Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


'Britain's Obama' urges economic ties with West Africa

20 May 2013, 09:03

Accra - A rising star in Britain's Labour Party, described by some as the "British Barack Obama," Chuka Umunna urged the United Kingdom to more aggressively forge ties with West Africa's fast-growing economies.

During a trade mission to West Africa last week that included a stop in his father's home country Nigeria, Umunna, a member of the British Parliament, dismissed the comparison to the United States president.

"Let's not beat around the bush. The reason why people make the comparison is, frankly, there are not that many black people in Western politics," said Umunna, who represents the London district of Streatham and is Labour's shadow business secretary.

"And I'd love to have a situation where you can be elected as a black politician without constantly having comparisons made."

Umunna, 34, grew up in Streatham and worked as a lawyer before being elected to parliament in 2010.

The son of an Irish mother and Nigerian father, he said he made seven or eight trips to Nigeria "for pretty long stays" during his childhood.

But prior to last week's visit, he hadn't been to the country since his father's funeral in 1992.

Umunna said that while West Africa's high growth rate is well-known, he was struck by just how different Nigeria seemed today compared to his last visit, which occurred during a time of military rule.

"It didn't have the feeling of a country that was going anywhere in 1992," he said. But today Nigeria "does have the feeling of a country on the up.

What you find physically and you see on the street matches up with a growth rate of 7 percent, which it is forecast to have this year."

He had similar things to say about Ghana, where at a reception Thursday night hosted by the British High Commission in Accra he said Britain was eager to help develop infrastructure and remove other barriers to economic growth.

"We are acutely conscious that we come here with some humility," he said in brief remarks.

"This is clearly an economy that is taking off, and we know that between 2011 and 2015 Ghana is forecast to be the eighth-fastest growing economy in the world. And of course that is at the same time that our economy in the U.K. has been struggling to grow."

In an interview with The Associated Press, Umunna acknowledged there was a feeling in its former colonies that Britain has been less engaged than other partners such as China, Brazil and India.

"I think it's fair to say that there is a perception that we've been a bit complacent and because of our historical ties have felt somehow that we don't need to put as much effort in," he said.

"I want to be very clear and send out a very strong message to policymakers and business communities in all of the West African countries that the U.K. wants to do business."

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...