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Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is greeted by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Cape Town, South Africa. Image: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is greeted by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Cape Town, South Africa. Image: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Theresa May Announces Plans to Raise Investment into Africa Post-Brexit

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Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is greeted by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Cape Town, South Africa. Image: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Prime Minister Theresa May has announced intentions to raise British investments into Africa. The plan was announced in a Cape Town speech, pledging £4 billion following Brexit.

Investing in a “Fundamental Shift”

British Prime Minister Theresa May gave a speech in Cape town pledging £4 billion into African economies after Brexit. The goal is to create a “fundamental shift” in aid and to create jobs for young people.

This was May’s first trip to Africa as prime minister. The goal was to focus on long-term security and economic challenges as opposed to the reduction in short-term poverty. The three-day trade trip also involved a trip to Nigeria and Kenya. As she made her way to each country, she met with each of their presidents. The intention was to improve trade and economic ties with these developing economies in time for Brexit in 2019.

Downplaying Warnings

Prior to the trip, Chancellor Philip Hammond had been warning about the negative economic impact of a no-deal Brexit. He issued a letter in which he described the damage he felt such a situation would cause the U.K. economy. As May made her way to South Africa, she took the opportunity to downplay that caution.

On Tuesday, May spoke to journalists on the RAF Voyager, underscoring her faith that a no-deal Brexit would be preferable to leaving the single market with a bad deal. She said that no-deal “wouldn’t be the end of the world.”

Becoming the G7’s Largest Investor in Africa

In May’s speech, she described her intentions to make the United Kingdom the G7’s largest investor in Africa, overtaking the United States by 2022. She stated that she planned to maintain existing economic links the U.K. has through its membership in the European Union. Those include the partnership across the E.U. with the Southern African Customs Union as well as with Mozambique. That said, May wants the U.K. to keep up those links after Brexit when it leaves the E.U.

She promised a £4 billion investment directly from the British government. She predicts that this investment will be matched by the U.K. private sector. The U.K. couldn’t match the “economic might” of certain other investors such as the U.S. and China, but it intends to offer long-term opportunities of the “highest quality and breadth.”

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Alvexo on the matter.