Harriett Baldwin, Minister for Africa at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development met senior ministers of the new Angolan government between 12-13 April, as well as representatives from business and civil society.
In meetings with the Foreign, Interior, and Economic and Social Development Ministers, Minister Baldwin heard about the government’s plans for economic and political reforms and discussed opportunities for UK-Angola economic and security cooperation. She also raised regional issues including the humanitarian crisis in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which she had just seen for herself on a visit to the DRC, and how the UK and Angola can work together to tackle the illegal wildlife trade.
Minister Baldwin said:
The UK is a natural partner for Angola in economic sectors like energy, infrastructure, and agriculture, and I look forward to working with the Angolan government as it implements reforms that will continue to improve the commercial environment, providing ever greater opportunities for both Angolan and UK businesses.
The Minister also attended an event in partnership with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and others to celebrate local initiatives to promote women’s empowerment and gender equality, including through improving access to education and employment. Among guests were Angolan female deminers from HALO as well as representatives of the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) programme, two British organisations. Visiting just after international Mine Awareness Day, the Minister stressed the importance of eradicating landmines from the country.
Minister Baldwin said:
The UK continues to support urgent, life-saving demining work in Angola. Not only is the UK expanding our global demining programme into Angola this year, but over Christmas, we also matched pound for pound incredibly generous UK public donations to provide over £400,000 support to MAG. This support alone will keep over 7,000 Angolan women, men, and children safe from the horrors of deadly landmines.
The Minister arrived in Angola following a visit to the DRC where she announced a further £22 million of lifesaving UK aid for hundreds of thousands of people in desperate need, and pushed for a political solution to help tackle some of the causes of the escalating humanitarian crisis in the country.