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Africa and the United Kingdom: challenges and opportunities to expand UK investments

Research reports

Written by Maximiliano Mendez-Parra, Sherillyn Raga

This report highlights the opportunities and challenges facing UK firms when investing or conducting business in Africa, with a particular emphasis on the non-extractive sector. It highlights the mutual benefits for Africa, in terms of economic transformation and growth, and for the UK, in diversifying investments in rapidly expanding markets. The study draws from data on UK investments in Africa, and information provided by more than 75 UK companies operating in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

Currently, UK foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa is heavily focused on the extractive sector and in South Africa. The low penetration of UK FDI beyond mining and financial services and in other countries suggests that there are opportunities as well as challenges to increase the role of British investors in boosting African economies.The increasing population and growing middle class in Africa – expected to account for over 40% of the population by 2030 – bring growth and increased sophistication in consumption, presenting substantial opportunities in sectors where the UK has a strong comparative advantage, including financial services and insurance.

Maximiliano Mendez-Parra, Sherillyn Raga and Lily Sommer