Ride the wave of the African Continental Free Trade Area, African Development Bank (ADB) president Adesina Urged United Kingdom investors.
Speaking at the UK Parliamentary Symposium, Mr Adesina said Africa is on the cusp of unmatched economic transformation and the United Kingdom must engage in a partnership of change.
“The Africa of the 21st century is very different. The Africa of the 21st century is new and more confident,” he said
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Africa with the Royal African Society, Oxford Brookes University, and the Trade Justice Network organized the symposium under the theme UK-Africa Trade and Brexit.
Adesina said that Africa and the United Kingdom should be significant trading partners. “The reality, however, is that UK’s trade with Africa is trending downwards. From a $49 billion peak in 2012, trade decreased to $30.6 billion in 2018,” he noted.
The decline in UK trade and investment in Africa is against a backdrop of projected expenditures of $5.6 trillion of business-to-business and consumer-to-consumer by 2020 and a $1 trillion food and agriculture market by 2030.
“The fact that we are having this conversation in the UK Parliament is a great start. The convening of this Summit by Prime Minister Boris Johnson is an even greater start,” he acknowledged.
Speaking at the UK-Africa Investment Summit Sustainable Infrastructure Forum, the Bank’s chief said: “Investing in quality and sustainable infrastructure can spur Africa’s economic transformation.”
“Just under two decades ago, Africa had fewer telephones than Manhattan in New York. Today, Africa has over 440 million cell phone subscribers. Returns on digital infrastructure are very high as the continent expands broadband infrastructure to boost connectivity and improve services,” Adesina said.
The African Development Bank (ADB) has been a major investor in infrastructure development in the transport, electricity and water sectors across Africa. In 2016, Cumulative Bank funding for infrastructure on the continent rose by 22% from $66.9 billion to $81.6 billion in 2017.
The value of infrastructure projects with private sector participation has increased from $3.6 billion to $5.2 billion in the same period.
“We are committed to quality infrastructure and ensuring that no one is left behind!” Adesina concluded