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By JOHN SAKALA
Zambians will benefit as the UK puts more attention and resource into economic development and trade links to create the economic growth that will sustain rapidly growing populations in Africa.
The UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, has announced on her first visit to Africa as Prime Minister that the UK supports a long-term solution to poverty by helping to create sustainable job opportunities and investments.
The Prime Minister has pledged to make the UK the G7’s number one investor in Africa, with Britain’s private sector companies taking the lead in investing the billions that will see African economies growing by trillions.
The Prime Minister also pledged that the UK will remain a global champion for international development, committing that UK development spending will not only combat extreme poverty, but at the same time tackle global challenges and support the UK national interest.
In Zambia, UK investment is already happening through various channels such as investment in human capital and through social impact agribusinesses such as AgDevCo, Saise Farming Enterprises Limited and Zambeef.
The Prime Minister has announced additional funding through AgDevCo that will benefit Zambia.
In Zambia, the UK also promotes leadership and skills through the Chevening and Commonwealth scholarship schemes that in 2018/19 will fund almost 40 Zambians to pursue postgraduate studies in the UK.
The Prime Minister’s announcement of a further 100 Chevening scholarships for Africans means that next year the number of scholarships for Zambians will increase.
The Prime Minister, Theresa May said;
“The UK’s role in international development is something of which I am immensely proud, as I believe the nation as a whole should be. We will remain a global champion for aid spending, humanitarian relief and international development. We will continue our commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of gross national income on official development assistance. We will not falter in our work to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals.”
With UK support AgDevCo has so far already leveraged £117 million of third-party capital, including from British companies. Over 1.6 million people in rural areas are benefiting from increased incomes as a result of the jobs and markets created by AgDevCo’s investments. The figure is set to grow to 2.4 million over time.
The additional funding announced (£55m) will directly benefit an additional 1.5 million people by 2025. It will bring the total to 3.9 million people directly benefiting by 2025 in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Uganda.
Commenting on the increased investments by the United Kingdom in to Africa which will also benefit Zambia; British High Commissioner to Zambia Fergus Cochrane-Dyet OBE said;
“As a long-term friend of Zambia, the UK recognises that British aid and investment should boost Zambia’s economic growth so as to create jobs and wealth. In particular, The UK will be investing more in Zambia’s agriculture and in scholarships for young, dynamic Zambians.”
This is according to a media statement made available to The Independent Observer by Deputy Public Affairs Officer for Politics and Press at the British Embassy in Zambia Jasmine Kasoma.