Days before it divorces the European Union, the UK on Monday hosted a high-profile investment summit in London that brought together 20 African presidents, business leaders and top diplomats with the aim of generating new opportunities in the African continent for businesses across the UK.
In a direct pitch for business, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the African leaders attending the first UK-Africa Investment Summit, including Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, that he wants to make Britain Africa’s "trade and investment partner of choice" .
In his speech, Johnson acknowledged the odds the UK faces even as it scrambles for a piece of the action. But he remained optimistic.
“I must mention the competition, I better, I mean why not, China, Russia, Germany. I’m told there will be a conference in France fairly soon. But in the words of an old Akan proverb that I picked up while I was in Ghana, all fingers are not the same and all countries are not the same, and the UK boasts a breadth and depth of expertise that simply cannot be matched by any other nation," he told the Summit.
"This is a competitive world. You have many suitors. But look today at what we have to offer, look around the world today and you will swiftly see that the UK is not only the obvious partner of choice. We also are very much the partner of today, of tomorrow and decades to come.”
One of the key sectors that Johnson mentioned as holding great potential is agriculture.
However, statistics indicate that a majority of Kenya's flowers, the main foreign exchange earner, presently get into the EU market through Amsterdam. According to the Kenya Flower Council direct delivery to the UK is hampered by lack of facilities.