DFID Minister James Wharton visits Kenya on first African trip

James Wharton in Kenya
James Wharton MP meets with beneficiaries of UK funded HSNP providing alternative means of livelihood. Photo: Twitter/UKinKenya

The UK’s new Minister for the Department for International Development (DFID), James Wharton, is currently in Kenya on his first visit to Africa since he was appointed on Saturday 16 July by new UK Prime Minister, Theresa May.

In his capacity as the minister responsible for overseeing development aid in Africa, Mr Wharton is holding meetings with representatives from national and county government to discuss areas of mutual interest for the UK and Kenya relationship including trade, investment and how Kenya can create the conditions for increased private sector investments in tackling poverty.

Yesterday (10 August), he met with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed to discuss the UK/Kenya partnership to create jobs and inclusive growth.

He also met with the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Amina Mohamed, accompanied by Deputy High Commissioner John Murton, and the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury, Henry Rotich.

Today (11 August) he has been visiting UK aid funded projects in Marsabit, where the UK is helping some of the Northern Kenya’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

He met with people benefiting from the Hunger Safety Net Programme and Arid Support Programme (HSNP) and discussed the progress and impact of the programmes, which has already helped 1.5 million people.

Among the initiatives discussed were the electronic cash transfer programmes. Through this system, cash is delivered though bank accounts and each beneficiary has a card that can be used to withdraw money.

HSNP is reaching up to 600,000 people across Turkana, Marsabit, Wajir and Mandera counties.

During his visit, he will also visit the Olkaria Geothermal Power plant to witness how UK aid is contributing to improved energy access for the people of Kenya by providing technical support on policy and strategy in developing geothermal power.

Ahead of his visit Mr Wharton said: “I am looking forward to visiting Kenya and seeing first-hand the positive impact of the UK’s support through its aid programme and the strong partnerships we’ve built over the years. Kenya remains a key bilateral partner for an outward looking and globally engaged UK and will continue to engage in matters of international cooperation and development.

“Tackling poverty, boosting economic growth and improving security and stability in Kenya is building a safer and more prosperous world which is in both Kenya and the UK’s national interest.”

The UK is one of the largest bilateral donors delivering aid to help the poorest Kenyans, improve health and education, tackle conflict and create jobs. The UK works closely with the Kenyan government through joint donor-government Sector Working Groups to ensure alignment with Kenya’s priorities.

In the last five years UK support has:

  • enabled 550,000 children to access primary education
  • provided 450,000 women with family planning services
  • helped 1.1 million people cope with the effects of climate change
  • improved access to clean energy for 476,000 people
  • distributed over 11.2 million bed nets to prevent malaria.

Mr Wharton is the second British Minister to visit Kenya this month, following Tobias Ellwood who was in the country earlier this month.