Joining the UK Africa Delegation

This week represents something of a first for us as we head to Africa as part of a UK business delegation lead by David Cameron, the British Prime Minister. Also in attendance is Lord Green, the Minister for Trade and Investment, and Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development, along with a number of prominent business leaders from across the UK.

This trip is exciting for a number of reasons. Firstly, it represents the beginnings of a closer working relationship with government, something we’ve been keen to explore for some time. Secondly, in a visit dominated by big business, it gives us the perfect opportunity to demonstrate what the non-profit sector in the UK has to offer, and highlight many of the exciting developments – and potential – of mobile technology for social good across the African continent:

Africa has always been key for us. Our work is all about technology innovation, and how mobile phones can help solve some of Africa’s bigger problems. As the developers of FrontlineSMS, a piece of free text messaging software used across the continent, our key objective as part of the delegation is to foster closer relationships with the private sector and government, and understand how we can best support local innovation and entrepreneurship in the mobile sector. It remains an area with huge potential

Tonight we’re in Lagos, Nigeria after spending the first full day in Johannesburg and Pretoria. The South African leg of the trip kicked off with breakfast meetings with South African business leaders, followed by a short audience with David Cameron and Jacob Zuma and a quick photo opportunity. An official Press Conference was the final act of the morning, held by both leaders at the government building.

Events back home have lead to the cancellation of the visits to Rwanda and Southern Sudan – a real shame – so we’ll be heading home tomorrow (Tuesday) after lunch meetings with a number of Nigerian politicians. The BBC posted an article earlier today on the Africa visit, and the pressure the Prime Minister is under to return to London.

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