Saturday, June 25, 2011

Britain pledges to scale up aid to Nigeria

24 June 2011

ABUJABritain on Friday said it plans to scale up aid to Africa's oil-rich and most populous nation which recently held landmark free and fair elections.

Britain's International Development Minister Andrew Mitchell made the announcement after talks with newly-elected President Goodluck Jonathan in the capital Abuja.

"I am pleased to announce a deepening of the UK's commitment to development in Nigeria," said Mitchell.

He said Jonathan, who was in office for 10 months before he won a full four-year term in April elections, has "helped drive reform and made progress in improving power, Nigeria's biggest barrier to creating jobs and reducing poverty."

Britain plans, over the next four years, to focus its attention on helping "Nigeria to use its oil revenues more effectively and more transparently, to improve the lives of its citizens," said a British high commission statement.

It will also assist the energy-starved nation to double its power supply, "which is currently the biggest barrier to economic growth" and work more than half a million people out of poverty."

Nigeria is Africa's top oil exporter, but most of its people wallow in poverty while power outages are the norm.

Jonathan in response said: "Nigeria is pleased at the commitment to improve relations, especially economic and trade relations."

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