The conference brought together politicians, business leaders and investors to discuss building Africa’s prosperity for the next generation of Africans.
Mr Simmonds said:
“While the ongoing situation in Mali, Somalia and other conflict areas are at the forefront of the political and media narrative on Africa, it is important that we don’t lose sight of an emerging positive story. We now hear, justifiably, of a rising Africa, where economic growth is providing a route out of poverty and supporting good governance and increased accountability. The opportunities for investors are increasing all the time.
“The question for all of us is how to make this growth sustainable. It won’t be easy: challenges such as conflict, terrorism, corruption and poverty remain difficult obstacles to overcome. But we should not view Africa through the prism of these problems. Africa is not homogenous.
“We need to harness the recent growth we have seen in Africa and help African countries tackle the challenges head-on, supporting their efforts to develop the building blocks that underpin prosperity – such as the rule of law, political stability and transparency. The UK is already playing an active role on these issues, alongside our work to strengthen relations across Africa, including by opening new Embassies.
“If we get behind Africa, we can help to make sure the narrative of ‘Africa rising’ is a long-term trend that builds the future Africa – one in which the next generation of Africans can live in freedom, peace and prosperity.”