January saw the UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020, held in London. It was heralded as a new era in relations between the UK and the continent as the UK leaves the European Union. It also reflects a new climate of optimism about Africa in general and the role it is likely to play in the global economy in the future.
Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, hosted 21 leaders from African countries, outlining his vision for the UK as a global trading nation, with a strong, mutually beneficial partnership with Africa. In total, 27 deals were signed with a total worth of around $8.5 billion. The UK Summit follows hot on the heels of similar summits held in Japan and Russia.
Investment in African infrastructure
Over £600 million will be invested by the UK government in crucial infrastructure projects in Uganda, Gabon, Zambia and Ghana. In Ghana, this will include investment in maternity beds and an upgrade to the terminal at Kumasi Airport. In Zambia, the money will go towards 108 solar-powered rural health centres and 600 hospital beds. Road projects will benefit from investment in both Gabon and Uganda. The latter will also see investment in a new industrial business park.
Contracts to carry out these projects have been awarded to British construction companies. The UK is also set to launch a new partnership with the African Development Bank to deliver infrastructure projects.
The emphasis throughout the UK-Africa investment summit was placed on how infrastructure investment could help further UN Sustainable Development Goals. These include quality education, zero hunger, affordable green energy and innovation.
Biggest free trade area on the planet
The new rush to invest in Africa is a reflection of the changing global economic dynamics. The continent now has the biggest free trade area on the planet and with a young, growing population has vast potential for growth in the coming decades. Inadequate or non-existent infrastructure is currently a barrier to achieving that full potential. There is now recognition in developed nations that helping to overcome infrastructure issues represents a smart investment. Building new partnerships with some of the most dynamic emerging nations on the planet is an increasing priority.
UK-Africa investment – where to find out more
More and more British organisations are investing in Africa and are seeing great returns. At Jabiut, our on-the-ground infrastructure delivery and portfolio operations group provides tailored support to our investment management team. All divisions are staffed with experienced client delivery executives and investment managers who have a deep knowledge of rapidly evolving emerging markets. We work with you to identify investment opportunities to fund the development and manage the delivery of infrastructure across all industry sectors within Africa, while structuring proprietary transactions around them.
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About The Author
Tunde Ajia examines infrastructure challenges & opportunities in Nigeria during a period of unprecedented growth & economic expansion. Originally published in Oxford Urbanists,
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