British Prime Minister, Theresa May, today announced plans to boost Britain’s investment in Africa after Brexit, with £4 billion to grow the economies and create jobs for young people.

May, who is visiting the continent as prime minister for the first time, gave the pledge in her speech delivered in Cape Town, South Africa

This is even as she also promised a “fundamental shift” in aid spending to focus on long-term economic and security challenges rather than short-term poverty reduction interventions

On her arrival in South Africa on Tuesday morning, May said that she wanted the UK to overtake the US and become the G7’s biggest investor in Africa by 2022.

She also pledged to continue existing economic links based on the UK’s EU membership, including an EU-wide partnership with the Southern African Customs Union and Mozambique – after Brexit next year.

May explained that the additional £4 billion in direct UK government investment was expected to be complemented by by the private sector investments, pointing out that while the UK could not match the economic might of some foreign countries such as China or the US, the country however offered long-term opportunities of the highest quality and breadth.

Noting that young people are the future of the African continent, the British leader defended the UK’s aid spending in Africa, saying that such interventions have given millions of children and women an education and immunise millions against deadly diseases.

May pledged a new approach in future, focusing on helping British private sector companies invest in fast-growing countries like Cote D’Ivoire and Senegal while support other states under the threat of Islamic extremists such as Chad, Mali and Nigeria.

Statistics on the UK’s overseas aid budget showed that the country provided £13.9 billion for aid in 2017, representing an increase of £555 million over the sum budgeted in the preceding year.

According to data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), UK direct investment in Africa was £42.7 billion in 2016, compared with £44.3 billion from the US, £38 billion from France and £31 billion from China,