African opportunities open up for UK firms

Senior figures from some of the UK’s biggest firms gathered in London recently to learn how to break into two of Africa’s fastest emerging markets, Angola and Mozambique.

The event, backed by UKTI and organised by business support company BE Group, was created to help UK businesses forge partnerships with Portuguese companies as an express route into Africa.

Angola and Mozambique are both buoyant, post-civil war economies which are fast emerging as lucrative alternatives to BRIC and CIVETS markets for UK exporters.

Angola is currently in the throes of an oil and gas boom while Mozambique has vast coal and gas reserves and both economies enjoy strong trading links with Portugal – which provides 20% of Angolan imports and is the 4th largest import partner for Mozambique.

Increasingly, UK firms are bidding to access the two African markets by working closely with some of the estimated 8,000 Portuguese companies that operate there.

At the same time, there is growing clamour in buoyant African markets to work British firms, which retain a strong reputation for making trusted partners.

This week influential figures from Angola, Mozambique and Portugal met in London to show UK firms – including some major blue-chips that were in attendance – how they can access new opportunities in the two markets.

Among them was the Portuguese Minister for Economy and Employment, Álvaro Santos Pereira and Mark Simmonds MP, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State.

The private sector was well represented too, with key figures from Ernst and Young, Espirito Santo Bank, Miranda Law, Atkins and Visabeira all in attendance.

The event attracted almost 150 delegates representing over 120 companies.

BE Group’s John Hales said: “From the moment we first started talking about the event, interest levels were unprecedented and the day certainly lived up to expectations. Ministers, ambassadors, and heads of industry gave compelling presentations and British companies made the most of the opportunity to meet with them right up until the last second.”