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Africa offers huge prospects for UK businesses

E2Exchange hosts high-profile dinner at which leading entrepreneur and billionaire businessman Bassim Haidar advises UK companies to seize the opportunity.

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“Africa offers huge prospects for business growth, particularly in technology and telecoms, and UK entrepreneurs keen to expand their businesses in the Continent need to go out there and seek the opportunity for themselves.”

This is the advice billionaire businessman and entrepreneur Bassim Haidar, CEO and founder of Channel IT, a leading, high growth telecoms business, gave guests at a high-profile E2Exchange entrepreneur dinner last night. Leading investors and entrepreneurs attending included Sara Murray, founder of Confused.com and Tim Weller, CEO of uSwitch.

Africa has been posting some of the world’s fastest growth rates with the latest World Bank figures forecasting that African economies will see an increase in their growth rates to 5.2 percent in 2015, compared with 4.5% in 2014, with significant investment being made in infrastructure and agriculture and expanding services in telecoms, transportation and finance.

This high-growth backdrop presents a huge opportunity for UK businesses looking to export to the African sub-continent. Bassim urges UK entrepreneurs who want to take advantage of the business opportunities that Africa offers to visit the continent and experience it for themselves:

“Entrepreneurs and start-ups should follow the lead not only of technology giants such as Google but also start-ups including Uber, which have visited the Continent to assess the huge business prospects for themselves. To put this into perspective, the distance between London and Addis Ababa is equal to the distance between Lagos and Addis Ababa which makes Africa as accessible to the UK as it already is to countries within the Continent.”

Business exporting is critical to the success of both SMEs and the wider economy, yet currently only one in five UK SMEs export their products and services compared to an average of one in four across the EU.

Shalini Khemka, CEO of E2Exchange, commented:

“We are delighted for Bassim Haidar, that, as a founding Member of E2Exchange, he has expanded his business to such an extent, since the inception of E2Exhange four years ago. There have recently been a number of excellent initiatives to help SMEs build their export business. However, E2Exchange believes that more specific measures, such as a dedicated export credit guarantee scheme and improved support in understanding the specific rules and regulations for different countries, is needed to unlock the potential that many SMEs have to grow through export, allowing them to play a vital role in the UK’s economic recovery.”