The President of African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has called for more robust trade between the United Kingdom and Africa as trade between UK and the continent is trending downward.
The AfDB’s Communication and External Relations Department quoted Adesina as saying this on Tuesday at the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London.
He explained that UK’s trade with Africa had decreased from a $49 billion peak in 2012 to $30.6 billion in 2018.
He said: “The decline in UK trade and investment in Africa is against a backdrop of projected business-to-business and consumer-to-consumer expenditures of $5.6 trillion by 2020, and a food and agriculture market worth $1 trillion by 2030.
“The fact that we are having this conversation in the UK Parliament is a great start. The convening of this Summit by Prime Minister Boris Johnson is an even greater start.
“Trading under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which represents a market of more than 1.3 billion people and a gross domestic product of $2.5 trillion was the world’s largest free trade area since establishment of the World Trade Organisation.”
Adesina said the bank had been a forerunner in the race to rapidly close the continent’s infrastructure gap, which he suggested be renamed “Africa’s infrastructure demand opportunity.”
According to him, Investors who tapped early into information and communications technology infrastructure in Africa have seen those investments become game changers for Africa.
He said: “Today, Africa has over 440 million cell phone subscribers. Returns on digital infrastructure are very high as the continent expands broadband infrastructure to boost connectivity and improve services.
“Just under two decades ago, Africa had fewer telephones than Manhattan in New York. Today, Africa has over 440 million cell phone subscribers. Returns on digital infrastructure are very high as the continent expands broadband infrastructure to boost connectivity and improve services.”
Adesina added that the bank had been a major investor in infrastructure development in the electricity, transport and water sectors across Africa.
The President noted that the Cumulative Bank funding for infrastructure on the continent rose by 22 per cent from $66.9 billion in 2016 to $81.6 billion in 2017.
He said within the same period, the value of infrastructure projects with private sector participation increased from $3.6 billion to $5.2 billion.