The Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Demeke Mekonnen leads Ethiopian delegation to UK to attend UK-Africa investment summit opened in London today.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson host the inaugural UK-Africa Investment Summit in London. The Summit will bring together UK and African business representatives, African leaders and delegations from 21 countries, international institutions and young entrepreneurs. 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, of tomorrow and decades to come,” he said in his opening address.
The organizers indicated that the Summit aims to create new lasting partnerships that will deliver more investment, jobs and growth to benefit people and businesses across Africa and the UK. In advance of the Summit, UK Government Ministers have been visiting major African economies to discuss how the UK’s unique blend of world-leading companies, financial institutions and development support can help boost growth across the continent and make the UK the largest G7 investor in Africa.
“Africa has eight of the 15 fastest growing economies in the world but currently receives less than 4% of foreign direct investment. There are fantastic opportunities for UK businesses to work alongside, invest in and partner with African nations. At the UK – Africa Investment Summit in London we will bring together UK and African businesses, African leaders, international institutions and young entrepreneurs to drive the investment Africa needs to flourish,” said Alok Sharma, International Development Secretary, who visited Ethiopia last August.
The Summit is being held at the heart of the City of London, home to the world’s major investors, regulators, innovators and multinational businesses and a global financial gateway for investment and expertise, according to the organizers. As well as the main event, the Summit is expected to offer businesses and entrepreneurs several side-events with a focus on clean energy, sustainable infrastructure and agribusiness.
Dr Alastair McPhail, UK Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union, said: “With this Summit, the UK is demonstrating our commitment to being the investment partner of choice for African nations, offering world-leading expertise. The UK wants to work alongside, invest in and partner with African nations for our mutual benefit.”
“I expect that with one of the fastest growing economies continent-wide, a rapidly developing manufacturing sector, and an ambitious homegrown economic reform programme underway, Ethiopia will be one of the countries of great interest to UK companies present at the Summit.”
By 2050, over two billion people will live in Africa and one in four global consumers will be African. Yet, currently, African countries receive less than 4% of foreign direct investment whilst around 20 million jobs must be created every year to keep pace with population growth.
Alongside the Summit, the UK’s Cities and Infrastructure for Growth programme in Africa is to receive an extra £15 million (540 million ETB) of funding for its expansion. The UK Department for International Development has previously announced Africa funding through the programme in Uganda, Zambia and Ethiopia. The programme also works in Asia.
Former UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced the UK’s aim to become the largest G7 investor in Africa by 2022 during a visit to South Africa in 2018.