Portsmouth-UK: The UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Uganda and Rwanda, Lord Popat of Harrow, has called for the prioritization of trade with Africa, as the country prepares to leave the EU. The member of the House of Lords made the call during his speech at the recently held Invest in Africa Summit, organized by the African Leadership Magazine UK.
The event with the theme: Intra-African Trade- Beyond Rhetoric and Political Commitments, held at the Dorchester Hotel, London, United Kingdom and had in attendance guests from the business, political and diplomatic community, as well as academia. The event also had in attendance government ministers, and heads of leading government organizations from Africa, including Senator Manqoba B Khumalo, the Honourable Minister of Commerce Industry and Trade, Kingdom Of Eswatini; Dr Thando Gina, Minister of Economic Planning and Development, Eswatini; Hon. Hamat NK Bah, Minister of Culture & Tourism for the Gambia; Dr. Samuel Jibao, Commissioner General, National Revenue Authority, Dr. Abdulai Fofana, General Manager, Sierra Leone Ports Authority, Mr. John B. S. Davies III, The President/CEO, Liberian Bank for, Development and Investment (LBDI), Sibani Mngomezulu, CEO, Eswatini Investment Promotion Authority (EIPA), amongst others.
According to Lord Popat, “In a period of uncertainty for Britain’s future following the referendum of 2016, our trade should focus increasingly on its historical partners, thus Africa. It is time for our foreign policy to prioritize stronger trade and diplomatic links to secure our nation’s prosperity and economic future.”
On his part, Dr. Joe Beasley, a renowned human rights activist and Chairman of the African Leadership Advisory Board, in his welcome remark, emphasized what he described as the “Urgency of Now” in changing the investment narrative on the continent. According to Dr. Beasley, “Africa currently accounts for 16.64% of the total world population and about 60% of this population are within the ages of 16-25, making Africa the continent with the largest reservoir of young people. It is also projected this number will double by the year 2050. It is important to note that, while the continent’s numbers are growing, jobs are not growing at a commensurate level. This, therefore, calls for urgent action. I dare say again, that trade holds the ace towards altering this dangerous drift”.
Dr. Beasley enjoined the African leaders present to “provide the much-needed leadership which today should serve as a tonic” for the continent’s development.
Some high points of the events were the panel sessions; Addressing challenges around Trade and Investment Africa – From good Intentions to measurable impact which had Senator Manqoba B Khumalo, the Honourable Minister of Commerce Industry and Trade, Kingdom Of Eswatini. Dr. Thando Gina, Minister of Economic Planning and Development, Eswatini, and Hon. Hamat NK Bah, Minister of Culture & Tourism for the Gambia.
Sierra Leone Revenue doyen, Dr. Samuel Jibao, Commissioner General, National Revenue Authority, Dr. Abdulai Fofana, General Manager, Sierra Leone Ports Authority, Mr. John B. S. Davies III, The President/CEO, Liberian Bank for, Development and Investment (LBDI), Sibani Mngomezulu, CEO, Eswatini Investment Promotion Authority (EIPA) discussed Investing in Africa – Exploring Opportunities for Partnerships and Collaborations in Intra-African Trade.
There were also special presentations by the ENL Consortium led by Dr. Vicky Haastrup; country showcase by the government of Mauritius, as well as the presentation of awards to select awardees for their outstanding achievements and impact made on the continent.
This year’s invest in Africa summit is the 3rd in the series, designed to bring together business and political leaders towards jobs and wealth creation in the continent. The event is in line with African Leadership Magazine’s overarching mandate of promoting innovation, entrepreneurship and development in Africa.
African Leadership events organized around major world capitals and international city centers have become an unrivalled platform for B2B Communications, as well as government-to-business engagements. These high-profile meetings of key decision-makers and business leaders have been largely responsible for some major investments in Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, to the tune of over $2 Billion. It has also helped in establishing the partnership between companies from Africa and their counterparts in the United States, United Kingdom, Indonesia, China, UAE and other parts of the world. Our events have hosted past and current, presidents, heads of government, business leaders, diplomats; including the current presidents of Namibia; Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Botswana, Seychelles; amongst others.