Foreign Secretary sets out UK’s unique offer to East African nations on visit to region

6 mins read

Published 23 January 2021

Visiting Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia the Foreign Secretary signed new agreements on healthcare and climate change, saw how UK aid is helping those most in need and pressed for humanitarian access to help those affected by the Tigray crisis.

On a three-country tour of East Africa, one year on from the UK’s Africa Investment Summit, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab met with political leaders, NGO’s and civil society in Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia for important talks on tackling shared challenges including COVID-19, security and climate change.

Starting in Kenya on Wednesday (20 January) the Foreign Secretary and President Uhuru Kenyatta met to discuss further opportunities to boost the UK-Kenya trade partnership – worth £1.4 billion annually – following the signing of one of the UK’s first trade agreements in Africa in December.

The Foreign Secretary had meetings with senior politicians including Foreign Minister Raychelle Omamo and announced £48 million of new UK climate initiatives for Kenya as we build momentum ahead of COP26 in Glasgow in November.

On a visit to KEMRI Laboratory in Nairobi the Foreign Secretary heard how Kenyan and British scientists have been working together to develop the Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccine. Here he signed a new health partnership with Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe, to help maximise knowledge sharing between medical professionals in both the UK and Kenya.


Alongside Defence Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma, the Foreign Secretary met soldiers at the UK-backed Counter-IED centre at the Humanitarian Peace Support School in Embakasi, and heard how joint Kenya-UK efforts are countering terrorism.

On Thursday (21 January) Mr Raab travelled to Sudan – the first visit to the country by a British Foreign Secretary in over a decade. He met Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Foreign Minister Omer Gamereldin as well as the Chair of the Sovereign Council, Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to express the UK’s commitment to Sudan’s democratic transition and confirm the contribution of £40 million of UK funding to the Sudan Family Support Programme – helping Sudanese communities while critical economic reforms are implemented.

The Foreign Secretary also highlighted that, as part of a coordinated international package, the UK stands ready to provide a £330m bridging loan to clear arrears to the African Development Bank if Sudan stays on track with its economic reforms agreed with the IMF, and the Boards of the IMF and World Bank approve similar arrears clearance packages.

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Meeting some of the women and young people who played a pivotal role in the revolution, the Foreign Secretary heard how their actions in the protests helped bring about life-changing democratic reforms. In talks with key legal figures working to deliver transitional justice, the Foreign Secretary discussed the incredibly important work they are doing to secure justice for victims of abuses committed during the revolution and under the Omar al-Bashir regime.

At World Food Programme (WFP) sites in Sudan and Ethiopia, the Foreign Secretary saw first-hand the vital role that UK aid is playing in helping those most in need of humanitarian assistance. In Sudan he visited a WFP nutrition centre, where UK funding is providing life-saving food assistance to vulnerable communities, and spoke to families benefiting from this support.

In Gondar, Ethiopia, the Foreign Secretary visited a World Food Programme warehouse, central to distributing humanitarian aid such as food and sanitation supplies to those displaced by the crisis in Tigray. The UK is providing £11.4 million of humanitarian support – with money for healthcare and clean water, as well as shelter, nutrition kits and protection for children. This is in addition to a £94 million package to support Ethiopia’s response to the triple threats of COVID-19, climate change and locusts, which are having a devastating impact on the country.

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Arriving back in Addis Ababa the Foreign Secretary visited a school with President Sahle-Work Zewde to see how the UK is supporting girl’s education and spoke to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali about humanitarian access and a solution to the Tigray crisis, as well as climate change and prosperity. Mr Raab also signed a climate partnership agreement with Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen Hassen for collaboration between the UK and Ethiopia ahead of COP26.

Speaking at the end of his visit, Mr Raab said:

This trip has been an invaluable opportunity to strengthen key partnerships in East Africa, boosting trade, security and our ability to tackle global challenges including Covid-19 and climate change.

We are committed to bringing the best of British expertise to the region, defusing tensions, doing business with integrity and forging strong partnerships on health, climate and other global challenges.


  1. I personally don’t know if the late journalist of AWRAMBA TIMES, THE 40 YEARS OLD MAN , Dawit Kebede was part of the TPLF when he died recently or not, I do not even know what led to his death , it is difficult for me to know the truth about his involvement in the conflict at the time of his death specially since he was arrested and released in December of 2020 by the Federal police in Addis Ababa..

    Journalist Dawit Kebede’s life is remembered as full of relocations , exiles and imprisonments without peace,in a sense similar to journalist Eskinder Nega’s . May he RIP now.

    Since phone and internet services are restored in Tigray now details of the happenings in Tigray are beng video recorded and released for everyone to see, enabling soldiers on the ground to show the truth about what takes place on the ground, the internet and telephone access had gave them the much needed leverage to defeat the cyber warfare. Until recently since there was no internet or phone communication with Tigray, TPLF had been winning the cyber warfare greatly for the past few months ever since the attack on the Northern Command base was launched. But now with internet and phone services restored it seems like the TPLF propagandists are starting to loose the cyber warfare and the other side is begining to win the cyber warfare in a rapid pace. More cyber warfare soldiers are definitely needed for the whole truth to win.

    Now is a good time for Ethiopians to stand aside the truth by sharing the video evidences with everyone, so the truth shall prevail .
    Whether we are professional Journalists or not , as Ethiopians it is our responsibility to help the whole world take a look at the truth and make their own opinions about what is happening on the ground , let’s end the the anxiety the friends of Ethiopia are suffering by allowing for not one sided as it had been so far but all the versions of the truth from both sides need to surface to light for the whole world got the needed input to make a well balanced opinion .

  2. Mister Ittu farda ,It is good that you are admitting teh war crime because US, your masters , and EU told you . However, you ittu farda fara making curfew as a lame excuse. Idiot puppy. Stop brainwashing . They are killing civilans house to house. They are creating new story never heard of it before-TPLF raped Eritrean women during 1998-2000 war which is false. all of you were supporting the then war in 1998.Many from Amhara, Oromo and other ethnics flew to Tigray to fight with ERItreans. Amhara soldeirs raped and killed Eritreans during Derge regime, but no eritrean speaks about this except a fabricated story to tarnish TPLF.

    Stop committing crime against tigrainas whom you call patriotic ethiopians .

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