The United Kingdom (UK) has partnered with the African Union (AU) to invest £30 million (Ksh. 3.9 billion) to support African projects in an effort to strengthen cooperation on security and prosperity in the region.
According to the UK Minister of State for Africa; Harriett Baldwin who was speaking ahead of the signing of the partnership at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa on Thursday; the deal will strengthen engagement between the continent 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 up skill people across the continent, and this funding will allow us to boost those efforts,” Mrs. Baldwin explained.
“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 funding, which forms part of the partnership agreement will be spread over three years and it will be used to train peacekeepers in Kenya, assist in operating free and fair elections and support the next phase of negotiations for the African Continental Free Trade Area.
The signing of the strategic partnership also allows the UK to support African-led ambitions with British expertise as well as creating more opportunities and more jobs.
Mrs Baldwin’s visit to Ethiopia comes after Prime Minister Theresa May visited Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa in August to set out her vision for UK’s future partnership with Africa and its aim to be the largest G7 investor in Africa by 2022.
It also follows the rapid 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.