Britain is stepping up its effort for more investment and trade opportunities in Africa as the country hopes to go global after leaving the European Union (EU) on Jan. 31.
Hosting the first ever UK-Africa Investment Summit here Monday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson lavished praise for Africa’s huge potentials and the expertise Britain can offer.
“Africa is the future and the UK has a huge and active role to play in that future,” Johnson said at the summit, stressing Britain wants to be Africa’s investment partner.
He said Britain’s expertise and innovation in technology, clean growth, infrastructure and finance can help offer clean alternatives to African countries that are on the front-line of fighting climate change and their transition from fossil fuels.
The summit marked a renewed effort for Johnson’s government to reassess its position for opportunities in Africa after Brexit.
According to Alok Sharma, Britain’s international development secretary, with 60 percent population aged below 25, Africa houses eight of the 15 world’s fastest growing economies. By 2050 a quarter of the world’s consumers will be African.
Between 2014 and 2018, Britain’s direct investment into Africa was 17 billion U.S. dollars, well below the amount of China, France, the United States and the United Arab Emirates, former British prime minister Tony Blair wrote on British newspaper The Guardian ahead of the summit.
“This needs to change. Africa provides a huge opportunity for the UK to maintain its global economic standing,” Blair said.
According to Britain’s former international trade secretary Liam Fox, between now and 2050, Africa on its own will represent 54 percent of world population increase and it is predicted that there will be 1.1 billion middle class Africans by 2060.
During the summit, British and African firms announced 6.5-billion-pound (8.45-billion dollar) worth of commercial deals, spanning a variety of sectors including infrastructure, energy, retail and technology.
Official data shows that Britain has signed trade agreements with 11 African countries, with seven more in the pipeline. Enditem