UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab wrapped up a two-day tour to Kenya and Sudan on Thursday after pledging millions in aid to various projects in both countries. The pledge comes with almost $55m to Sudan to provide 1.6m people with “direct financial support” and almost $73m to finance affordable housing in Kenya.
Over a decade now no British foreign secretary had embark on such visit to Sudan, his trip to Khartoum on Wednesday is the first in such a long time. It demonstrates the UK’s support for Sudan’s transition to democracy after the ouster of Islamist autocrat Omar al-Bashir in 2019, the embassy said.
Raab met with Sudan’s Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, and the chairman of the ruling council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. The meetings add further weight to the prime minister’s drive to bring Sudan “out from the cold” by re-engaging with multilateral institutions and rebuilding bilateral ties.
The UK’s foreign secretary met Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday and committed to supporting his initiative to provide 100,000 affordable homes.
Raab also announced a further $65m to support climate change mitigation strategies in Kenya. “We have a strong partnership with the UK …and our meeting has sought to reflect on these areas of cooperation,” said foreign affairs cabinet secretary Raychelle Omamo.
The aid pledges to Africa come after Britain slashed its foreign aid spending commitment to 0.5% of gross domestic product from 0.7% last November, sparking uproar from development agencies. Raab’s rapprochement also comes as the UK strives to forge stronger ties with key markets in Africa after leaving the EU.
The two countries signed a trade deal in December that upheld previous EU arrangements like duty-free access for Kenyan exporters to the UK market. Raab’s trip coincided with the UK’s Africa Investment Conference on Wednesday where Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it is “my ambition for the UK to be Africa’s investment partner.”
Credit: Mr Charles Ankomah Darko. ( Dip.F.M, CGIA, BA, MBA )