Boris Johnson: UK-Africa investment can help alleviate climate change

UK prime minister tells conference that Africa must be allowed to prosper from the green industrial revolution

Wind turbines operate at the Gouda wind power facility in South Africa, a country which works closely with the UK for renewable energy. Bloomberg.

The UK must boost green investment in Africa and become the continent's investment partner of choice as it transitions to clean growth, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told a trade conference.

Mr Johnson made the comments as he opened the latest UK-Africa Investment Conference, a one-day virtual event with UK and African ministers, business leaders and heads of international organisations meeting to discuss sustainable investment.

Mr Johnson said he wants Britain to finance critical infrastructure projects in those African countries worst hit by climate change, which will in turn help the region achieve its full economic potential.

He pointed out that the UK is already the biggest investor in renewable energy in South Africa and has helped finance the export of 87 emergency bridges made in Gloucestershire to strengthen flood defences in Ghana.

“By 2050, Africa’s population is set to double to 2.5 billion and the mother continent of humanity will be home to a quarter of the world’s population”, Mr Johnson said in the opening address.

“As that day approaches, Africa is transforming its fortunes by means of trade and investment and I want Britain to be with you every step of the journey.

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Our shared task must be to ensure that Africa prospers from the green industrial revolution, that will rescue humanity from catastrophic climate change
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson

“Our shared task must be to ensure that Africa prospers from the green industrial revolution, that will rescue humanity from catastrophic climate change.”

As part of the drive, the UK Department for International Trade is launching Growth Gateway — a digital tool to link African and British businesses to UK trade, finance and investment services and opportunities.

The service provides practical online support to businesses in Africa that want to export to and invest in the UK, and businesses in the UK that want to export to and invest in Africa.

The UK's export credit agency — the UK Export Finance (UKEF) — has significantly increased support for markets in Africa in the past year from approximately £600 million ($820m) in 2018-19 to more than £2.3 billion in 2020-21, in countries from Côte d’Ivoire to Uganda.

“This conference is a fantastic opportunity to bring British and African businesses together to unlock millions of pounds of new investment, especially in clean energy industries in both the UK and across Africa,” said the UK's Minister for Africa Vicky Ford.

“There is so much more that the UK and African countries can do together. Growth Gateway will make it easier than ever for African and British businesses to access the support they need to boost two-way trade and investment.”

Updated: January 20, 2022, 3:55 PM