United Kingdom (UK) prime minister kick-started her unprecedented visit to Africa with a stop-over in South Africa on Tuesday before heading to Kenya and Nigeria. Theresa May is visiting Africa for the first time since she took the reins from David Cameron in 2016 in what has been described as an “Africa Trade Mission” for post-Brexit plans.
During the three-nations visit, the UK prime minister alongside some high-rank officials in her government will visit three of sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest economies; South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya on (Aug 28, 29 and 30) respectfully. Among delegation are Charles Bowman, Lord Mayor of the City of London Corporation, David Schwimmer, CEO of the London Stock Exchange, and representatives of firms who specialize in helping Africa – including Georgia Barrie, co-founder, and director of Farm.ink.
With an exit from the European Union (EU) looking sealed come 2019, the UK government might be aiming for a “quid pro quo” relationship with these African countries. Although the Prime Minister is yet to announce, she is expected to make public her desire to make UK the G7’s ‘number one investor in Africa’ by 2022. This further affirms plans by the UK government to upstage top investors like the China and US in the continent as Brexit looms.
The UK had earlier announced that the prime minister’s visit will be “focused on a renewed partnership between the UK and Africa.” Although she was seen dancing with school children, the truth is Theresa May meant business before jetting to Africa. Initially, a ‘no-deal’ Brexit announced last week already signals a tough post-Brexit life for the UK, but weighing in on Africa’s thriving economy might salvage the harsh post-Brexit condition as predicted by analysts.
UK’s fate is already sealed, it will bid farewell to the EU after its 45 years marriage waned. However, what remains vague and ambiguous is who the UK government will trade with next, although it had already revealed plans to strengthen ties with African countries earlier in March.
Aside trade talks, Theresa May will be keen to mend relationships with these countries over the colonial past. She presented the ‘Mendi bell’ (a symbol of South Africa First World War remembrance) to President Cyril Ramaphosa in Cape Town today. May will also visit Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos to purposely meet “victims of modern slavery”.