READING West MP Alok Sharma has visited Nigeria in his first overseas trip as the newly appointed International Development Secretary.

The visit gave Mr Sharma the chance to see how UK aid is helping generate trade and investment opportunities both for African and British businesses.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and during the two-day trip, which concluded on August 2, Mr Sharma met the country’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as well as Nigerian and British business leaders.

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They discussed the billions of pounds worth of opportunities for UK trade and investment ahead of the UK-Africa Investment Summit, which is due to take place in London next year.

Mr Sharma said: “On my first overseas trip as International Development Secretary to Nigeria, I saw first-hand Africa’s potential and am excited at the prospect of helping to develop this further at next year’s UK-Africa Investment Summit in London.

“I saw how a power plant, part-funded by UK aid, is lighting up schools and hospitals, creating jobs and supporting economic growth. This is lifting people out of poverty and helping to grow Britain’s trading partners of the future.

“A prosperous, growing and trading Nigeria is firmly in the UK’s interests and our relationship will continue to thrive as we leave the EU.”

Whilst there, Mr Sharma also visited a primary school in northern Nigeria to see how UK aid is helping children receive at least 12 years of quality education.

The programme includes training teachers to deliver core subjects like English, maths and science, as well as improving school enrolment and attendance.

Since 2015, UK aid has helped 360,000 children gain a decent education in Nigeria which will in turn help them find jobs and boost incomes.