Priti Patel unveils new economic development plan in bid to create jobs for world’s poorest
There is no task more urgent than defeating poverty,’ the international development secretary said.
By Ian Silvera
(IBT) — The UK plans to focus more on economic development in a bid to create jobs and trade for the world’s poorest, Priti Patel announced on Tuesday (31 January). The international development secretary said the strategy was part of the Government’s “Global Britain” strategy as the UK splits from the EU.
“There is no task more urgent than defeating poverty. The UK has a proud record of supporting people in desperate humanitarian crises, but emergency help alone won’t tackle the global changes we face,” she said.
“With dramatic increases in population across Africa and Asia, developing nations must act fast to create jobs and investment, which is why Global Britain is leading a more open, more modern approach to development through our economic development to help the world’s poorest countries stand on their own two feet.”
The Department for International Development’s (Dfid) first economic development strategy outlines how investment in economic development will help developing nations speed-up their rate of growth and trade.
The Government will give Ethiopia, which hosts around 750,000 refugees, £80m ($100m) in a bid to create 100,000 new jobs, with a third of those roles being available to refugees.
“This will strengthen Ethiopia’s manufacturing ambitions, foster growth, and contribute to tackling the global migration crisis,” Dfid said.
The ministry also plans to team-up with the Department for International Trade and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to help British businesses have better access to information about new commercial opportunities in developing countries.
News of the initiative comes as Dfid faces increased scrutiny in the press. Conservative MP Grant Shapps, a former Dfid minister, has even called for the ministry to be merged into the Foreign Office.
“Dfid’s own culture, the way in which it operates, and how it hands out much of that money is profoundly worrying,” he wrote in the Sunday Times.
“I stumbled across this because uniquely, for much of my time at the department, I also served as minister of state at the Foreign Office. Now, these two departments never have joint ministers, so as a result I became the only minister who routinely saw top-secret papers from both departments.
“And what I can reveal is how Dfid sometimes contradicted, competed with, and even unwittingly undermined Britain’s national objectives as pursued by the Foreign Office.”
Ukip leader Paul Nuttall, meanwhile, told IBTimes UK that the “majority” of Britain’s £12bn foreign aid budget should be diverted to the NHS.
“I’m not opposed to giving foreign aid to countries that have real crises, but I am opposed to handing over foreign aid to corrupt regimes, countries which are purchasing large amounts of arms, countries which are richer than ourselves,” he said.