The United Kingdom is looking to beef up its otherwise ‘superficial footprints’ in French-speaking countries in Africa, a statement from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Tuesday suggests.
To this end Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt is visiting Francophone Senegal, the first by a senior British official to the West African country in 20 years.
Hunt is also visiting Anglophone countries, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia and Kenya later this week to make the case for new UK partnerships across Africa as Britain negotiates an exit from the European Union later this year.
While in Ghana, Hunt welcomed new business deals with British companies after the Ghanaian government approved a £26 million agreement with British business Aqua Africa to reduce water poverty in the country.
Hunt is championing a new British diplomatic push across the continent, including French-speaking countries where Britain has traditionally played a smaller role.
On Monday, Hunt saw how the Royal Navy is training Senegalese naval special forces in a bid to protect Senegal’s new offshore oil and gas installations.
The UK has announced it will fund a new £4 million English language programme in French and Portuguese speaking countries across Africa.
While in Dakar, Jeremy Hunt launched the ‘English Connects’ programme at the Université Virtuelle du Sénégal.
Over the next two years, it will support the teaching and learning of English in sub-Saharan Africa countries where English is not widely spoken.