The United Kingdom has promised to pump £30 million into prosperity and security projects across Africa.
The Minister of State for Africa, Mrs. Harriett Baldwin, announced ahead of the signing of the partnership at the African Union Commission Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
According to her, the funding boost is part of the UK’s effort towards stepping up its investment in the continent. It also comes as Britain signs a new strategic partnership with the African Union, strengthening the engagement between Africa and the UK government.
“From our support to observers ensuring free and fair elections in Nigeria and Senegal this weekend, to the crucial training our Armed Forces provides to security forces in Kenya, the UK’s partnership with African countries continues to help empower and upskill people across the continent, and this funding will allow us to boost those efforts,” Mrs Baldwin was quoted as saying in a statement over the weekend.
“Our new partnership will also cement our relationship with the African Union, building on growing economic ties to forge new opportunities for young people and reinforce our close bonds.”
The UK minister explained that the partnership would strengthen cooperation on security and prosperity, as well as support a joined-up approach to tackle climate change.
She added that the funding formed part of the partnership agreement and would be spread over three years.
Mrs Baldwin said it would be used to train peacekeepers in Kenya, assist free and fair elections, and support the next phase of negotiations for the African Continental Free Trade Area.
The signing of the strategic partnership, according to her, also allows the UK to support African-led ambitions with British expertise, to create more opportunities and more jobs.
Mrs Baldwin’s visit to Ethiopia came after Prime Minister Theresa May visited Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa in August 2018, to set out her vision for the UK’s future partnership with Africa.
It followed the expansion of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s diplomatic network in the region, including plans to open new embassies in Djibouti, Chad, Niger, Eswatini, and Lesotho, and recruit more diplomats with new skills-sets, including in trade and investment.