Nigeria among top gainers as UK-Africa summit yields £6.5bn deals, £1.5bn aid

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The UK-Africa investment summit which was held in London has yielded business deals of about £6.5 billion with Nigeria among the top gainers, according to the British government.

In its official statement on the outcome of the summit, the UK said the deals signed with African countries span various sectors including trade, infrastructure, energy, retail and technology. 

The commercial deals were signed with popular British firms such as Rolls Royce, GSK, and Diageo, in addition to “more (deals) worth billions”.

The UK also announced over £1.5 billion of aid-funded initiatives “expected to create hundreds of thousands of jobs and mobilise over £2.4 billion of additional private investment for the continent”.

“The UK committed to over £397 million of new programmes to boost further trade and investment links between the UK and Africa,” it said.

“The UK also announced new initiatives and funding which will: strengthen the joint trading relationship, support African countries in their ambition to transform their economies, launch a major new partnership with the city of London, turbo-charge infrastructure financing, and enable Africa’s clean energy potential.”

WHAT DOES NIGERIA BENEFIT?

The statement said while at least 46 African countries will benefit from the business deals and new funded initiatives, there were also country-specific interventions announced.

A close look at the interventions showed Nigeria was among the top beneficiaries with at least seven of such interventions involving the country.

The statement said the UK government will: “Deliver new partnerships with Investment Promotion Agencies in Nigeria and South Africa (funding of £25 million).

“Significantly uplift work on women’s economic empowerment: expanding the Work and Opportunities for Women programme across Africa which works with business to improve economic opportunities and outcomes for women in their supply chains (funding of £6.1 million); expanding the SheTrades programme supporting female entrepreneurs to access trading opportunities in Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya (funding of £3.5 million).

“Deliver a new Digital Access Programme in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa (£45 million of funding) to increase connectivity and digital skills of marginalised communities, build cybersecurity capacity and establish Tech Hubs to grow the local digital economy, and empower start-ups with the skills needed to expand globally.”

The UK announced it will also set up a Nigeria Regulatory Sandbox to support fintech firms to develop as well as a new facility in Nigeria that will “draw on UK expertise to help improve the provision and management of government infrastructure” with a funding of £80 million.

It added it will support a “just transition to clean energy, through a Clean Energy Pacesetter initiative” with Nigeria and six other African countries as well as support the Energy Commission of Nigeria to update its 2050 calculator, an energy and emissions model that supports sustainable development planning with funding of £60,000.

WHY AFRICA?

The latest summit is just one of the many that major world powers have held with Africa with the increasing interest in the continent. But why is this so?

With a population of about 1.2 billion, Africa has been referred to as the opportunity for the world.

Eight of the 15 fastest growing economies are expected to be in Africa while over one in four global consumers will be African by 2050.

When ratified, the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement is expected to create the world’s largest free trade area.

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