The Future For Africa Is Trade Not Aid: Celebrating the UK-Africa Investment Summit

By Anna Johnson,​ Communications Director, Business Fights Poverty

The Prime Minister is hosting the UK-Africa Investment Summit (UK-AIS), which brings together businesses, governments and international institutions to showcase and promote the breadth and quality of investment opportunities across Africa. The ambition is to set the scene for thecreation of new lasting partnerships that will deliver more investment, jobs and growth.

What is the current landscape for trade and investment in Africa?

Africa has substantial economic potential. The IMF estimates that Africa is home to eight of the world’s 15 fastest growing economies. By 2050, over 2 billion people will live in Africa and one in four global consumers will be African. These thriving, young, innovative and rapidly growing populations provide great opportunities for UK and African businesses to trade and invest.

Currently, African countries receive less than 4% of global foreign direct investment. Therefore, the ambition is to encourage closer trading partnerships and channel more investment into African nations.

How can the UK become the investment partner of choice for African nations?

Utilising world-leading technology and innovation expertise, the UK is working with African countries to develop a path to economic growth that is clean and sustainable. The UK-AIS will bring together British and African businesses in a move to harness the huge potential of the continent and build the foundations for solid trade relationships. Having already signed trade agreements with 11 African countries, the UK has bold plans to make it easier for UK and African businesses to make the most of new and exciting trade and investment opportunities across Africa.

The Summit comes during the year of climate action. With African nations saying they want mutually beneficial partnerships that move beyond aid and attract quality investment to drive green, sustainable growth and create jobs, the UK has a unique opportunity to help build and shape the future of business in Africa.

The UK has much to offer ambitious African firms, with the City of London – home to the world’s major investors, regulators, innovators and multinational businesses – as the global financial gateway for investment and expertise.

UK businesses are already leading the way in investing in Africa. Diageo has a state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly brewery in Kenya, which is going to support tens of thousands of jobs. The Cambridge solar power company Azuri Technologies is a commercial provider of pay-as-you go solar energy systems to off-grid homes across Africa. Northamptonshire-based Blue Skies Fruit works with small agricultural producers to export fruit to the UK and elsewhere.

Follow the UK-AIS conversation across Twitter and Linkedin via #InvestinAfrica.

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