The UK-Africa Investment Summit took place in London today. It brought together heads of state and government and senior representatives from African countries, key multilateral agencies and high profile UK and African businesses. Kensington Palace said: "The summit will demonstrate the strength of the relationship between the UK and Africa, showcase and promote the breadth and quality of investment opportunities across Africa, and highlight the UK’s commitment to supporting economic development in Africa, including through the creation of jobs and new partnerships."
Upon arrival, William and Kate enjoyed meeting with guests and leaders from all over the world.
There were plenty of moments like this too.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex were also present. Below, the Countess speaking to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The royals greeting each other warmly.
Little family reunion at tonight’s reception! pic.twitter.com/YnxDG5ie7S— Emily Nash (@emynash) January 20, 2020
Wishing Sophie a very Happy Birthday - she turned 55 today. The Countess was also in red tonight, choosing a red scalloped Alaia dress.
Princess Anne mingling with guests.
The UK's trade with Africa is estimated around £33 billion and between now and 2035, African nations will have to create 20 million jobs per year to keep pace with the rapidly growing population. The government revealed "In the lead up to the summit, £6.5 billion of commercial deals have already been signed by British companies to deliver jobs, growth and investment across the UK and Africa, with deals worth billions more expected to be made during the course of the day. They are expected to mobilise billions of pounds in private sector investment for Africa, marking a new era of trade between the UK and Africa."
More from the Department of International Trade:
'Africa has 8 of the world’s 15 fastest growing economies and there is huge demand on the continent for clean, sustainable and innovative investment. As home to some of the world’s most enterprising technologies and the financial centre of the world in the City of London, the UK is perfectly placed to meet that demand and be the continent’s investment partner of choice. A range of programmes, totalling £370 million, include:
Supporting African countries to meet their rapidly growing energy demands through green energy, including better access to solar energy and electricity. Helping Africa thrive digitally through a £45 million programme helping young Africans, especially women, access the internet, develop digital skills and find jobs. Enabling at least 100,000 more women in Africa to secure high-quality jobs by funding their education and training.
A £200 million programme to help build basic trade infrastructure in southern Africa. The new programme will support upgrades to border posts, ports and roads. It will also work with governments and businesses to improve trade policies and cut red tape. Boosting the flow of private financing into African projects supporting girls’ education, healthcare and climate resilience.'
William and Kate chatting with guests.
During a speech, Prince William shared hopes for future trips to Africa and recalled proposing to Kate in Kenya almost a decade ago. "The African continent holds a very special place in my heart. It is the place my father took my brother and me shortly after our mother died. And when deciding where best to propose to Catherine I could think of no more fitting place than Kenya to get down on one knee." He continued "As Catherine and I have said to several of you here tonight, we hope to have the chance to visit many more countries in the future and share our mutual love of your continent with our children." The video below has footage of William's speech in addition to some lovely interactions between Kate and Sophie. The Countess jokes about forgetting the time for the reception, and Kate tells her "I need to practice my French Sophie".
Another shot from the reception shared by Buckingham Palace.
A group photograph at the Palace.
Earlier today, Prince William met with several leaders including Rwanda's president Paul Kagame. People's Simon Perry revealed the Cambridges would undertake two tours this year. Perhaps visiting several Commonwealth countries in Africa is in the planning?
William greeting Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo.
The Duchess chose a fabulous sparkling red dress by Needle & Thread for the occasion. It's a shorter version of the brands £410 Aurora Sequin Gown. During 'Styling Kate' posts, Needle & Thread has been suggested with some frequency and it's easy to see why. Designs include whimsical, elegant pieces - often times with signature embellishment or sequin detail. Many of their pieces would be ideal for Kate, I hope we see more in her evening-wear rotation.
The ruffled neck dress is described as "A vision of tulle and shimmering embellishment, the Aurora gown from Needle & Thread presents a grown-up way to wear sequins. From chevrons and diamonds to floral shapes and horizontal panels, each and every one has been purposefully placed, resulting in a light-catching finish that's sure to garner a whole host of compliments."
A shorter version of the Aurora is available at Net-A-Porter.
Kate teamed the dress her red suede Gianvito Rossi pumps.
And her Jenny Packham Casa clutch.
Kate completed the look with a new pair of statement earrings by Soru Jewellery. Kate's Royal Closet spoke to the brand who revealed they are a 2017 style. They will be available for pre-order tomorrow.
The £140 Ruby earrings are described as: "Handcrafted from 18kt yellow gold vermeil on sterling silver, genuine semi precious ruby gemstones are set within multi facetted sparkling crystals. Slight natural variances may occur between colours, shapes and sizes of the gemstones. We use natural gemstones which may contain internal inclusions, adding to the beauty and uniqueness of each individual gem."