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UK, Africa explore trade opportunities



By Collins Nweze

The United Kingdom Government and African countries will be working to improve trade volumes in the African continent.

To achieve this feat, the UK Government will be hosting the inaugural UK-Africa Investment Summit in London. This event will bring together British and African businesses to harness the huge potential of the continent when it comes to trade – including through infrastructure, agriculture, enterprise and technology.

It will create new lasting partnerships to deliver more investment, jobs and growth to benefit people and businesses across Africa and the UK.

Hosted by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the summit is a great opportunity to highlight and discuss trade and investment relations for both the UK and Nigeria.  Other African countries will also be looking to promote their investment offers.

Nigeria will play a critical role in the success of the summit. President Muhammadu Buhari is set to head the Nigerian delegation and will receive special treatment, befitting his status as President of Africa’s most populous country and biggest economy.

Read Also: Buhari pledges more commitment to West Africa’s stability

At the summit, the Nigerian delegation will have the chance to engage investors on business environment issues and to emphasise Nigeria’s commitment to continuing to improve conditions for doing business, as recognised in its steady climb up the World Bank’s Doing Business index from 146th to 131st in last October’s report.

The British Prime Minister will meet with President Buhari, who will also attend a reception hosted by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

In advance of the Summit, the UK Government through the Department for International Development worked with the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) to develop a new Nigeria Investment Guide, which will be launched at the Summit.  The guide, trailed today, will help investors understand the opportunities and find out about the organisations, processes and services in place to help make the most of them.

British Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos, Harriet Thompson, said: “The UK-Africa Investment Summit is a major opportunity to support growth, development and job creation in Nigeria, including President Buhari’s commitment to expanding agriculture and manufacturing.”

“Nigeria will be highly visible: the only country to participate in every AIS event, and Nigeria’s companies will be out in force: one in seven of the African companies attending will be Nigerian. Every session of the summit will feature Nigerian participants.  We want them to come back with new partnerships that will boost investment and create jobs and sustainable economic growth in Nigeria

“This is a prime opportunity for Nigeria to make its pitch to quality British companies and investors, demonstrating not only the scale and breadth of commercial opportunities here in Nigeria, but also Government’s commitment to improving the business environment.  Global competition for investment is fierce.  Nigeria will need to compete for its share, addressing those areas that businesses still find a challenge, such as customs and tax procedures.’’

“The UK Government stands ready to assist, and to bring our companies here to be part of the growth story we want to see. That’s ultimately the goal of the Summit: to attract investors for the mutual benefit of Nigeria and the UK.”

Head of Department for International Development in Nigeria, Chris Pycroft, said: “This is the time for Nigeria – All eyes are on the Summit. Bringing together British and African businesses, governments, entrepreneurs and innovators is a massive step in unlocking Africa’s potential. We can create new lasting partnerships that will deliver more investment, more jobs and more growth – that’s good for people and businesses – and good for Nigeria”

Executive Secretary/CEO Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission, Yewande Sadiku, said:  “The UK is a country of strategic investments and we consider the relationship of utmost importance, and our delegation to the UK-Africa Investment Summit reflects that much. The summit will be an opportunity for UK businesses to get a sense of the opportunities in the Nigerian market.

The Nigerian Investment Guide will give investors the feel of what matters in setting up a business in Nigeria.  We hope this will encourage even more British businesses to invest here – creating jobs for Nigerians and supporting both our economies”.