Emma Wade-Smith OBE

  • "These impressive companies represent just the tip of a very large iceberg of talented and inspiring people"

Emma Wade-Smith OBE, UK Trade Commissioner for Africa

I’ve been living and working in Africa for just a few years, so I’m relatively new. But already I’m hooked by the business innovation and determination I see across the continent.

As Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Africa, my focus is on increasing trade and investment flows – in both directions – between Africa and the UK. Our trade relationship increased by nearly 12% in 2017, and the UK is the second largest foreign investor in Africa. This is good, but there is so much more we can do together, including to deliver the Prime Minister’s ambition for the UK to be the largest G7 investor in Africa by 2022.

With a rapidly urbanising population, some of the most dynamic economies in the world and the fastest growing middle class on the planet, Africa offers many exciting opportunities for doing business. And with a vibrant consumer base, one of the largest and best-connected economies, and a world-class capital market, the UK offers a wonderful platform from which to grow an international business.

The UK government is working with governments across Africa to ensure continuity in trading arrangements as the UK leaves the EU, so that businesses and entrepreneurs have the certainty they need to thrive and invest. We are moving more resources into Africa to help build business environments that will enable more trade and investment flows within Africa, and to the rest of the world, too.

Africa’s new and rapidly growing businesses – some of which are showcased in this report – represent the strong heartbeat of this continent’s economies, bringing innovative products to more markets, transforming services, and creating the millions of jobs we need for current and future generations.

These impressive companies represent just the tip of a very large iceberg of talented and inspiring people who are building Africa’s international businesses of tomorrow. The Companies to Inspire Africa initiative provides a great platform to highlight the innovation taking place across the continent, and hopefully bring even more investment and partnerships to help these businesses continue to expand.