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Midlands giants to represent best of British business on Prime Minister’s first trip to Africa

Staffordshire’s JCB will accompany Theresa May on her first visit to Africa as she sets out the growing opportunities on offer to UK businesses across the continent.

The global leader in manufacturing construction equipment will be travelling alongside the Prime Minister as one of 29 delegates representing the very best of British business in technology, infrastructure and financial and professional services.

Visiting South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya over the course of the trip, they will meet with leading businesses, policy makers and entrepreneurs in order to build new investment, trading and export ties between the UK and these emerging markets.

Bombardier Transportation UK, which employs 2,000 people in its main design and production facility based in Derby, will also join the Prime Minister throughout the visit.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “The Midlands Engine is at the heart of UK growth, and we are supporting businesses of all sizes across the region to reach their potential.

This visit will showcase the opportunities available for businesses in the Midlands and all around the UK to forge new trading and export relationships with our African partners.

I’m pleased that Bombardier Transportation and JCB are joining me on this visit to Africa, where as standard bearers for British excellence on the world stage they will represent the unique expertise that UK firms have to offer.”

Richard Hunter, Chairman and Managing Director of Bombardier Transportation UK, said: “Rail is the right economic and environmental transport solution for many countries in Africa. Bombardier has successfully exported trains from Derby to South Africa for the Gautrain project and then worked with the local supply chain to localise production in South Africa.

This visit will be invaluable in maintaining relationships in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria for upcoming rolling stock and signalling opportunities.”

Bombardier’s Derby facility is known around the world as a centre of expertise for rail engineering, where trains for both domestic and overseas markets are designed, manufactured, assembled and tested all on site.

JCB has a global footprint spanning over 150 countries, employing more than 14,000 people worldwide. Headquartered in Rocester, it is the market leader for construction equipment in the UK, Europe, Russia and India and will use the trip to further its trade across Africa.

Africa is developing fast; more than half of the anticipated growth in global population between now and 2050 is expected to occur in Africa, and according to the International Monetary Fund, African economies are amongst the fastest growing in the world, making it a significant trading and investment partner for the UK.

During the visit, the Prime Minister will set out how new partnerships between the UK and Africa can add value to the UK economy, create new market opportunities for British businesses, and boost jobs and prosperity for the benefit of all.