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Ambassador Catriona Laing on the UK PM’s ambitious three-nation trip to Africa

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UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya is the UK’s BIG story this week. Ambassador Catriona Laing comments on the ambitious trip and looks forward to what the trip might mean for Zimbabweans.

 BY CATRIONA LAING

“This trip is the first to Sub-Saharan Africa made by a British prime minister since 2013. We believe that this trip is incredibly important for every country in the region. If you read the official press release below you’ll see that Theresa May’s visit comes at a time of both enormous change and unique opportunity, both for the whole of Africa and for the UK. The UK is keen to invest in deepening and strengthening its partnerships with African nations, partnerships established on an equal footing.

One of the UK companies that’s represented in the prime minister’s delegation is Farm.ink, which I believe could be of particular interest to many Zimbabweans. Farm.ink is an online platform that’s designed to connect African farmers. Every day more than 50,000 farmers in Africa consult Farm.ink. That to me looks like a pretty impressive reach. Companies like Farm.ink are a great example of the kind of people-to-people connections that UK wants to build in and with Africa. In my time in Zimbabwe, which is sadly coming to an end, I’ve been struck time and time again by Zimbabweans’ creativity and innovative skill. This is where this nation’s greatest potential lies – in its own people, developing and utilising Zimbabwe’s natural resources. Do check out Farm.ink’s website (http://farm.ink/)

Of course, in Zimbabwe and across Africa, the largest slice of the population are the youths. On this trip the prime minister will commit particularly to helping support the next generation of ambitious young Kenyans as they seek to build a more prosperous country in the years ahead. One of the things that I’ve found most energising about my time in Zimbabwe has been the chance to interact with so many charismatic, brilliant young Zimbabweans. This week I’ll be meeting more of them at our Chevening send-off event in Harare. Their passion and their plans for the future give me hope.”

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