The UK explores new markets and trade deals in Africa to replace the EU
Less than a week is left for the UK to leave the EU. British officials at the European parliament are clearing their desks, while the remaining time is possibly being used to say goodbye to their European counterparts and draft any homework concerning the 11-month transnational period, during which Brexit trade agreements with the EU will be drawn and finalised.
Now the good news is that the UK is free to achieve any trade deals without referring to Brussels or Luxemburg. The UK's next step is to secure new markets and sign new economic and investments deals with non-European partners.
The UK-Africa Investment Summit, which took place on January 20, was organised by the British Government to explore the investment opportunities in the continent – home to 8 of the 15 fastest growing economies in the world.
The Summit, which was the largest annual investment event held for the eighth time outside Africa was attended by Representatives from 21 African states. A number of businessmen leaders as well from the two regions were also among the attendees.
It is necessary now to forge a new set of international alliances and trading deals with new markets be it the US, Australia, Canada or Africa.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, in his capacity as the president of the African Union, inaugurated the summit. Speeches were delivered and enthusiastic ideas were pumped as hopes were high that London will become Africa's new developer.
For the UK, strengthening non-European relations has now become a necessity.
Officials from the British sides included Alok Sharma the International Development Secretary, Elizabeth Truss the Trade Secretary, Andrea
Leadsom the Business Secretary, and Dominic Raab the Foreign Secretary.
The sentence that said and resonated with many at the summit is that the UK is now open for business in Africa.
"The UK was a one-stop shop for investment and business... we're also very much the partner of today, of tomorrow and decades to come," Boris Johnson said in his opening address.
Sisi spoke next and called on Britain to be further engaged in Egyptian development plans in various fields, to double British investments in Egypt and to advance economic cooperation between the two sides.
"Despite the enormity of challenges and their intertwined effects on the African continent, I can say that there are promising and diversified opportunities for the continent's partners, which makes Africa one of the most important destinations for international business institutions," Sisi elaborated.
The closing speech of what was described as a 'historic day', was delivered by Alok Sharma, "We have heard from Heads of State and Governments, as well as young entrepreneurs, tech experts and business leaders. And it is clear that everyone shares that ambition. We started the day with £6.5 billion of deals and have ended with billions more. That is thanks to people in this room."