Westminster Africa Business GroupBringing together both business and political activities across Africa
Justine Greening, Secretary of State for International DevelopmentJustine Greening leads the Department for International Development (DFID) - the government department responsible for administering overseas aid. The purpose of DFID is to end extreme poverty worldwide and save lives during humanitarian emergencies. Justine leads the ministerial team and sets the overall strategy and direction of the department. She has final authority over all DFID business and its £12bn budget.
High Commissioner of Mauritius, His Excellency Mr KundasamyH.E Mr Kundasamy is the High Commissioner of Mauritius to the United Kingdom. He has a wealth of knowledge about Africa having been appointed as the High Commissioner to no less than ten Southern African countries. He is accredited to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) secretariats as well as the UN regional office in Nairobi.
Lady Olga MaitlandLady Maitland is the Chair of the Algeria British Business Council, having previously enjoyed a career in journalism and politics. Maitland was a reporter for the Fleet Street News Agency, the Blackheath and District Reporter, and a columnist in the London Sunday Express (1967–91). In 1983 she was founder and thereafter lady chairman of Families for Defence, and from 1992 was President of the Defence and Security Forum. In 1992 Lady Maitland became a conservative MP.
Ethiopian Ambassador, His Excellency Ambassador Berhanu KebedeBerhanu Kebede is the current ambassador of Ethiopia to the United Kingdom. He was appointed in March 2006. He joined the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1978, serving as Ethiopia/EEC Relations Desk Officer. In 1983 he transferred to the Diplomatic Mission in Brussels, with the title of economist. Berhanu participated in negotiations leading to the 1981 and 1985 extensions of the Lomé Convention – an agreement concerning international aid and trade between the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and the European Union – as well as participating in the committees that managed this convention.In 1992 Berhanu returned to Addis Ababa to lead the Western European Division at the Ministry at the rank of Counselor, before taking on the role of Acting Director General for International Organisation and Economic Cooperation in 1993. Later that year he was promoted to Director General, and it was in this role that he represented Ethiopia at all of the Organisation of African Unity Council and Summit conferences held between 1992 and 2000, as well as the Economic Commission for Africa Ministerial Conferences held in this period, chaired the Economic and Social Council meeting of the African Economic Community in June 1998, and served as deputy leader of the Ethiopian delegation to the United Nations from 1993 to 2000.
High Commissioner for Mozambique, His Excellency Carlos dos Santos.Mr dos Santos became his country’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN from 1996-2002. ‘My country had just come out of a violent conflict,’ he recalls. ‘Fighting had ended in 1992, and the country was at a time of national reconstruction and reconciliation and looking for investments to build infrastructure and revive the economy. My job was to pass this message on to the international community.’In 2003 the opportunity arose to become Senior Advisor to Mozambique’s then President, Joaquim Chissano. He describes the job as ‘a great privilege and an honor. I learnt so much from the President, who was also the Foreign Minister for 11 years. I would attend meetings with ambassadors and dignitaries – it’s a great advantage to have had that kind of relationship with a head of state.’The High Commissioner’s plans include not only strengthening bilateral relationships at the political level, but also working with grass-roots organisations, NGOs, academic organisations and others to encourage more people-to-people interaction. On the economic side, he will encourage ‘the UK business community to go to Mozambique to see firsthand what the country is like, what kind of products, resources, strengths and challenges we have.’ He also wants ‘to get support for education, health, agriculture and agri-businesses – all areas that are fundamental for Mozambique’s development. We say Mozambique is not a poor country; it has been impoverished by circumstances and history. But we can move forward if we have the right education; then all the other things, including economic development, will follow.
High Commissioner of Ghana, His Excellency Victor SmithAfter the 2008 general elections, HC Smith became a Presidential Staffer to the late President J. E. A. Mills and was later posted out as Ghana's Ambassador to the Czech Republic. During his tenure as Ambassador, Ghana Czech relations experienced, and continue to benefit from his diplomatic and business acumen. The fact that Ghana's oil and Gas, gold mining, industrial equipment, military hardware and the extractive industry remain attractive to Czech business interests is a testimony to his delicate diplomatic skills and Ghana's use of soft power within the EU economic block. Two years into his posting abroad, President Mills recalled HC Smith back home and appointed him presidential Advisor for special duties.HC Smith's international exposure and deep commitment to harnessing local resources to build human capital served him well when he was later posted to the Eastern Region as Regional Minister.HC Smith's vision in his new role as Ghana's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, with concurrent accreditation to the Republic of Ireland is to help rebrand corporate Ghana as a mutually beneficial investment destination for both British and Irish organizations and skilled Ghanaian professionals in the UK and Ireland. This objective is within the larger diplomatic policy of creating a sustainable commonwealth which through economic bridges and soft power, promotes and deepens trade, cultural and political diversity.Sitting at the heart of this vision is an all-inclusive engagement with various stakeholders spanning the Ghanaian diasporean community, business, politics, culture and media. To achieve and sustain this vision, HC Smith intends to extend a hand of camaraderie to the many interests and groups whose collective activities impact positively on the development efforts of Ghana.
Ambassador of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea to the UK, Her Excellency . Mrs. Mari- Cruz EVUNA ANDEMEHer Excellency Mari-Cruz Evuna Andeme has been the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea to the United Kingdom since October 2012. Prior to her current appointment, Ambassador Evuna served as Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy of Equatorial Guinea in Belgium, and was also accredited to Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden and the European Union.Ambassador Evuna’s Diplomatic Service began in 1996 when she was appointed to the Embassy of Equatorial Guinea to the United States of America. From 2008 to 2012, she worked as a member of the Equatorial Guinea Committee on EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement) with the EU. She was co-ordinator of the General Secretariat of the AU summit in Malabo in 2011. In the years 2007 to 2012, she was a member of the Communications Department of the PDGE’s National Congress.In 1998, she collaborated on several large infrastructure projects in Equatorial Guinea, including the Sipopo Conference annex, the establishment of a fire fighter’s brigade, and the new airport of Mongomeyen. She is also responsible for the La Roche Scholarship Programme granted to Equatorial Guinea students, in Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania).
Lord PopatLord Popat, born in Uganda and came to the UK in 1971. Since then he has had a colourful and varied career. He is a great supporter of both SME's and trade with Africa.
Abubakar Sani Bello the Governor of Niger State, NigeriaAbubakar Sani Bello was sworn in as the Governor of Niger state on 29 May 2015 following a successful career in business. His combined political and commercial experience have helped to shape his economic priorities as he tries to rebalance the state’s economy.
Her Excellency Yamina Karitanyi, High Commissioner for RwandaHE Yamina Karitanyi very kindly agreed to give us an introduction to Rwanda. Rwanda has undergone a startling transformation in recent years, emerging from a horrific past to become a beacon of transparent government, women’s rights, infrastructure and technology development.
Her Excellency Professor Joyce Kakuramatsi Kikafunda, High Commissioner for Uganda HE Professor Kikafunda has been High Commissioner since July 2013, before which she was a professor of agriculture and food science at Makerere University. She will hence be bringing both her experience as a High Commissioner and her expertise in an area of ever increasing importance, both to Uganda and to the rest of Africa. Following on from Lord Popat’s excellent talk last year, HE Professor Kikafunda provided further insights into this fascinating business destination.
On Monday, September 12th, 2016, As in previous years, we bought together businesses, High Commissioners, Ambassadors, Ministers, and members of Westminster with an interest in Africa at our annual terrace event at the House of Commons.
On Wednesday 8th of February 2017, we hosted our Annual Dinner with Priti Patel, at the House of Commons. The Groups first Annual Dinner was held in the Churchill Room at the House of Commons, London. Our Special Guest this year was the Secretary of State for International Development, Priti Patel.
We were pleased to have HE Dr Mohammed Sheriff the Liberian Ambassador to the UK speak at our lunch on the 13th July. Dr Sheriff has held ministerial posts in Liberia and has recently completed his term as Liberian Ambassador to Italy. Dr Sheriff spoke regarding opportunities in all areas and has a special interest in the Oil and Gas, Agricultural and Financial sectors.
Following the success of the previous events, this year our focus was looking at ways to maximise trade between the UK and Africa. The informal environment created a unique opportunity for representatives from the business community to mingle with UK politicians, NGO’s, Ambassador’s and High Commissioners.