The African Century – Michael Sippitt’s Letter to City AM
31 August 2018
[Re: May offers City expertise to boost Africa]
It is good news that the Prime Minister is on a mission to emphasise the opportunities of more trade with Africa. There are many valuable Commonwealth links with the continent, and the UK is in a strong position to build closer business relationships across many African countries. As Africa’s total population is projected to grow to over four billion this century, the market for enterprise is infinite and growing better all the time. It is undoubtedly in the UK’s interests to build stronger links and offer at least a modest measure of balance to the huge ongoing Chinese investment. Global trade is also vital to help African countries face the multiple challenges of this century, from climate change to the impact of automation destroying many traditional work opportunities, as forecast by The World Bank. The UK and the EU should help build resilience in Africa to these very real threats. The probable result otherwise is increasing instability and migration across Africa, no doubt in part heading for Europe. There are worrying stories coming out of some African countries at times, as with much of the rest of the world of course, but careful due diligence and the establishment of better local business links will enable UK companies to gain confidence in these huge long-term opportunities. Looking for more trade with Africa is simply a nobrainer, regardless of Brexit, and whatever that may turn out to be next year.
Michael Sippitt, Chairman, Commonwealth Environmental Investment Platform