Prime Minister Theresa May and International Trade Minister George Hollingbery led a 29-strong business delegation on their visit to South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya this week to promote economic ties with Africa.
Africa is a young, vibrant and dynamic continent growing at an extraordinary rate. By 2050, 1 in 4 people on the planet will be African, a quarter of the world’s consumers.
This represents a transformational opportunity for UK firms to increase trade with African countries.
During the visit deals worth more than £300 million have been agreed within a variety of sectors, creating close to 3,000 jobs across Africa.
The commercial activity was announced this week as the Prime Minister set out the UK’s ambition to be the largest G7 investor in Africa by 2022, ahead of an Africa Investment Summit which will be held in the UK next year.
Prime Minister Theresa May said:
The deals being announced today demonstrate the already close trade and investment links between the UK and African countries, and the potential that exists for other UK businesses to make the most of the growing opportunities on the continent.
With a shared passion for entrepreneurship, technology and innovation, now is the time for UK companies to strengthen their partnerships with Africa to boost jobs and drive prosperity both at home and overseas.
International Trade Minister George Hollingbery said:
I am delighted to have joined the Prime Minister on this visit showcasing the very best of the UK-Africa partnership and all that Global Britain has to offer in the region.
Our trade and investment ties with South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria are already substantial. Trade between the UK and Africa was worth more than £31 billion last year, and the Prime Minister has made it the UK’s ambition to be the largest G7 investor in Africa by 2022.
It is hugely positive to see these new deals signalling that our strong trading relationship is continuing to go from strength to strength.
While in Kenya, the Prime Minister appointed Pauline Latham OBE, MP for Mid Derbyshire, as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Kenya. Pauline will work to build on the UK’s existing relationship with Kenya – maximising bilateral trade generating long-term benefits for both countries.
As part of the visit, the Prime Minister also announced that an agreement with the Southern African Customs Union and Mozambique means we will be ready to carry over the EU’s Economic Partnership Agreement as soon as the EU deal no longer applies to the UK. This represents the most advanced statement of progress yet of around 40 existing EU trade agreements that the UK is rolling over.
She has also announced this week that UK Export Finance has increased its ability to support exports to a further 8 markets across Africa and made an extra £5.5 billion available to UK exporters and their African buyers to finance export deals, in a move to grow British exports to Africa, which exceeded £17 billion last year.
The UK-Africa trade relationship is already worth more than £31 billion.
Finance and Technology
Deals in the finance and technology sector include:
- Sheffield-based tech firm The Floow – who are part of the PM’s trade delegation – have secured a £1 million deal to help an insurance company price their policies more fairly according to how people drive.
- Specialist modern warehousing property investment company Africa Logistics Properties will open its flagship project ‘ALP Nairobi North’ in September 2018 with 50,000 square meters of space, and has already commenced work on ‘ALP Nairobi West’ which will provide an additional 30,000 square meters of space. Together these projects represent £70 million of new investment.
- Digital money transfer service Azimo has announced a strategic partnership with leading African payments business Interswitch Group. The deal will further enable instant money transfers from 23 countries in Europe to any customer in Nigeria - Azimo’s biggest market. The company is looking to add an additional 500 million transactions through the partnership over the next 18 months.
Industry and Manufacturing
Deals in industry and manufacturing include:
- Finlays Tea has signalled a commitment to Kenya with £66 million further investment in the country over the next five years. Finlays employs around 11,500 people, and is a major supplier of tea into global markets.
- Mobius Motors who design and manufacture durable, affordable vehicles for Africa is commissioning a new factory in Nairobi. Renovations for the production facility are nearly complete and the factory will be ready for the start of pilot production with the next-generation Mobius II later this year, creating over 150 new manufacturing jobs in Kenya.
- Midstream Lighting Ltd, a UK manufacturer and exporter, and winner of the Queens Award for Enterprise: Innovation have secured export wins to provide their LED floodlighting equipment to airports in South Africa and Nigeria in deals worth around £200,000.
Energy and Environment
Deals relating to energy and the environment include:
- InspiraFarms is expanding its operations in Kenya with a £1 million investment, which will help them roll out agricultural technology to new companies.
- Clarke Energy - part of the Prime Minister’s business delegation - plans to work with Kohler SDMO to open their first assembly plant for diesel engines which will be based in Nigeria. The £650,000 investment from the UK into Lagos will see 22 full time staff employed at the start up phase.
- Gilkes Hydro (Gilbert Gilkes & Gordon Ltd), Cumbria-based company who export to 85 countries around the world, has won an export contract for the 2.7MW Kipsonoi Hydropower Scheme in Kenya worth £1.1 million. This is the third project that Gilkes have carried out with the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA), who are one of the most active developers of small hydro in East Africa.
- Blackpool-based TISS Ltd have announced the creation of a Joint Venture company in South Africa - TISS Africa - to promote and sell their TankSafe® range of fuel security devices throughout the southern African region. The deal is expected to see a return of £700,000 from the investment in South Africa over the next three years.
- Azuri Technologies Ltd - travelling with the Prime Minister this week - and Unilever will enter into a partnership to bring pay-as-you-go solar home lighting to millions of off-grid households in Kenya, leveraging Azuri’s £16 million investment in Kenya to date.
- Hydro Industries, a water technology company in Llangennech who are part of the Prime Minister’s business delegation, have joined forces with the leading construction firm Dawnus and the highly respected School of Management at Swansea University to offer comprehensive solutions for some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities.