Africa in focus at Abbey lecture - The Evesham Observer

Africa in focus at Abbey lecture

Evesham Editorial 15th Jun, 2018   0

WEST WORCESTERSHIRE MP Harriett Baldwin jetted in directly from Africa to deliver the annual lecture for the Friends of Pershore Abbey.

Mrs Baldwin travelled from Sierra Leone to Pershore last Friday to speak to more than 100 local people on the importance of helping Africa though international aid and trade support.

As well as being local MP, she is also a Minister of State in the Foreign Office and the Department for International Development with responsibility for Africa.

During her specch, Mrs Baldwin spoke about the importance of supporting countries to embrace democracy as well as ensuring international aid is directed in the right way.

“I was honoured to be asked to deliver the annual Friends of Pershore Abbey lecture and to talk about my role as Minister for Africa,” she said.

“I have always said how proud I am that we, as a Government and as a country, have made the commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of our national budget on international aid and now I have the task of ensuring this money could not be spent better.

“As part of my ministerial responsibilities I have already met with many African leaders and visited several countries to see some of the challenges the continent faces and how the UK is working in partnership with those countries to help them become more prosperous and less dependent on aid.

“From providing emergency humanitarian relief when famine or disaster strikes to empowering the next generation of girls and women with a quality education, UK taxpayers should be proud of the life-saving and life-changing work that they are supporting through UK aid.

“The UK is also tackling global health challenges which could threaten our shores including polio and malaria as well as helping to control the recent outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“We also help countries embrace democracy and in my travels I have already seen some great examples of Governments like Sierra Leone which are holding peaceful and democratic elections.

“There were some interesting questions from audience members and I hope that Pershore people gained an extra insight into the work our Government carries out across the African continent.”

Michael Hodges, executive meeting chairman of the Friends of Pershore Abbey thanked the MP for sharing her non-partisan insights into the challenges facing the 54 countries that go to make up the continent of Africa.

“In the tradition of these events, Harriett has informed and educated us whilst at the same time enabling us to raise funds for the upkeep of the Abbey,” he added.

“It is typical of Harriett that she would have wished to have spoken at our event despite having travelled thousands of miles to be with us that same day”.


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