By Bukar Bolori
The UK’s Minister for Africa, Latin America & Caribbean, Vicky Ford, will be visiting Nigeria for the first time this week with a promise to announce millions of pounds of new UK investments in the country.
Her visit follows the UK-Nigeria Security and Defence Partnership Dialogue in London earlier this month, at which the UK and Nigeria agreed to strengthen cooperation in a range of areas including military cooperation, counter terrorism, civilian policing, protecting human rights and recognising the important role of women in achieving sustainable peace.
According to a statement on Sunday from British High Commission in Abuja, the visit will take forward ongoing efforts by both countries to build on the UK Nigeria partnership and strengthen strong security, anti-corruption and economic ties.
While in Nigeria, Minister Vicky Ford, will have meetings with the Federal Government of Nigeria, State Governors as well as faith leaders, civil society and business leaders.
The statement read that: “The Minister looks forward to announcing millions of pounds of new UK investments including in support of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises. The Minister will sign an MoU related to anti-corruption, which will further strengthen the UK-Nigeria partnership in this area.
“Through meetings with civil society, government, the media and political leaders, Minister Ford will explore a range of topics from electoral reform, to climate change following COP26 and human rights. The minister will also promote efforts to educate girls, empower women and end gender based violence and address humanitarian needs in North-East Nigeria.”
Ahead of her visit Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean), Vicky Ford MP said: “I am looking forward to being in Nigeria for the first time. Nigeria is a valued friend and partner of the UK; a country with whom we want to forge still closer ties, including on trade, development, economic, environmental and security issues.”
Vicky Ford was appointed Minister for Africa at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office in September 2021 and became the Minister for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean in December 2021.
Previously she was the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families at the Department for Education from February 2020 to September 2021. She was first elected as the Conservative MP for Chelmsford in 2017.