Boris Johnson announces £160 million for hydropower in Africa

UK wants to be partner of choice in transforming millions of lives, says UK premier

James Tasamba   | 23.06.2022
Boris Johnson announces £160 million for hydropower in Africa Credit:

KIGALI, Rwanda

The United Kingdom will offer £160 million ($171 million) for hydropower in Africa to help economies on the continent, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Thursday. 

Johnson, who arrived in Rwanda earlier Thursday for a meeting with Commonwealth leaders, spoke at a business forum after meeting Rwandan President Paul Kagame and discussing existing partnerships between Rwanda and the UK, including a controversial migrants deal.

Johnson said what he felt so strongly about the Commonwealth is that it is not just about imports and exports but partnerships they build and doing more together to ensure that everyone prospers from the new green industrial revolution.

“It’s great to announce that British International Investment (is) putting £160 million into hydropower in Africa, creating 180,000 jobs, including here in Rwanda, while at the same time cutting carbon emissions, generating electricity for 3 million people,” he said.

Citing Kenya, which gets 90% of its electricity from renewable sources, Johnson said many African countries are blessed with the ability to power economies entirely with hydro and solar and wind energy.

“I see a fantastic future for all of us in these initiatives, for all of us. And we, with our Clean Green Initiative in the UK, want to be the partner of choice of our African friends as you transform millions of lives with modern infrastructure, meeting the highest standards of transparency and environmental protection,” he said.

He described the Commonwealth as a "miracle fertilizer, a fertilizer of business" that grew countries’ businesses, expanded their profits and cut costs, by 21%.

The prime minister stressed that the UK, with its technology and finance, the government and commonwealth have the will and “super fertilizer” to be sprinkled across association member countries.

“I can prove that fertilizer knocks 21% off the cost of trade between commonwealth members. That’s 21% bigger profits if you do deals between the commonwealth that’s 21% efficiencies without the expense of management consultants,” he said. “And now is the time, my friends, to turbocharge those advantages, because over the next five years, the commonwealth’s total GDP is forecast to rise by nearly 50% to $19.5 trillion. And these are the markets, super fertilized markets, that will power growth and prosperity and create jobs in our countries, and at the same time help to ease those pressures that we all face on the cost of living.”

Johnson said earlier that he hoped the commonwealth meeting would address global challenges, from hunger to climate change and turbocharge trade with some of the world’s most dynamic economies.

“With our shared values, history and language – the Commonwealth is a unique and vital association,” he tweeted.

The 2022 Commonwealth Business Forum drew 1,500 delegates from Commonwealth member states' governments.

The three-day forum addressed the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) theme -- Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming, with a focus on "A Global Reset,” dealing with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the commonwealth's role in rebuilding and reinvigorating the global economy.

The forum is one of a series of events under the 26th CHOGM which will end Saturday.

Heads of governments from 54 commonwealth countries are discussing ways how the contemporary commonwealth can transform societies.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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