Tuesday, 21 January 2020

London: African leaders at the UK-Africa Investment Summit have urged UK businesses to explore the vast investment opportunities that exist on the continent.

The leaders made the appeal during the summit’s opening ceremony on Monday.

The summit is attended by dignitaries and delegates from 16 African countries.

In a statement, the African Development Bank (AfDB) said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the case for bigger investments in Africa and called for increased and renewed partnership between the UK and Africa.

Referring to Africa as a booming continent with “staggering levels of growth”, Prime Minister Johnson said: “Look around the world today and you will swiftly see that the UK is not only the obvious partner of choice, we’re also very much the partner of today, tomorrow and decades to come.”

The UK-Africa Investment Summit, the first of its kind hosted by the UK Government, was attended by the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, the International Development Secretary, Alok Sharma, and Prince Harry.

The Presidents of Ghana, Nana Akufo Addo; Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta and Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Cheikh el Ghazouani were also in attendance.

African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina announced a new $80 million AfDB-Department for International Development (DFID) infrastructure financing partnership.

“The issue of risk in Africa is exaggerated. The risk of loss is lower than Latin America. Yet, funds are not being channelled into Africa. There are $8 trillion of assets under management in London, but only 1% is invested in Africa,” said Adesina.

He urged investors to look to Africa and recalled the achievements of the Africa Investment Forum — a game-changing initiative led by the African Development Bank and key partners to accelerate investment in the continent.

The unique multi-sector platform is designed to advance bankable deals to financial closure. At the 2019 Forum, which took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, deals valued at $40.1 billion secured investment interest.

In his concluding remarks, the UK’s Sharma expressed confidence in Africa, saying the continent “has a fabulous future”.

Sharma announced five partnerships to mobilise private sector investment in quality infrastructure on the continent.

“The City of London can play a role in mobilising resources for Africa,” Sharma said.

Major move to counter climate change

Prime Minister Johnson made a major announcement on the UK’s policy on climate change.

“From today, the British government will no longer provide any new direct development assistance for thermal coal mining or coal power plants overseas,” Johnson said.

The declaration aligns with the African Development Bank’s green agenda aimed at increasing investment in renewable energy.

Adesina announced last year at the UN General Assembly that the AfDB was moving away from investing in coal. – SAnews.gov.za