The UK commits to support sustainable development in Africa

In her visit to Africa, Theresa May shows commitment to boost long-term growth of economies all across the continent and promises the UK and Africa will continue to have strong ties regardless of Brexit outcomes.

The Prime Minister said she wanted the UK to become the G7’s biggest investor in Africa by 2022 — overtaking the position currently held by the US. May also pledged investments of £4bn in the African countries, hoping mainly to spur economic growth to create jobs for the young generations.

During her speech, stressed the multi-billion aid is not only to relieve poverty but instead to support future growth across the country. African growth is in fact in the interest of all economies worldwide; she said: “Between now and 2035, African nations will have to create 18 million new jobs every year to keep pace with the rapidly growing population. That’s almost 50 000 new jobs every single day, simply to maintain employment at its current level. It’s in the world’s interest to see that those jobs are created. If we fail to do so, the economic and environmental impact will soon reach every corner of the world.”

While Brexit negotiations are still ongoing and seem far to an agreement, in Africa, May promised to continue the partnerships with Mozambique and South Africa — even after EU and UK part ways: “Our integrated global economy means good news for British and African people. That is why I will today confirm plans to carry over the EU partnership agreement with the Southern African Customs Union and Mozambique, once the EU deals no longer apply to the UK.”

In order to be truly effective and life-changing, the effort has to come from all levels: “True partnerships are not about one party doing unto another, but states, governments, businesses and individuals working together in a responsible way to achieve common goals,” said the PM.

Indeed, In the private sector, UK-based companies have researched and addressed issues in Africa for a while. Leading Agri-tech company is Block Commodities is a case in point. Reborn from African Potash, previously a fertilizer/commodity trading company, Block is now deploying blockchain technology to create an efficient ecosystem to support increased agricultural output.

The disruptive potential of blockchain technology can benefits significanty developing economies, enabling organic growth at a local level. This is an important and necessary step to consolidate Africa as a global player in the food market.

“Creating a smart network between the farmers and the outer environment is now achievable because of technology… These things are now available for us to use and create a unique solution for farming problems in Africa,” says Block Chairman Chris Cleverly, highlighting the crucial role of innovation in economic and social growth.

Chris Cleverly has been spending the last 2 weeks in Africa, in Uganda for the upcoming pilot project and then South Africa, where he spent time with the Ramaphosa family, and met key people including Kwame Rugunda, son of Ugandan Prime Minister, the son of South African President, Tumelo Ramaphosa, and his wife Tshepo Motsepe. There were also some key players in the blockchain/cryptocurrency space like Cardano and its owner/inventor Charles Hoskinson.

Block Commodities Chairman Chris Cleverly in his recent visit to Africa

Agriculture represents more than 30% of Africa’s GDP and employs more than 60% of its working population. Yet, because of reduced use of resources and inefficient infrastructure, twenty million Africans face food insecurity, particularly in South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda. By 2025, Africa’s annual food is estimated to rise to $110 billion.

Long-term economic growth relies very much on exploiting the potential of the continent, both concerning natural and human resources wisely and the numbers above evidence the urgency which Africa needs sustainable long-lasting solutions.

May’s announcement follows the 2018 Blockchain report from Liquid Telecom which praises tech initiatives at local level and says they are keys to ensure the continent moves forward.

The report highlights Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa as the economies leading tech innovation in the continent.

The core objective of technological advancements is ultimately to bring positive change and improve quality of life. The best way to do so is to understand problems to their root, and develop creative solutions to issues that are proper to one area

“Technology and science innovation is not just the development of new technologies or discoveries but is often the novel application of an existing technology to specific local needs and limitations. In many cases, such breakthroughs are not ‘pure’ technology but rather solutions based on the ability of a local innovator to recognize a challenge, develop a deep understanding of its causes and opportunities, study the local landscape, scan the globe for best practices, and design a creative, implementable approach that is relevant, adaptable and scalable” said HE Ameenah Gurib- Fakim, President of Mauritius (2015–2018) in a speech at the Chatham House.

A new era is surging in Africa thanks to technology.

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