Bronwen Maddox wrote an article on this in The Times, 22nd April
"Our foreign aid target is absurd and outdated
The main parties are perversely sticking to a figure that never had any legitimacy"http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/commen ... 104236.ece
She makes the points that it's slavish adherence to a nominal figure which always made doubtful sense, and that the Chinese are certainly pouring money into Africa, for something (minerals, raw materials) and with no strings attached by way of human rights, good governance or anything of the sort.
Ring fencing foreign aid has been Tory policy for a good year. It's tempting to think that there's something going on, such as backhanders or lubricating profitable deals, but I think it's more likely that the political classes live in a world of their own and can't see the nonsense of borrowing money to give away. Even so, it's odd that these billions have been ringfenced, not even up for review.