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UK – Africa: Looking to become the continent’s investment partner of choice

By Nicholas Norbrook, Olivier Caslin
Posted on Tuesday, 4 May 2021 14:39

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, right, meets the President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari during the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London, Monday, 20 Jan 2020. (Eddie Mulholland/Pool Photo via AP)

Brexit marks a set of major realignments for UK foreign policy. So what does this spell for the country’s relationships in Africa?

“One thing that absolutely has not changed is my ambition for the UK to be Africa’s investment partner of choice,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a virus-quietened second edition of the UK-Africa Investment Summit in January 2021.

This is echoed by the UK’s senior trade-focused diplomat, Emma Wade-Smith. Based in South Africa, she says her teams have been doubled over the past 18 months as the government ramps up its post-European future.

“Every day I see the importance of Africa in global trade and investment in general, and the UK in particular,” says Wade-Smith. “And we are not alone, of course, in our interest in Africa’s vast prospects.”