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UK’s East Midlands businesses told to consider Africa for post-Brexit opportunities

Leicester, (The Southern African Times) – More East Midland business should start thinking about doing post-Brexit deals with Africa, according to senior trade advisors.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) and the Midlands Engine hosted a “virtual visit” to the region to discuss opportunities for the regions businesses to help meet a growing demand across Africa for British goods, services, and expertise.

The event included input from Emma Wade-Smith OBE, HM Trade Commissioner for Africa.

She told business and university leaders that Africa’s accelerating population growth has made it the fastest-urbanising region in the world, generating potential business opportunities for UK businesses looking to export and invest.

The DIT said five of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies are in Africa with demand coming from sectors such as automotive, healthcare, life sciences, education, food & drink, defence & cyber-security and rail.

Some of its existing, large, industrialised economies include South Africa and Nigeria and high-growth economies include Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.

Ms Wade-Smith said: “With the increasing growth of consumer groups, the acceleration of digitisation, and the emerging spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship across Africa, the continent is becoming a global economic powerhouse and a hotspot for trade and investment.

“Look to Africa for your next market – the opportunities are real and plentiful.

“My team of upwards of 120 staff across 23 key African markets are here to support your international ambitions in the region.

“We deliver advisory services to UK companies interested in exporting to Africa and can help with route to market support, including market entry and access advice and information on market barriers.”

Ian Harrison, DIT’s head of exports in the Midlands, said: “Our job is to connect British businesses with the right contacts and know-how in order to reach their full potential.

“The opportunities that Africa presents play well to our regional strengths and sectoral expertise.

“I’d encourage any business that’s looking to increase their international footprint in Africa to get in touch with our dedicated team of International Trade Advisers based in the Midlands and access the support on offer.

“Because we know Africa is such a huge opportunity we will also have member of my team based in South Africa who will cover the continent for our businesses.

“By being on the ground floor we want to the first to seize new opportunities.”

Emma Wade-Smith leads a team of trade advisers across Africa promoting international trade and investment, and championing free trade across the continent.

She is the first ever UK trade commissioner for Africa, and was appointed to the role in May 2018 having created and led the pan-African regional trade team since April 2017.

She has lived and worked in South Africa since February 2016, having initially arrived in that country to be the UK’s Trade Director for Southern Africa.

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