During his trade visit to Nigeria, the Prime Minister delivered a speech at the Pan African University in Lagos, arguing the continent has a real chance to end its dependence on aid.
Mr Cameron paid tribute to the fast-growing economies in Africa that, coupled with a shift towards democratic governments, presented a huge opportunity.
The Prime Minister said:
This can be Africa’s moment. Africa is transforming in a way no-one thought possible 20 years ago and suddenly a whole new future seems within reach.
Today there are unprecedented opportunities to trade and grow, raise living standards and lift billions from poverty. So I urge you: seize these opportunities, grab them, shape them.
The Prime Minister reiterated that trade, not aid, is the key to Africa’s future prosperity and could be better enhanced through economic restructuring, more inward investment, improved infrastructure and good governance.
Mr Cameron said:
An African Free Trade Area could increase GDP across the continent by as much as $62 billion a year. That’s nearly $20 billion more than the world gives Sub-Saharan Africa in aid.
Africa is now home to six of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world and is predicted to have the world’s highest average GDP growth over the next 40 years.
This is a time for the whole of Africa to meet the aspirations of its people. A time when aid, trade and democracy can come together to offer a new future for Africa.
The speech echoed Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell’s address to London audiences last week. In his talk, ‘Africa is open for business’, he said:
Despite its undoubted poverty and hardship, Africa is also a continent of innovation, enterprise and opportunity.
A continent where there are inspiring individuals who want to change things and where those who want to improve the lives of the poorest in the world, as well as making money, should be clamouring to invest.