Clare Short outlined hopes that the Telford Challenge would be an exemplar of the public and private sector working together in developing countries on properly regulated projects that are really needed.
She said at ICE: 'We are working towards a more accountable system of delivering aid overseas.
There has been some corruption in the provision of aid in the past - the use of a 'quick bung' to get a hospital built that might not be the best use of money. Up to now a tax deductible bribe could
be offered abroad. We are working towards these gifts no longer being tax deductible in the future.'
She called for long term sustainable help, focusing on countries that are coming out of war with new, responsible governments wanting to rebuild.
Twenty of the 30 poorest countries in the world are at war, and regimes with the motivation to rebuild after war are the ones where poverty can really be tackled, said Short.
'I went to Malawi a few months ago, where there is now a more stable government after years
of misgovernment. Malawi has 64% malnourishment. Some 30% of women pregnant for the first time have the AIDS virus. Mozambique is another country reconstructing. These are the countries we can really help in the long term.'
She told NCE: 'That 600,000, added to the goodwill of UK engineers, will go a long way. Experts from DFID, with a wealth of experience will work on the steering group in partnership with ICE.'