Lord Popat appointed as PM’s Trade Envoy
Prime Minister David Cameron appointed Lord Popat as his Trade Envoy to Uganda and Rwanda as part of the Government’s new drive to boost exports.
Announced to coincide with his visit to the economic summit in Davos this week, Cameron has appointed several new senior envoys to key emerging markets. With his new responsibilities, Lord Popat will act as the Prime Minister’s trade representative in the two countries.
The Government are instigating a new strategy towards their target markets through boosting exports. The newly appointed Trade Envoys are seen as a vital part of the new approach.
Lord Popat, who was born in Uganda before moving to the UK in 1971, will be overseeing the Government’s trade approach to both Rwanda and Uganda. Both nations boast strong economic growth, with Rwanda averaging GDP growth of 7.5% over the past five years and Uganda growing by 5% last year.
Speaking shortly after his appointment, Lord Popat said “it is a tremendous honour to be serving the country and the Prime Minister in this new and challenging role. My interests in the Lords have revolved around building stronger ties with Africa, supporting SMEs and increasing exports; this role allows me to do all three.
“Africa’s economic potential is very well documented and it’s important to remember that the continent has roughly the same population as India, yet we do twice as much trade with Africa. Whilst people regularly talk about India as a target market, we overlook Africa’s huge potential, and particularly fast-growing markets like Uganda and Rwanda.
“Whenever I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Africa I hear about the desire for more British goods, and I look forward to using my Swahili and business experience to deliver, both for Uganda and Rwanda and for Britain.”
As well as the appointments of Lords Popat and Lamont, David Cameron has also promoted ten other Trade Envoys. They include former Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont, who will serve as Envoy to Iran following the lifting of economic sanctions.
The new Trade Envoys will work in conjunction with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and UKTI, as well as our Embassies and High Commissions across the globe. They will play a leading role in bringing together the Government’s approach to these nations.
Speaking about the new approach, Trade Minister Lord Maude said “To move the needle on exports and meet our commitments we need to do things differently. We want to make the UK the easiest country in the world to do trade with by making it easier, faster and simpler for more UK businesses to start exporting, generating a more vibrant export support marketplace, and giving more financial support to exporters.”