Brexit won’t affect Ethio-UK ties: DFID

Addis Ababa, April 13, 2017 (FBC) - United Kingdom’s exit from European Union (Brexit) will not hamper any of the bilateral ties with Ethiopia, Department for International Development (DFID) Africa Minister said.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, Department for International Development (DFID) Africa Minister James Wharton said Brexit will instead create opportunity to further deepen their relationship.

The minister, who pointed out that Ethiopia and UK have long rooted and historical ties, added that “sometimes we have looked to manage that relationship through the lens of the European Union; the reality is UK has not always been free to do what we might like to have done in our bilateral and multilateral relationships because of our membership of the EU.”

“We want to use our leaving the European Union Brexit as an opportunity to re-engage, to reinvigorate and strengthen the existing ties with our friends and partner. Ethiopia is a key friend and partner in this region and in the world”.

He also stated that this will not just be a chance to reinforce the arrangements that exist already, it will actually be an opportunity to drive more trade, more cooperation, and for the UK and Ethiopia to mutually benefit.

According to Wharton, with the world economy changing the growth in the world is much broadly spread than just in the European nation. “And I think there is a really significant opportunity for deeper and more meaningful productive cooperation between Ethiopia and UK,” he stressed.

The UK recognizes that Ethiopia will become a real economic power house in the region, the minister added.

Speaking about his recent visit to some parts of the country where DFID-UK is engaged, he said materials provided to schools are making a difference in relatively short period of time.

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“We support not just education through formal school rooms. In these programs we have already funded in areas we want to help people get the skills that they need to move into the growing areas of industry in Ethiopia as well.”

Noting that education is very important and a foundational skill for an economic growth, Wharton said “we want to play a role in helping Ethiopia to equip people with skills they need for the growing and changing economy.”

Expressing Ethiopia’s role in peace and security, he said, “Ethiopia has a very significant role in the region to ensure stability and promote peace.”

It also makes a significant contribution to peace-keeping forces in its neighbors while it has a leading role with many nations looking to Ethiopia for guidance and support.

Lauding the response to the current drought the minister said: “The government of Ethiopia has a strong track record of its response in previous years where it’s committed significant promises to support those in need and this is laudable and commendable and recognized by the international community.”

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He also stated that his country, with its partners, is ready to do its part in drought intervention.

Source: ENA

Posted by Amare Asrat