What does today’s UK-Africa Investment Summit mean for Africa?

By Maureen Maingi

Today at the UK-Africa Investment Summit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson presented the UK to Africa as the ‘investment partner of choice.’ We find out more.

Today was the inaugural UK-Africa Investment Summit. The event, which took place in London and welcomed 16 African leaders, sought to present the UK as an investment partner of choice to the nation and its leaders. 

The UK’s commitment to renewable energy is a large aspect of the appeal of building upon business relations between the two nations is the UK’s advancements in renewable energy. The UK was the first major economy to set a legally binding target to reach zero emissions by 2050. In addition to this, it went a record 83 days without using coal in 2019. From building upon these relations, African businesses can harness British technology in order to further its own renewable energy initiatives, and the UK can open new markets in a post-Brexit landscape. 
 

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Those in attendance included: President Sisi of Egypt, President Kenyatta of Kenya, President Buhari of Nigeria, President Akufo-Addo of Ghana and President Kagame of Rwanda, and African business leaders including CEO of Standard Bank Gert Vogel and CEO of Investec Hendrik Du Toit.

Prominent business executives from the UK were also in attendance, including: CEO of Vodafone Nick Read, CEO of BP Bernard Looney, CEO of Standard Life Aberdeen Keith Skeoch, CEO G4S Ashley Martin Almanza, CEO of Associated British Foods George Weston, and CEO of the London Stock Exchange Group David Schwimmer.

The event had already seen a number of new partnerships emerge, including a partnership between Africa’s leading data provider, Asoko Insight and UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT), to create a digital DealRoom at the summit, which would facilitate UK investments in Africa. 

Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Africa at the Department for International Trade, Emma Wade-Smith OBE, said: “The UK-Africa Investment Summit will showcase the UK’s unique offer to Africa and the breadth of exciting investment opportunities that exist across the African continent. We want the UK to have the biggest positive impact of any foreign investor, in terms of creating and sustaining quality jobs, and supporting inclusive growth and sustainability.

“The launch of the digital DealRoom platform at the Summit will bring together bankable projects in Africa and the UK investment sector which would not otherwise have the opportunity to connect with each other. Our partnership with Asoko Insight marries the UK’s world-class financial services sector together with tangible African growth opportunities, which will serve as an excellent legacy resource post the Summit.”

Asoko’s co-founder and CEO, Rob Withagen, said of the upcoming DealRoom: “Sourcing deal flow in Africa is a challenge, despite the pressing need by private sector companies, especially in the mid-cap space. We’re pleased to be able to help UK investors cut the time and resources they spend searching for prospective deals and speed the pipeline of investment that is at the heart of the Summit and the UK’s ambitions for its relationship with Africa.”

 

For more information on business topics in the Middle East and Africa, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief MEA.

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