Press release

UK to boost jobs and trade for world’s poorest countries

Investment in economic development will help developing nations speed up their rate of economic growth, trade more and industrialise faster, and ultimately lift themselves out of poverty.

The UK will sharpen its focus on economic development in the world’s poorest countries to help create economic growth that will sustain rapidly growing populations, provide a long term solution to poverty and deal with the root causes of problems that affect Britain, International Development Secretary Priti Patel announced today.

Over the next decade a billion more young people will enter the job market, mainly in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Africa’s population is set to double by 2050. This demographic challenge will add to the pressure of protracted crises and mass migration.

DFID’s first Economic Development Strategy sets out how investment in economic development will help developing nations speed up their rate of economic growth, trade more and industrialise faster, and ultimately lift themselves out of poverty.

By helping the world’s poorest countries grow their economies, this investment will help create the UK’s trading partners of the future, boost global prosperity and address some of the root causes of global issues such as mass migration and instability that affect the UK.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel said:

There is no task more urgent than defeating poverty. The UK has a proud record of supporting people in desperate humanitarian crises, but emergency help alone won’t tackle the global changes we face.

With dramatic increases in population across Africa and Asia, developing nations must act fast to create jobs and investment, which is why Global Britain is leading a more open, more modern approach to development through our economic development to help the world’s poorest countries stand on their own two feet.

Over the next decade a billion more young people will enter the job market. Africa’s population is set to double by 2050 and as many as 18 million extra jobs will be needed. Failure will consign a generation to a future where jobs and opportunity are out of reach, potentially fuelling instability and mass migration with direct consequences for Britain.

Developing countries want to harness trade, growth and investment opportunities, and Britain will lead the way to lift huge numbers out of grinding poverty to prosperity.

Listen to DFID’s Chief Economist Stefan Dercon explaining the strategy:

Listen to DFID’s Chief Economist Stefan Dercon explaining the strategy

The department will work across government to increase the number and quality of jobs in poor countries, enable businesses to grow and prosper, and also support better infrastructure, technology and a skilled and healthy workforce.

Today’s announcement builds on the UK’s existing work to drive economic development, which has helped almost 70 million people access financial services, over 6 million people improve their land and property rights, and improved access to clean energy for over 6 million people.

Through the new Economic Development Strategy DFID will:

  • build the potential for developing countries to trade more with the UK and the world
  • create economic opportunities in fragile and conflict states where jobs and livelihoods are desperately needed
  • build partnerships with business - including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) - to make it easier for companies, including those in the UK, to invest in markets of the future
  • work closely with the City of London so it becomes the leading financial centre for the developing world
  • focus investment in job-creating sectors such as manufacturing, infrastructure and commercial agriculture to provide strong foundations for sustainable growth
  • use the UK’s voice in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to argue for better and fairer trading rules
  • strengthen institutions, tackle corruption and help countries mobilise their own domestic resources to support their development
  • continue to champion innovative private finance investment to stimulate growth. CDC will be at the heart of this.

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