UK steps-up Africa charm offensive


The UK has launched a new plan to ramp up infrastructure investment in Africa and other developing countries in a bid open up overseas markets to British trade and companies in a post-Brexit era.

On a recent trip to Ethiopia, Britain’s new international development secretary Alok Sharma announced plans for a new commission to mobilise private sector investment for bankable infrastructure projects in developing countries.

During his two-day visit, Sharma allocated £10m of infrastructure investments to East Africa’s fastest growing economy, Ethiopia. The funds were earmarked for clean energy and sustainable infrastructure projects in Ethiopian cities, the Department of International Development (DFID) said.

As one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, Ethiopia has “huge potential for future trade with the UK,” DFID added.

Commissioning infrastructure 

The new commission aims to mine the expertise of UK and international business leaders in order to scale up infrastructure development in Africa and other emerging economies, according to DFID.

Deploying a team of experts with experience in infrastructure development in Africa and Asia will help mitigate the risks of infrastructure projects and make such ventures more attractive to foreign investors, especially those in the City of London, Sharma said

“The focus will be to help make investment in infrastructure in developing countries more attractive to businesses and investors,” the department said.

African economies on the continent currently face a £140 billion annual infrastructure gap, which requires urgent private sector investment, the African Development Fund says.

The Commission hopes to facilitate private equity support to buildinfrastructure projects and create better trading partners for Britain, Sharma said.

“This Commission will aim to turbo-charge investment in green, sustainable infrastructure, leading to more jobs, better access to basic services and opportunities for businesses, creating the UK’s future trading partners.” Continue reading…

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