British aid budget to boost trade in Africa- PM Theresa May

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Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is greeted by school children waving flags during a visit to the ID Mkhize Secondary School in Gugulethu near Cape Town, South Africa, August 28, 2018. Rodger Bosh/Pool via REUTERS

Britain will use its international aid budget to boost its national interest and deepen trade ties with Africa, Prime Minister Theresa May told South African media.

The PM will also visit Nigeria and Kenya as part of a three-day visit to Africa alongside a group of business delegates.

Children wait for the visit of Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May ahead of her visit to the ID Mkhize Secondary School in Gugulethu, South Africa, August 28, 2018. Rodger Bosch/Pool via REUTERS

She recommited to maintaining the overall British aid budget at 0.7 percent of economic output but added that she will be “unashamed” to use it in a way that helps Britain.

The target has previously come under fire from many of May’s own lawmakers who say it is a blunt tool that is too high and should be spent elsewhere or in Britain itself.

May says she wants Britain to become the biggest investor in Africa out of the countries in the Group of Seven nations, overtaking the United States, by using the aid budget to help British private sector companies invest on the continent.

“I am unashamed about the need to ensure that our aid programme works for the UK,” May said in her speech.

“Today I am committing that our development spending will not only combat extreme poverty, but at the same time tackle global challenges and support our own national interest. This will ensure that our investment in aid benefits us all, and is fully aligned with our wider national security priorities.”

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