Business Climate Development

UK Set to Host Africa Investment Conference in 2021

Emma Wade-Smith OBE

By Joyce Mukucha

The United Kingdom (UK) is preparing to host the Africa Investment Conference which will be held virtually in the new year, an event which comes one year on from the UK-Africa Investment Summit.

The Conference’s key focus will be on Greener and more sustainable investment.

The UK Department for International Trade has announced that the Conference will take place on the 20th of January 2021, bringing together UK and African businesses for a one-day virtual event to explore the opportunities for partnership and investment.

“The conference comes one year after the UK-Africa Investment Summit hosted in London by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, where 27 trade and investment deals worth £6.5bn and commitments worth £8.9bn were announced.

“Businesses will be able to discuss emerging and relevant themes around doing business in Africa, and connect to investment opportunities across the African continent, all in the context of a challenging global economic outlook,” reads the statement.

The Africa Investment Conference will be a platform for attendees to hear directly from UK companies about the opportunities and challenges of investing in and doing business across Africa.

Firms will also learn more about the United Kingdom’s new trade arrangements with Africa and support offered by the UK Government to business and investors.

The event will also explore how inclusive, sustainable and resilient investment can serve to help countries across the continent transition to a cleaner, greener economy and support recovery from the impact of coronavirus.

Driven by the insights of the recently established Africa Investors Group (a grouping of some of the UK’s largest investors in Africa), the conference will focus around four key sectors of activity
These include sustainable infrastructure, renewable energy, financial and professional services and agriculture and agri-tech.

It has been revealed that January will see new trade agreements coming into force for the UK with 14 African partners with the prospect of more countries to follow, while 35 African partners will receive preferential access to the UK thanks to our trade presences scheme.

The development of the UK’s new trade arrangements alongside Africa’s own Continental Free Trade Agreement can unleash new opportunities for African and UK businesses.

UK Minister for Investment, Gerry Grimstone said, “Despite the current global economic context, the UK’s ambition to be Africa’s investment partner of choice has never been stronger.

”Growing investment relationships will be central in helping economies recover and build back better from the disruption caused by Coronavirus.”

Africa’s economic potential,he added, and investment opportunities are huge, and our partnership will help ensure UK and African businesses are able to capitalise on trade and investment opportunities, now and in the future.

The Minister for Africa MP Duddridge James said the UK was working with countries across Africa to build strong partnerships that secure investment and deliver more of the exports, jobs and economic growth that benefit both African and British businesses.

“Over £6.5 billion worth of deals were signed at the UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020, which showcased the UK’s offer to African nations, as a global financial gateway and home to the world’s major investors, regulators and innovators. January’s event will once again bring together British and African businesses and entrepreneurs, to support more prosperous African countries,” he said.

Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Africa, Emma Wade-Smith OBE said the Africa Investment Conference will build on the achievements of 2020’s landmark UK-Africa Investment Summit.

“Connecting British businesses to the wealth of opportunities that exist across African markets and supporting them in the realisation of their commercial projects is at the heart of our work. With the global disruption to markets caused by COVID-19, the investment will be vital to accelerate the UK and Africa’s economic recovery. I am proud that the investment partnerships that exist between Africa and the UK continue to sustain jobs and improve lives,” she said.

Adding on, the Co-Chair of the Africa Investor’s Group (AIG), Andrew Skipper, said a year on from the UK-Africa Investment Summit, and with the UK set on a new course, explaining that it was critical to continue demonstrating the UK Government’s commitment to working with the private sector to promote, support and deliver trade in key sectors of British excellence, across the whole of UK and across Africa.

“I expect the conference will demonstrate what has been achieved, and establish a platform for what can be done working in collaboration in the future.”

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende