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Boris Johnson pledges ‘regular’ Africa summits after meeting with leaders

It follows a series of talks in London as part of the UK-Africa investment conference this week.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomes Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta to 10 Downing Street, London, ahead of a bilateral meeting (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomes Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta to 10 Downing Street, London, ahead of a bilateral meeting (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomes Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta to 10 Downing Street, London, ahead of a bilateral meeting (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Boris Johnson has vowed to invite African leaders to the UK “regularly” following the investment summit in London this week.

The Prime Minister made the pledge in a bilateral meeting with Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta at Downing Street, and said “a lot of progress” had been made during the talks.

Opening the UK-Africa Investment Summit in the Capital’s Docklands on Monday, Mr Johnson set out his post-Brexit trade pitch to African leaders with his vision to put “people before passports” as part of incoming plans for an Australian-style points-based immigration system.

That’s the first time in a very long time we have had, as Africans, this kind of exchange with the United KingdomKenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta

The Conservative Party leader tempted premiers from across the continent with the UK’s financial and education systems, and took time to meet with the leaders of Rwanda, Ghana and Nigeria at the event.

In a continuation of bilateral meetings, the PM told Mr Kenyatta he wanted to hold the gathering of African leaders more often.

In their opening exchanges at Number 10, Mr Kenyatta said the conference had been “great”, adding: “That’s the first time in a very long time we have had, as Africans, this kind of exchange with the United Kingdom.”

The PM replied: “It is about time. We are going to do them regularly.”

The pair used their meeting to discuss collaborating on tackling climate change ahead of the global conference, the COP26 – due to be held in Glasgow in November – while also raising the terror threat posed by al-Shabab in East Africa, a Number 10 spokesman confirmed.

With the EU departure coming on January 31, Mr Johnson pledged this week to be a partner “through thick and thin” with African nations as he eyes fresh trade deals across the globe.

He had also used the conference to announce an end to UK support for thermal coal mining or coal power plants overseas in a bid to use trade to tackle the climate crisis.

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The Duke of Cambridge and President Kenyatta at St James’s Palace (Victoria Jones/PA Wire)

The Duke of Cambridge and President Kenyatta at St James’s Palace (Victoria Jones/PA Wire)

PA Wire/PA Images

The Duke of Cambridge and President Kenyatta at St James’s Palace (Victoria Jones/PA Wire)

The invitation to Downing Street followed Mr Kenyatta’s talks with the Duke of Cambridge to discuss ending the “abhorrent crime” of illegal wildlife trade, following what William called an “encouraging” year of seizures and investigations.

William had welcomed the Kenyan president to St James’s Palace on Tuesday for a meeting of the United for Wildlife Taskforces, a group that works to combat illegal wildlife trade by bringing together conservation organisations, law enforcement, governments and global corporations.

In an earlier meeting with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi at No 10, the PM praised his North African counterpart’s “excellent” speech at the summit.

The pair used their encounter to discuss the on-going conflict in Libya, a country Egypt shares its western border with, and the push for peace.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “The leaders discussed the situation in Libya, following their attendance at the Berlin conference on Libya on Sunday.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (Henry Nicholls/PA)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (Henry Nicholls/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (Henry Nicholls/PA)

“The Prime Minister stressed the need for a ceasefire and for UN-led talks to find a political solution to the conflict.”

The two leaders agreed on the need to increase trade between the UK and Egypt and “welcomed” the resumption of flights to Sharm El Sheikh, the No 10 spokesman confirmed.

The Government lifted the four-year ban on flights into the Egyptian resort in November, having outlawed them in 2015 following the bombing of a Russian airliner shortly after take-off, killing all 224 people on board.

The Department for Transport lifted restrictions last year due to “improvements in security procedures” and “close cooperation between our aviation security experts and their Egyptian counterparts”.

PA