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London to play 'greater role' in Africa after Brexit

PICTURED: Prime Minister Theresa May arrives in Abuja, Nigeria, on day two of her trip to Africa, wearing a jacket by Nigerian designer Okoro Emmanuel from his brand Emmy Kasbit.

AS THE UK leaves the European Union, the City of London will play an even greater role in financing the fastest-growing economies across Africa and the world, the Prime Minister said yesterday (Aug 289 in Nigeria.

May visited securities exchange company FMDQ in Lagos which is playing a central role in developing, driving and diversifying Nigeria’s booming financial market.

UK-Nigeria trade was worth £4.2 billion last year and British companies including British Airways, GSK, Shell, Diageo, Unilever and Standard Chartered have successful and long-established operations in Nigeria, many of which date back to the 1930s.

111 African companies have already come to the UK to list on the London Stock Exchange, to raise money in one of the world’s leading financial centres. Today Theresa May will welcome the commitment from manufacturer Dangote Cement to list on the LSE as she meets CEO Alike Dangote.

To encourage even deeper collaboration on capital markets between London and Lagos, the Prime Minister announced the launch of a new initiative to further support Nigeria’s capital markets regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Britain is a leading global hub for FinTech which contributes over £5 billion to the UK economy every year and Lagos is at the forefront of FinTech innovation in Africa. The first UK-Africa FinTech partnership will use the UK’s unique expertise to support African entrepreneurs, improve access to financial services for consumers and encourage new investment.

Nigerian entrepreneurs will be connected with UK FinTech investors and business mentors to get the finance and advice they need to start and grow their companies, while a dedicated fund worth up to £2 million will support Nigerian innovators as they turn their ideas into successful businesses.

To support African entrepreneurs and help British companies enter this rapidly expanding market the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority will work with regulators in Africa to share UK’s successful experience of developing regulation and policies that encourage innovation and protect consumers. The FCA will also explore new mechanisms to help financial innovators try out new ideas.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Already the finance and business links between Lagos and London are bringing enormous benefits to businesses and people in the UK and in Nigeria and today’s announcements deepen this burgeoning partnership even further.

“London is a world leading financial centre and as the UK leaves the European Union, it will play an even greater role in financing the fastest-growing economies across Africa and the world.”

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