Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin travelled to Commonwealth countries Zambia and Malawi last week, to strengthen relations and focus on shared prosperity, sustainable development, and joint efforts to tackle climate change and the illegal wildlife trade.
In Zambia, Minister Baldwin and Minister Matthew Nkhuwa signed the Energy Africa Compact, a partnership between the UK and Zambian governments and the private sector to support the growth of the sustainable energy sector. Minister Baldwin announced £22m of new UK aid funding which will support the development of innovative energy solutions and help millions of Zambians access reliable, affordable off-grid solar energy.
Minister Baldwin said:
“The warm welcome I’ve received in Zambia shows the deep friendship between our countries.
“I have reaffirmed our shared commitment to accelerate sustainable economic development, while ensuring that the poorest and most vulnerable are not left behind.
“Partnering with Zambia to deliver a more secure and sustainable energy future will help lift Zambians out of poverty, drive economic development, and tackle climate change.”
During her visit, Minister Baldwin met with the Zambian Vice-President Inonge Wina and cabinet ministers.
Minister Baldwin also visited UK aid-supported projects to see how the UK is working with local communities and organisations to support development and reduce poverty. She announced £8.5m to improving access to finance for individuals and businesses, for example expanding mobile money to help businesses and families better manage their finances.
In Malawi, the Minister visited Majete National Park to see how the UK is supporting their efforts to tackle the Illegal Wildlife Trade, a serious organised crime. She met members of the British military who are providing training to park rangers. The UK has also been working with African Parks to improve their communications systems, allowing them to track both animals and poachers more effectively. The Minister met people from nearby communities to see how they can benefit from the running of the Park as the UK works to tackle the crime and corruption the trade causes, which holds back development across the continent.
Minister Baldwin said:
“The cooperation between Majete Park Rangers and the British soldiers who are sharing their experience to help them crack down on poachers is a wonderful example of how our two countries can work together to tackle major shared issues, making the world a more secure place.
“I have been delighted to visit Zambia and Malawi, close Commonwealth friends, to strengthen our political, trade and development ties. The UK continues to be a steadfast partner for Africa’s peace, security and prosperity.”
Whilst in Malawi, Minister Baldwin met with government ministers, opposition party figures, and business and civil society representatives, and visited UK-funded projects. Minister Baldwin announced new UKAid funding to the education sector of £37.5 million to support early grade learning and keep more girls in school.
The UK is a long-standing development partner in both Zambia and Malawi.