During his first visit since his appointment, Minister Wharton, who oversees development aid in Africa, saw how the UK is helping some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in Northern Kenya cope with climate shocks and droughts. He met women in the drought threatened, arid areas who are being helped to start small businesses in their rural communities, so they can pay for vital food, school fees and medical care for their families.
James Wharton said:
“The UK is playing a leading role in Kenya, providing life saving support to millions of people in need. I was pleased to see first hand the positive impact of UK aid and the strong partnerships we’ve built over the years.
“Kenya remains a key partner for an outward-looking and globally engaged UK. We will continue to work together to tackle poverty, boost economic growth and improve security and stability in Kenya, which is building a safer and more prosperous world – which is in both Kenya and the UK’s national interest.”
Minister Wharton visited various energy sites, including a geothermal power plant, to see the positive effects of improving energy access for people in Kenya and the importance of clean, reliable and affordable energy. Half of Kenya’s population do not have access to electricity – a barrier to economic development. He saw how M-KOPA – a company supported by DFID – is providing cheap and efficient solar energy products to over 375,000 homes, helping some of the poorest people in Kenya lift themselves out of poverty.
The UK’s Energy Africa campaign aims to light up Africa quickly by opening up solar energy markets to private sector investment and innovation, and by working with African Governments to remove the barriers to private investment in energy and creating stable business environments where British companies can invest, create jobs and change lives.
Minister Wharton met Cabinet Secretaries from the National Treasury, Foreign Affairs and Trade and Industry departments where he underlined the importance that Britain places on our cooperation and relationship with Kenya. They discussed developing our trade relationship and how Kenya can create the conditions for increased private sector investment to tackle poverty and boost economic growth.
He met partners working on deepening democracy and the process of devolution and heard about the challenges and opportunities as Kenya approaches elections in 2017.
The UK is one of the largest bilateral donors delivering aid to help the poorest Kenyans, by improving health and education, tackling conflict and creating jobs.