UK seeks to strengthen partnership with DRC, by Dr. Alastair McPhail, CMG OBE, UK Envoy for the UK-Africa Investment Summit 2024

As the UK envoy for the UK-Africa Investment Summit (UK-AIS) to be held in London on 23-24 April 2024, I look forward to visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo to discuss the how the UK and DRC can strengthen their partnership through our collaboration at UK-AIS and beyond.

My first international visit as a UK envoy is to the DRC because the DRC is important to the UK and the world – with Africa’s fourth largest population and the second largest rainforest of the world, the world cannot fight climate change and achieve the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) without the DRC. The DRC has immense potential: large expanses of arable land, favorable agro-climatic conditions, enormous mineral resources, including those essential to the energy transition, hydroelectric, solar and wind potential sufficient to power a large part of sub-Saharan Africa, and a young, dynamic and enterprising population.

Creating and strengthening partnerships is the foundation of UK-AIS – modern partnerships that promote jobs and economic growth. The UK wants to use the summit to establish long-term partnerships with African countries, including the DRC, that are mutually beneficial, rooted in respect and which take into account the wishes and needs of African countries. We want the summit to help governments, businesses and investors recognize the innovation and potential of African partners and act accordingly. We want it to showcase British and African talent and the role of the UK and the City of London, as sources of public and private funding, in supporting countries’ future economic capabilities. Africans.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will personally welcome UK-AIS to London. We hope that the DRC will participate at the highest levels and I visited the DRC to discuss the DRC’s participation. Our wish is to strengthen and develop our extensive and long-standing ties with the DRC.

Building on the UK-Africa Investment Summit held in London in 2020 and attended by His Excellency President Felix Tshisekedi, we aim to deepen our investment partnership to to promote growth and mutual prosperity. The UK has invested in the DRC to build green electricity generation facilities, including new solar and hydroelectric facilities; to connect cities to an electricity grid for the first time; to expand the DRC’s mobile telephone and fiber optic networks; and to invest in promising small and medium-sized businesses, helping them to grow, create jobs and pay taxes. British investment has made it easier for businesses to start, operate and grow in the DRC. These programs have improved the incomes of more than a million people, streamlined business registration, supported new energy businesses and projects, and improved access to farmers to better types of seeds.

The UK-AIS initiative will demonstrate the impact and value of partnership with the UK, particularly as a leading investor in Africa, according to the UNCTAD World Investment Report 2023 (United Nations Conference on trade and development); a major center for finance, business, innovation and global services; a leader in the green economies and technologies of the future, and a home for diverse and well-connected African diasporas.

The UK-AIS will also realize concrete opportunities for mutual benefits in terms of prosperity, growth and jobs, by securing major investments in African countries, including the DRC; showcasing the strengths, capabilities and innovations of African partners to a broad UK and African public and private sector audience; supporting policies that improve trade integration, market access, exports and youth jobs; and promoting the economic potential of women in business management and employment.

I see this summit as a promising opportunity for the United Kingdom and the DRC. It is an honor to travel to the DRC to advance this important partnership.

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Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.