United Kingdom’s (UK) Minister for International Development, James Wharton, who visited Ethiopia this week uploads Ethiopia as source of stability in East Africa.
“Ethiopia is a source of stability in East Africa and its ambitious vision for economic transformation serves as an example to its neighbours. The UK remains invested in supporting Ethiopia’s development, while UK aid continues to make a real difference to those who need it most,” he said.
“The UK also welcomes the Government’s recognition of the need for reform to deal with the causes of recent protest and political unrest. I urge the Government and all political parties to engage constructively in the political dialogue process. The UK stands ready to support these reform efforts,” the Minister said reaffirming his government’s commitment to its progress and development.
The UK is Ethiopia’s second largest bilateral donor. Over the last five years, UK aid has prevented 4.2 million people from going hungry, put 2.5 million children through primary school, provided 4.9 million people with access to water and sanitation, and enabled 500,000 more women to use modern methods of family planning.
The Minister travelled to the Tigray region to see the impact UK aid is having on people’s ability to recover from last year’s El Nino drought. In January 2017, the UK Secretary of State for International Development, Priti Patel, announced a further £11.5m of funding for Ethiopia to combat the effects of this year’s drought affecting the Horn of Africa. This support is providing emergency food and clean water for the millions in need.
He also visited a primary school and refugee reception centre, where he observed UK Aid’s support which is funding school improvements including learning materials, facilities and teacher training, and centre facilities being provided to vulnerable people, particularly children. Refugee flows are a global issue and the UK is supporting Ethiopia in dealing with the large scale arrivals of refugees.
“I am delighted to have made my first visit to Ethiopia and seen firsthand how it continues to develop and grow as an important partner for the UK. This year alone, UK aid is providing vital support for many of the 13 million people affected by drought through our humanitarian and safety net programmes. At the same time, we are helping to boost economic development and private sector investment to create jobs and increase stability,” he said.
In Addis Ababa, Mr Wharton met with Ethiopian government and business officials, visited the factory of the British manufacturing firm Pittards, and met with a local entrepreneur whose leather making business has benefitted from UK-funded programmes.
He emphasised how the UK is strengthening its focus on economic development as a long term solution to poverty. This follows up on Secretary of State Priti Patel’s launch of DFID’s Economic Development Strategy at Hawassa industrial park earlier this year; where UK aid is helping to transform the local economy by creating around 60,000 new jobs. Minister Wharton will return to Ethiopia later in the year to continue bilateral aid talks.