International Development Secretary: “We need new ideas to future-proof against Africa’s biggest challenges”

22 Jan 2018 12:05 AM

Penny Mordaunt hails the incredible power of technology to deliver aid in new ways on her first official visit to Kenya.

Penny Mordaunt has hailed the “incredible power of technology to deliver aid in new ways” on her first official visit to Kenya as International Development Secretary.

During her visit, Ms Mordaunt saw how UK aid is supporting vulnerable communities in the north of the country devastated by East Africa’s drought. In Kenya’s capital Nairobi, Ms Mordaunt also heard how UK support for innovative programmes is helping to create jobs for a rising population.

Ms Mordaunt was also in the country to hear from British businesses about how new technology has helped them tap into the Kenyan market. The UK is the fifth largest exporter of goods to Kenya and trade between the two countries is worth over £1 billion annually.

Innovative technology, supported by DFID, is helping Kenya build resilience to climate challenges, including drought, and to build a modern economy for the future.

During her visit the International Development Secretary:

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:

I have seen how, in the face of East Africa’s devastating drought, UK aid works and is saving lives.

But 2018 will bring more desperate weather conditions to the region. This is a stark reminder that we need to back new ideas to future-proof against the biggest challenges in Africa.

Here in Kenya technology is delivering UK aid in new ways, from innovative cash transfers using biometrics, through to trade technologies that support economic growth, jobs and investment.

It is in all our interests that we harness the best of British innovation with African entrepreneurialism – to create jobs, defeat poverty, and support our future trading partners, as we work towards a shared prosperous future.

While in Kenya Ms Mordaunt also visited a UNICEF supported clinic and pledged further DFID support from the crisis reserve to provide urgent cash transfer assistance to 71,000 families in Northern Kenya with severely malnourished children and pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Ms Mordaunt’s visit to Kenya comes ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, taking place in London in April this year. The summit will bring together heads of government to discuss reforming and revitalising the Commonwealth, and establishing it as a modern organisation that is responsive to the global challenges we face today and in the future.

Notes to editors:

Trade Mark East Africa II

The UK is making major improvements to trade infrastructure through the next phase of the Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) programme.

In East Africa, trade is constrained by the high cost of importing and exporting. High costs are caused by poor transport infrastructure, limited expertise in public and private sectors, and the persistence of non-tariff barriers along the main trade routes.

During Phase 1 of TMEA:

The UK is significantly scaling up its support to trade and regional integration across East Africa, now providing a total of £211 million to the second phase of TMEA. This will increase sustainable and shared prosperity in East Africa and specifically:

Hunger Safety Net Programme

Between 2007-2017 the UK committed £143 million to the Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP) to:

Every two months approximately £40 is transferred to recipients’ bank accounts. Per household, only one member can be registered as a HSNP recipient. Recipients, who have already been pre-assessed as vulnerable and qualifying for payments, go to their local payment agent to collect their payment. Payment agents scan the finger prints of recipients before payments can be withdrawn from their account, to ensure the right people are reached, and to protect against fraudulent collection of support, so that every penny of UK aid goes towards the vulnerable people that need help the most.

The announcement yesterday was a one year £19.8 million extension (April 2018-March 2019) to the current phase.

The HSNP is co-financed by the Government of Kenya and implemented under by the National Drought Management Authority.

£10 million crisis reserve funding

This assistance is delivered by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) over a three-month period (Dec 2017 – Feb 2018) to about 71,000 families (425,000 individuals).

The intervention is intended to improve the nutrition status of malnourished children and pregnant and breastfeeding women by:

Sustainable Urban Economic Development partnership programme

This £60 million programme will run until 2022, supporting up to ten rapidly urbanising towns in Kenya with urban economic planning, investment climate reforms and attracting private sector investment.

The UK has also invested £8 million through the World Bank to assist the Government of Kenya in the development of more Special Economic Zones, private-public partnerships and select counties on doing business reforms.

This programme will also support urban planning in response to the new Government of Kenya’s focus on improving access to affordable housing.

General media queries


Telephone 020 7023 0600

Follow the DFID Media office on Twitter - @DFID_Press