The UK’s International Development Minister, Andrew Murrison has said that the UK-Africa Investment Summit will help forge closer trading partnerships to deliver more investment, jobs and growth benefitting people and businesses across Africa and the UK.
He made the statement during a visit to Clarke Energy in Merseyside, Liverpool yesterday (15th January), where he opened a new engine repair workshop at the engineering company, to make power plants across Africa, including in Nigeria, more efficient and support Africa’s drive for clean energy.
Opening the workshop, Minister Murrison met the Overhaul and Repair Centre Manager, Dave Nicholls, to see first-hand how high efficiency gas engines are being repaired in Knowsley in Merseyside and sent back to African nations. Similar units being deployed across Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and Cameroon will improve the reliability of power to businesses and communities, helping to keep the lights on and power flowing in countries with unstable energy systems.
During the visit he heard how the engineering company will provide 10MW in electrical output in Kano and has secured contracts with Nigerian companies Mamuda Group, a conglomerate with over 7,000 employees in the region, and a beauty and personal care & home care firm Aspira Nigeria. By supplying natural gas engines, this will help reduce costs, lower emissions and benefit whole communities.
Dr Murrison also announced a new DFID-funded testing lab for solar products ensuring that solar panels and appliances meet global standards and households have access to good quality, reliable clean energy.
Following his visit, Minister Murrison said:
“Clarke Energy is just one great example of how UK businesses – including those from Liverpool – are already leading the way in investing in Africa.
“Clarke Energy’s investment in Africa shows how UK expertise, technology and innovation are improving access to cleaner forms of energy, which can be replicated by businesses across the UK and Africa.“
Touring the engineering company, Minister Murrison learned more about the business’s ambition to change the future of Africa’s energy supplies and the use of green energy across the continent.
Alex Marshall, Director for Marketing and Compliance at Clarke Energy said:
“The knowledge the UK Government has both locally in the North West of England and across Africa is outstanding and helped us to navigate what can be a tough market with political considerations, language and cultural differences.
“Being part of what’s set to be the world’s third largest mosque is a key milestone in our exporting journey and our work with the UK government has been core to that success. If a business from Knowsley can export on such a large scale, with the right support and hard work, anyone can make a success of trading overseas.”
The visit comes ahead of the UK-Africa Investment Summit, held in London on 20 January 2020, which will bring together UK and African leaders, businesses, and entrepreneurs.
By 2050, more than 2 billion people will live in Africa and 1 in 4 global consumers will be African. Businesses like Clarke Energy are ensuring that the British economy is seizing this opportunity and are investing in the trading partners of the future today.
At a Media Briefing last Monday in Lagos, Harriet Thompson – the British Deputy High Commissioner said:
“The UK-Africa Investment Summit is a major opportunity to support growth, development and job creation in Nigeria, including HE President Buhari’s commitment to expanding agriculture, manufacturing and infrastructure.”
“Nigeria will be highly visible: the only country to participate in every AIS event, and Nigeria’s companies will be out in force: one in seven of the African companies attending will be Nigerian. Every session of the Summit will feature Nigerian participants. We want them to come back with new partnerships that will boost investment and create jobs and sustainable economic growth in Nigeria
“This is a prime opportunity for Nigeria to make its pitch to quality British companies and investors, demonstrating not only the scale and breadth of commercial opportunities here in Nigeria, but also Government’s commitment to improving the business environment. Global competition for investment is fierce. Nigeria will need to compete for its share, addressing those areas that businesses still find a challenge, such as customs and tax procedures.
“The UK Government stands ready to assist, and to bring our companies here to be part of the growth story we want to see. That’s ultimately the goal of the Summit: to attract investors for the mutual benefit of Nigeria and the UK.”