companies.

"They'll want to marry that desire to see more innovation with the other desire to see more involvement by the private sector. So not only is there meant to a be focus on activities that will help private sector development but the private sector's actually meant to be involved in delivering the aid programme."

Stephen Howes says there is a lot of continuity with the aid programme as it existed under previous governments with a strong focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

He says the restructure is more a reform than a revolution.