The British government is set to invest £100 million in Africa to stem the flow of migration from the continent into Europe. Part of the money will be spent on encouraging migrants to return to their home country.
The Prime Minister, Theresa May, was speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where the main topic of discussion was the global migrant crisis.
Some 65 million people are currently displaced across the world, equivalent to the population of the United Kingdom, May highlighted in her speech to the assembly.
“As the second largest bi-lateral provider of assistance, the UK remains fully committed to playing a leading role,” she told delegates.
Acknowledging that Somalia is one of a number of African countries facing a severe security crisis, a British official has confirmed that the government will spend £20 million from its international aid budget to encourage Somali refugees in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya to return home, the Guardian has reported.
“We will invest £16m in Somalia to help do things around food, education, shelter and sustainable livelihoods and then £4m to Kenya to help support the process of returning these people,” the official said.
In her speech, Mrs May explained that more would be done to tackle Islamic terrorism in Somalia.
“Britain has played a leading role in the fight against Al Shabaab in Somalia,” she said.
“It is vital that as an international community we […] continue to build the capacity of Somali security forces.
“That is why the UK is now going to increase further our security support and we will be calling on others to do the same, hosting an international conference on Somalia in 2017 to maintain this vital momentum.”
Mrs May later announced a further £80 million from the aid budget to help migrants, mostly Eritreans, stay in Ethiopia. The money has been earmarked for new industrial parks, creating 100,000 new jobs.
Addressing delegates, however, she acknowledged that all nations had the right to protect their borders: “In the last 5 years the UK has invested over $9 billion in humanitarian assistance, saving millions of lives every year.
“The London Syria Conference in February raised $12 billion in pledges, the largest amount ever raised in one day in response to a humanitarian crisis.
“And that money is being used to combine both urgent humanitarian assistance and vital economic development, benefitting both refugees and the communities and countries hosting them.
“But we must never forget that we stand here, at this United Nations, as servants of the men and women that we represent back at home.
“Countries have to be able to exercise control over their borders. The failure to do so erodes public confidence, fuels international crime, damages economies and reduces the resources for those who genuinely need protection and whose rights under the Refugee Convention should always be fulfilled.”