By Staff Reporter
United Kingdom’s new government has been advised to re-boot its relationship with Africa by creating a “prosperity partnership” based on development, trade and investment. The advice has been sounded by a committee of distinguished British and African experts through their recent report examining the achievements of the UK’s Africa Free Trade Initiative (AFTi) for the last five years.
The five-man committee was established as an inquiry group earlier this year by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Trade Out of Poverty, to investigate the success of the initiative formally launched by former UK Premier David Cameron during his visits to South Africa and Nigeria in July 2011. The expert committee acknowledged that while Brexit poses short-term challenges, it also provides an opportunity for the UK to come up with a partnership strategy that will genuinely boost growth, jobs and incomes of ordinary people in Africa. “While Brexit poses short-term challenges, it also provides an opportunity for the UK to lead the world in structuring a pro-development trade policy with Africa that will genuinely boost growth, jobs and incomes of ordinary people,” part of the report read.
The committee explained that if a successor initiative to AFTi is launched as a centre-piece of the UK’s economic policy agenda in Africa, it will foster cutting of trade costs, connecting markets and enhance productive capacity, and use trade to drive inclusive growth for poor women and men on the continent. The group further pointed out that Prime Minister Theresa May should therefore appoint a Special Envoy to that effect and ensure deliverance of five key areas including closer dialogue between UK Ministers, African governments, business and the civil society, on freeing up trade for all as well as driving and scaling new high-impact approaches that can transform opportunities from trade for ordinary Africans among others.