Editor’s Note: May 01, 2019

Britain: Africa’s ‘partner of choice’?

The UK’s Foreign Office has announced $110m worth of investmentby British companies into Nigeria and Ghana.

The announcement was made in Ghana, part of a five-country tour by foreign ministerJeremy Hunt this week, who is also visiting Senegal, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Kenya.

The trip is part of plans to boost trade and investment with the continent after the UK leaves the EU. According to Hunt the ambition is to make Britain Africa’s ‘new partner of choice’.

Easier said than done.

Driven by China international competition for influence on the continent is at an all-time high. Standing out is hard, and Britain is late to the party. 

While in Ghana Hunt remarked that it’s “time for the world to look at African nations as partners” for trade and investment, not just aid. True, but the rest of the world made that realization years ago.

There is also a lack of high level engagement. Theresa May’s Africa trip last August was the first by a British prime minister since 2013. She is the first to visit Kenya in 30 years. 

In contrast French president Emmanuel Macron has notched up almost a dozen visits since taking office in 2017.

This doesn’t mean the UK’s efforts should be dismissed, but becoming Africa’s ‘partner of choice’ will take a lot more.

From The Continent

Kenya’s Equity Bank is acquiring the assets of Atlas Mara, the banking group founded by former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond, in Zambia, Rwanda, Mozambique and Tanzania in return for a 6.27% stake. Equity, which focuses on commercial lending to low income consumers, is on an expansion drive on the continent. More: Bloomberg


Algeria’s ruling  National Liberation Front (FLN) has reportedly elected a new leader, 50-year old businessman Mohamed Djemai, as it tries to distance itself from former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who resigned in early April due to mass protests. A high profile anti-corruption drive is underway targeting high figures linked to his rule, including former prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia. More: Al Jazeera

The Daily Stat

9%

Democratic Republic of Congo’s new base interest rate, which has been cut from 14% due to an improving economic outlook. More: Reuters

The Global Perspective

Indian mobile operator Bharti Airtel’s African unit has reported an $83m profit for the first quarter, compared to a $49m loss the previous year. The turnaround is being driven by increased data service usage and growing revenue from its mobile money platform. More:Economic Times

The UN has warned that 2.3m people in Angola are facing a food security crisis due to severe drought. The government declared a state of emergency in January, but response efforts have been hampered by a lack of funding. More: Africanews

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