A summit British government hosts to bring the leaders of 21 African countries with major investors in London is underway on Monday. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will use the UK-Africa Investment Summit for the U.K. as the "investment partner of choice" for African countries, a government statement said. The summit comes only a number of days before the U.K.’s departure from the EU, and the British government is constantly eyeing new investment and trade deals with countries other than the EU ones.
In his opening remarks, Johnson highlighted the U.K.’s "expertise and innovation in technology, clean growth, infrastructure and finance which can feed the continent’s demand for sustainable growth."
He said Britain is now leaving the promotion of thermal coal mining and coal power plants overseas.
He said: “A decade ago we were one of the most carbon-heavy nations in Europe. Today we’re a world leader in offshore. We regularly generate more of our electricity from renewables than from fossil fuels. And we have almost entirely weaned ourselves off coal.”
“But there’s no point in the UK reducing the amount of coal we burn if we then trundle over to Africa and line our pockets by encouraging African states to use more of it.
“We will breathe the same air, we live beneath the same sky, we all suffer when carbon emissions rise and the planet warms.” he added.
Johnson also said: “From today, the British government will no longer provide any new direct official development assistance, investment, export, credit or trade promotion for thermal coal mining or coal power plants overseas.”
“To put it simply, not another penny of UK taxpayers money will be directly invested in digging up coal or burning it for electricity,” he stressed.
Johnson said the U.K.’s immigration system is changing and it will become fairer, treating people the same wherever they come from, adding that the event is "the first time governments and businesses from the U.K. and Africa have come together for an event of this scale."
The government statement said "deals worth billions of pounds will be announced at the summit."
"These will drive jobs and growth in all parts of the UK and in Africa, benefiting a range of British companies from family firms to major multinationals," it said.
“All new investments will reflect the Prime Minister’s commitment to build long-term, sustainable relationships in Africa underpinned by our values and high standards,” added the statement.
The summit will involve a number of sessions with speakers from the governments and businesses in the UK and Africa.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Development Secretary Alok Sharma, Trade Secretary Elizabeth Truss and Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom are also representing the U.K. in the summit.
Leaders attending the summit will be hosted at a reception at the Buckingham Palace by the Duke of Cambridge Prince William.