News story

PM begins Africa trade mission

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Prime Minister David Cameron has travelled to South Africa on a two-day visit to Africa to boost trade.

At the start of his visit, the PM held a press conference with President Zuma and praised the strong relationship between the two countries and pledged to make it even stronger.

Mr Cameron said:

I think it right for Britain to be engaged with South Africa and to be engaged with Africa as a whole. There is a huge opportunity for trade, for growth, for jobs, including jobs at home in the UK.

The visit comes at a time when Africa is changing. Last year, Africa’s economy grew by nearly 5% and six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world are African.

As a result, the UK’s relationship with Africa is also changing from a one-dimensional relationship focussed on aid to a three-dimensional relationship focussed on aid, trade and strengthened bilateral engagement.

The Prime Minister described South Africa as “a gateway to a new economic future” for Africa and pledged to double bilateral trade by 2015.

Writing in South Africa’s Business Day, the PM said:

Trade and enterprise have the power to change lives. What will lift tens of millions out of poverty in the long run is economic growth.

The PM also pledged £52 million in emergency aid to the worsening crisis in the Horn of Africa, which he described as “catastrophic” and urged other nations to follow suit.

Before the conference the leaders also discussed the Middle-East, Zimbabwe and Libya. 

The PM’s visit takes place on Mandela Day, Nelson Mandela’s birthday, when South Africans are asked to commemorate the 67 years Mandela spent in the struggle for social justice. To mark the day the PM will attend an event with Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The PM is accompanied by the Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell, Trade Minister Lord Green and a business delegation.

Later today, Mr Cameron will attend a business event bringing together UK and South African businesses and entrepreneurs to exchange ideas on how they can work more together.

The PM will also visit a football training academy to see efforts by the English Premier League to promote the game in South Africa.

External site: PM’s article in Business Day: Free trade in Africa shows a way out of poverty

External site: Nelson Mandela Day

External site: Andrew Mitchell: Africa is open for business