Ethiopia + 1 more

Clare Short to Ethiopia and Kenya: 19 - 21 Jan 2003

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CLARE SHORT TO SIGN 10 YEAR PARTNERSHIP WITH ETHIOPIA

On Monday 20 January UK International Development Secretary Clare Short is to meet Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles to agree a ten year partnership with the Government of Ethiopia.

Ms Short said "Ethiopia suffers from desperately high levels of poverty and will not be safe from repeated famine without sustainable economic development which requires economic health, improved education and healthcare"

Ms Short will be attending the Africa Big Table III conference in Addis Ababa. The meeting brings together African finance ministers and development ministers from Europe and the US. They will discuss the changes necessary to drive forward economic development and reduce poverty in Africa.

On 20 January Ms Short will meet James Morris, World Food Programme Executive Director. Ms Short recently provided an additional =A315 million for emergency needs in Ethiopia, bringing DFID humanitarian assistance to =A345 million (=A312.7m of which was provided through the EC).

FIRST UK MINISTER TO MEET NEW KENYAN PRESIDENT

UK International Development Secretary Clare Short is to visit Kenya on Tuesday 21st January where she will meet President Mwai Kibaki and other Ministers from Kenya's new Government. Ms Short will congratulate Kenya's people on their election.

Ms Short will offer UK support to implement the commitment made by the new government to increase economic growth and reduce poverty. She will also discuss UK bilateral assistance to Kenya and how the UK can help Kenya to achieve a resumption of lending from the International Financial Institutions.

Ms Short said: "Kenya has extremely high levels of poverty with over half of the population living below the poverty line. In addition AIDS is a human disaster and a major threat to development. The election result provided an important opportunity to achieve major reform in Kenya and the UK is keen to give its full support to the new Government in driving forward its policies on poverty reduction, including its commitment to provide free primary education for all."

The UK was the largest bilateral donor in both 2000 and 2001 (total DFID assistance to Kenya in 2000/01 was =A348 million, including drought relief and budget support). In 2000/02 the IMF programme was suspended and DFID withheld budget support. However, DFID continues to provide assistance of around =A330 million a year. Programmes include the provision of primary school text books, malaria prevention, the fight against HIV/AIDS and support for rural livelihoods.