UK turns focus on Sub-Saharan Africa
The United Kingdom is set to hold a major investment conference in London later on this month, titled – Sub-Saharan Africa Investment Conference.
The event will be hosted by the newly elected Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Department for International Development (DfiD), one of the major partners of development within Ethiopia. This comes as one of Europe’s most prosperous nations is set to leave the European Union amid Brexit and is looking for partnership elsewhere, including with Africa.
A British Embassy spokesperson said that the Summit was a great opportunity for Ethiopia to meet with major British businesses that want to invest in Africa. Representatives from major investors, regulators, innovators and multinational businesses based in the City of London will be attending. This will give Ethiopian businesses attending the Summit access to one of the most important global financial centres in the world. As a result of the Summit, the hope is that investment deals will be identified that will ultimately lead to job creation in Ethiopia and increased trade and investment between the UK and Ethiopia.
Going further, the spokesperson said “as the UK prepares to leave the EU, this summit signals the very serious intention of the UK to create new lasting partnerships with Ethiopia and other Africa countries to deliver mutual prosperity.”
While most commonwealth nations continue to have noted British investments, such as in Kenya, with the presence of Barclays and Standard Chartered Bank, Ethiopia has little noted British investment. The latter is currently eyeing to get into Ethiopia’s local banking sector with an office opening in the Bole area.
As well, a number of British companies have investments in Kenya’s horticultural and coffee sectors. Both are areas in which Ethiopia continues to show promise.
For Johnson, his belated interest in the continent follows his predecessor Prime Minister Theresa May’s footprints, which has traveled widely across the continent, pledging unprecedented amounts of funds to create jobs among potential migrants heading towards Europe.
Last year in South Africa, she promised to move from an aid dependent partnership to one that focuses on economic aspirations with an added poverty reduction measures and the security challenges that are uniform-like across the continent.
The former mayor of London, Johnson visited Ethiopia in 2017 as foreign minister, while Ethiopia was grappling with the Koshe garbage dump site disaster that killed hundreds of people and created thousands of destitute citizens.
While in Ethiopia, he was criticized for not visiting the disaster site that is a short distance from the capital, and instead visited government and embassy personnel and went for a run with Olympian great, Haile Gebreselassie and was not made available to the local media.