UK’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has committed his support to ‘Ghana beyond aid’ as he highlights how UK aid is building partnerships and boosting prosperity across the continent, welcoming new business deals with British companies in Ghana and Nigeria worth £82 million.
In Ghana, the cabinet have approved a £26 million agreement with British business Aqua Africa to reduce water poverty in the country. This new business link will create 600 new jobs in the region and will help at least 250,000 people access clean water.
This follows the announcement earlier this year of £130 million of UK Export Finance backed projects, including a £78.4 million project to expand and refurbish Kumasi Market in Kumasi, Ghana’s second city. This project, due to break ground on May 2 2019, is in one of the biggest trading hubs in West Africa, and will provide upgraded, modern facilities allowing the market to grow and prosper, directly supporting Ghana’s economic development.
Travelling to Nigeria later on Tuesday for the inaugural meeting of the UK/Nigeria Economic Development Forum (announced by the Prime Minister last year), the Foreign Secretary also announced a £56 million deal which will see British technology helping to keep Nigeria’s commuters on the move.
Speaking in Abuja the Foreign Secretary announced that British firm Bekoz, in collaboration with pan-African firm Interswitch, will be providing the contactless card technology that allows people to travel around Nigeria’s travel infrastructure, similar to London’s Oyster system.
Much of the manufacturing will be done in Wales, and the deal is expected to create jobs in the UK.
‘I’m delighted to be in Ghana to announce almost £82m worth of new British business deals here and in Nigeria. The economic opportunities we see right now in Africa are tremendous, with enormous potential to grow. We must not see African nations as recipients of our charity, but rather as partners and destinations for our investment and trade,’ Hunt said.
While in Ghana he also announced £30 million of UK funding for building and developing markets for agriculture and trade that create jobs, increase incomes and improve resilience to climate change. The Agricultural Transformation in Ghana (ATG) programme will increase income by 25 percent for over 300,000 farmer households, helping over 1 million individuals by 2025. The UK Department for International Development funding will stimulate at least £60 million in private sector investment aimed at enhancing smallholder farmers’ productivity and resilience.
The business delegation accompanying the Foreign Secretary will include: Aqua Africa, Bechtel, BHM Construction, Biwater, BP, CDC, London Stock Exchange, Ordnance Survey, OSTC and Plexus Cotton.