British Trade Minister George Hollingbery said on Wednesday that Prime Minister Theresa May will use her on-going visit to Africa to set the stage for an Africa Investment Summit to be held in the UK next year. Hollingbery stated this in Cape Town, South Africa, where the prime minister began a three-day visit to Africa on Tuesday. May will visit Nigeria today and proceed to Kenya tomorrow to conclude her first visit to the continent in five years as prime minister.
Hollingbery said the summit will bring together UK and African governments, alongside major international investors to raise awareness on opportunities on the continent and ensure progress towards UK’s ambition of becoming the largest G7 investor in Africa by 2022. The Prime Minister had announced the ambition on Tuesday in South Africa as part of her visit to promote economic ties between Britain and Africa ahead of Britain’s exit from the European Union in March next year.
The ambition was announced together with a range of measures to boost trade between the UK and Africa and encourage UK investment in the region, including the creation of a new Africa Investors Board.
Considering its historical ties with Africa, May’s government believes the UK is not where it ought to be in terms of economic involvement on the continent, particularly, in relation to fellow G7 members – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States.
But the British government has during the prime minister’s visit committed to working more closely with African countries and increasing in its presence across the continent – bringing in trade experts, investment specialists, health and family planning policymakers and cutting-edge climate researchers so both parties can work together to deliver on shared interests and find solutions to the world’s biggest challenges.
Hollingbery, who is leading a huge business delegation as part of the prime minister’s visit, said, “The British business delegation here in Africa is telling me first-hand that there is a massive appetite from our companies to invest in Africa.
“The opportunities for the UK in Africa, with its young and dynamic population – set to make up a quarter of the world’s consumers by 2050 – a re clear.
“The UK wants to deepen and strengthen our partnerships with countries across Africa to ensure that our mutually-beneficial relations continue to go from strength to strength.”
The UK Department for International Trade stated, “British investors are already amongst Africa’s most prolific. They are known and respected for the quality of their investments, the innovation they bring and their strong commitment to their local workforces.
“This week’s visit will ensure trade between the UK and African nations, which already worth more than £31 billion, continues to grow.”