BY Victoria Ojeme
The UK Government has appointed Helen Grant MP, a British-Nigerian, as new Trade Envoy to Nigeria.
UK Trade Envoys are appointed by the British Prime Minister, and Helen Grant’s role will be to provide support to the UK Government’s trade and investment priorities in Nigeria through high-level engagement with Nigerian Ministers, by leading trade delegations, engaging key businesses in the market and promoting bilateral trade.
They promote trade for UK businesses in selected high-growth and developing markets around the world, and support the activities of the UK’s Department of International Trade.
Born in London to a British mother and a Nigerian father, Helen Grant is married with two sons. She is a graduate of law, from the University of Hull, and set up her own legal practice specialising in family breakdown and domestic violence before becoming the first female Anglo-African Conservative Member of Parliament, when she was elected MP for Maidstone and The Weald in 2010, winning three consecutive elections since then.
Her impressive political career includes serving as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice and for Women and Equalities, under former Prime Minister David Cameron’s coalition Government, and later, Minister of State for Sport and Tourism. She also served as Conservative Party Vice Chairman for Communities, focussing on issues concerning diversity, inclusion, equality, social cohesion, racism and discrimination under former Prime Minister Theresa May’s government.
Speaking on her appointment as the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Nigeria, Helen Grant said:
‘I am absolutely delighted with my appointment as the Prime Minister’s UK Trade Envoy to Nigeria. Both countries are close to my heart, my father being Nigerian and my mother English. Now I have an opportunity to employ my rich dual heritage to help magnify an already strong UK–Nigerian relationship for our mutual prosperity.
As the largest and fastest growing economy on the African continent, the potential for trade and investment with Nigeria is stunning. I will do my utmost to help develop that as part of our nation’s collective drive toward an outward looking global Britain.’
As a champion of inclusivity and human rights, in and outside of politics, Helen has also lent her voice to bringing businesses together with people of diverse and under-represented backgrounds as former Chair of the Government’s Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network, and as a former Trustee of both the Social Mobility Foundation and the Human Trafficking Foundation.
Helen Grant is Nigeria’s second Trade Envoy since the program launched in 2012, succeeding John Howell MP.
She is looking forward to visiting Nigeria before the end of the year. In her spare time, she enjoys tennis, movies, following African affairs and sporting events.