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UK spent £300m on security, stability in Africa in 2023 – Minister

T kohe UK Government said it spent more than 300 million pound sterling delivering programmes and peacekeeping in Africa in 2023 to strengthen security and ensure stability.

The UK Minister of State, Cabinet Office, Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe, disclosed this in Abuja on Friday during her visit to Nigeria aimed at cementing UK-Nigeria partnership and demonstrating the UK’s commitment to the region’s security.

This is contained in a statement by Atinuke Akande-Alegbe, Senior Communications and Public Diplomacy Officer, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, British High Commission.

According to the statement, the funding is from the UK Government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF).

It added that it benefited the people in Africa and the UK.

The statement also quoted the minister as saying that the visit was to enable her to see. first-hand. the impact of the funding in Nigeria and how the two countries were tackling shared security challenges in West Africa, particularly the threat posed by cyber-attacks.

“The United Kingdom and Nigeria are firm security and economic partners. I am proud that, through the CSSF, the UK has been able to play such a valuable role in bolstering Nigeria’s security.

“Investment in Nigeria and the broader region has been instrumental in tackling some important challenges, from drug smuggling to cybercrime and human displacement.

“These challenges are transnational, so by supporting our partners in Nigeria and West Africa we are also helping to safeguard people in the UK.

“Closer collaboration is vital in ensuring we can respond to threats and to promote a free, open, peaceful and secure cyberspace, which is why the UK and Nigeria recently committed to working more closely together to tackle cybercrime,” the minister was quoted as saying in the statement.

Neville-Rolfe further noted that as the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria’s stability and security were vital to the security of the wider region and the UK.

She added that the UK was looking forward to strengthening the existing partnership between the two parties in order for them to continue to work together on shared challenges in the years ahead.

Also speaking, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr Richard Montgomery, said he was delighted that the UK/Nigeria partnership had continued to grow stronger, including on important issues of security and stability.

The UK envoy said that the UK would remain a committed friend, working with the Nigerian Government to respond effectively to domestic and regional security challenges.

“The UK’s Conflict, Security, and Stability Fund offers practical assistance that is making a real difference in Nigeria, from tackling human traffickers to supporting the resettlement of people fleeing violent groups in the northeast of the country. The UK is proud to stand with Nigeria as a close partner in these endeavours.

“We look forward to developing our partnership further, working together to tackle mutual challenges including cyber threats, serious organised crime, and violent extremism,” Montgomery said.

The minister’s visit comes days after the UK-Nigeria Security and Defence Partnership talks, where the two countries reached agreements on cybersecurity, defence cooperation, counter-terrorism, human rights and civil-military cooperation.

As part of the investment, more than £15 million is said to have been spent on strengthening Nigeria’s security, which, as a result of the UK’s direct support, benefitted Nigerian and British nationals by detecting and seizing more than 3 tonnes of illegal drugs.

In North-Eastern Nigeria, the UK’s funding is also said to have helped more than 500 people fleeing violent groups to re-settle into communities, in addition to supporting vocational training, religious counselling, psycho-social support, drug counselling and numeracy and literacy lessons.

The UK and Nigeria’s cooperation on regional threats to stability also includes the contribution from the UK to UN efforts to stabilise communities in the Lake Chad Basin after over a decade of violence by extremist groups.

No fewer than 11 million people across Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger are said to have been affected by the conflict, hence bolstering Nigeria’s and other West African countries’ resilience to cybercrime is a central aim of the UK’s spending in the region.

The statement further said that in 2023, the UK also funded the Africa Joint Operations Against Cybercrime and strengthened the capability of African law enforcement agencies to fight cybercrime.

The funding, it explained, enabled the 25-country Africa Cyber Surge II Operation, resulting in the arrest of 14 suspected cybercriminals and identified 20,674 suspicious cyber networks, linked to financial losses of more than $40 million.

“The UK is also supporting capacity building for Nigerian judges and prosecutors across Nigerian states to support investigations involving digital evidence and to successfully prosecute and deter cyber offences.

“During the recent UK-Nigeria Security and Defence Partnership talks, the UK Deputy National Security Advisor and the Nigerian National Security Advisor signed a memorandum of understanding on cyber cooperation that commits the two nations to closer working to tackle mutual cyber threats.

“Further support from the UK this year will integrate overseas and UK security and further tackle transnational challenges, such as smuggling, illicit finances and large-scale migration,” the statement said.

The support will strengthen the UK’s ability to export world-leading expertise to international partners, such as Nigeria and other West African countries, it adde


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