UK Continues Push to Spur Private Sector Development in Africa, Asia

U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell speaks with one of the beneficiaries of a U.K.-funded food security project in Uganda. Photo by: DfID / CC BY

In line with the U.K. government’s push to boost private sector development in partner countries, U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell has announced support for three challenge funds that aim to spur innovation and private enterprise in Africa and Asia.

Through the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund, the United Kingdom aims to support new competitions over the next seven years targeting agriculture and low-cost energy development in several African countries, including South Sudan.

Mitchell said the United Kingdom will also increase its contributions to the Food Retail Industry Challenge Fund by 5 million pounds ($7.9 million), bringing total contributions to 7.4 million pounds. The fund helps U.K. companies bring African food products to the U.K. market.

The Department for International Development is also set to increase its contributions to the Business Innovation Facility by 2.5 million pounds. This facility helps companies change their business models in a way that spur job creation and boost the income of poor men and women. It currently operates in five pilot countries, namely Malawi, Zambia, Nigeria, India and Bangladesh.

The U.K. government announced in June that it seeks to increase the role of the private sector in its aid program. It has since implemented a package of reforms, including an overhaul of the Commonwealth Development Corp.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.