Prime Minister David Cameron hailed the potential of trade to lift millions of people out of poverty in Africa and end the continent’s dependence on aid.
At the start of his visit, the Prime Minister delivered a speech at the Pan African University, Lagos, Nigeria before holding talks with President Goodluck Jonathan.
In his speech, Mr Cameron paid tribute to the fast-growing economies in Africa that, coupled with an increasing shift towards democratic governments, presented a huge opportunity for the continent.
The PM 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, increased investment inflow, 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 10 fastest-growing economies in the world and is predicted to have the world’s highest average GDP growth over the next 40 years.
Mr Cameron also stressed the need for British businesses to focus on trade and enterprise in Africa.
Right now, Britain is in danger of missing out on one of the greatest economic opportunities on the planet. And we cannot let that happen.
Praising the progress of democracy in Africa, the Prime Minister stressed that it was now time for the whole of Africa to meet the aspirations of its people, and urged Africans to take action to ensure they have a bigger say in how their countries are run.
Ahead of the speech at the Pan African University, David Cameron visited a GAVI Alliance vaccine and immunisation clinic in Lagos, Nigeria, where children are being immunised against yellow fever. Last month the Prime Minister announced £814 million of new funding for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation.
External site: DFID: Vaccine summit saves four million lives in four hours
External site: GAVI Alliance - Immunize every child
External site: PM’s speech on aid, trade and democracy
External site: Communique on Nigeria trade mission
External site: A transcript of the Prime Minister’s press conference in Lagos, Nigeria