This week, the Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening gave a speech at The Commonwealth Secretariat, where she announced that Britain will be focusing more development assistance on trade to help developing countries move away from aid.
Cumbersome regulations, endless border delays and inefficient customs are stifling the potential of businesses across Africa. The UK will improve trade deals between African countries and make it easier for businesses to sell their goods, but helping to reduce red tape and improving infrastructure. Britain will help 20,000 firms in 15 countries to unpick barriers to trade through a new £7.2 million investment in the Geneva-based International Trade Centre. The support will help collect and share data on how permits, regulations and bureaucracy can impact on trade in developing countries.
Two further projects with TradeMark East Africa will boost growth and job opportunities by cutting the cost and time it takes to move goods in and out of customs and building vital infrastructure across eastern Africa. The UK will invest £57.4 million to improve trading in Uganda and Kenya and modernise East Africa’s largest port in Mombasa. This could help boost exports in Uganda by £200 million and in Kenya by £530 million by 2016.
Ms Greening said: “We have not lost sight of one crucial fact. Ultimately trade is the most important driver of growth…Trade between nations creates jobs and prosperity. It drives down prices and increases choice….It is in all our interests, from the fisherman in Kenya to the financier in Kent, for the world’s poorest countries to reap the benefits of free and fair trade….This is good for poor countries and good for Britain as we are helping to create vibrant new markets for British businesses to invest in.”
In response to these announcements, Trade Out of Poverty Co-Chair Peter Lilley said: “It is fantastic to see trade as a tool for sustainable development and poverty reduction becoming a central part of the UK’s international development agenda. Trade Out of Poverty has been working hard to promote trade as a vital catalyst to lift the world’s poorest countries out of poverty and we are delighted to see the UK taking such positive steps in this area.”