Africa needs to seize this golden chance

The world is raring to do business on a continent still held back by vested interests and state meddling

This week’s UK-Africa Investment Summit will provide a welcome business-focused forum for leaders to assess the challenges and opportunities for African countries. Investors are eager to have a positive impact on development, while seeking portfolio diversification and sound returns. Significant progress has been achieved in Africa over the last decade – thanks to the efforts of a new generation of policymakers and business leaders emerging across the continent.

In countries such as Ethiopia, people are urging their governments to push forward with ambitious reforms. The spread of new technologies…

How can Keir Starmer save Labour from Jeremy Corbyn after selling out to help him?

After Jeremy Corbyn ruined Christmas for Labour members by leaving their party in the most politically irrelevant and weak state it has ever been, they have been craving reasons for optimism.

Those reasons have been thin on the ground given how emphatically Mr Johnson and the Tories won last month’s election, leaving Labourites to scrabble around in search of succour like a parched man in the desert. But the brewing Labour leadership contest has given them hope that recovery is possible.

Sir Keir Starmer is now looked upon as the new messiah. The mounting polling evidence suggesting he is destined to succeed is being received like manna from heaven by those who have been driven to despair by…

Letters: Reasons to be cheerful as the Prime Minister leads Britain out of political deadlock

SIR – Douglas Murray’s uplifting article was spot on. The Tory landslide has transformed our political landscape. Not only are we getting Brexit done, but we are also doing it with a renewed air of optimism.

Boris Johnson has given us reason to be cheerful. He has the makings of a great prime minister, and the mandate to deliver life-changing opportunities in the North. If he delivers, the Tories will be in power for a generation.

Dr Alistair A Donald
Watlington, Oxfordshire


SIR – Much as I welcomed the outcome of the debate on the Withdrawal Bill, the tone appalled me.

MPs ignored the many calls for healing and set a miserable example to the country with their gloating, insults and cheap jibes….

Don’t panic about young people putting off marriage

I always marvel when reading magazines from the 1970s, which I often do for research, at how young people were when they moved into life’s serious phase. Women in their mid-twenties regularly wrote in talking about the strains and pleasures – but mostly the strains – of life as a married mum of three.

Today, when it comes to reaching the benchmarks of adulthood, we have slowed right down, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). We are having children later, getting married later (or not at all), getting divorced later, and becoming grandparents later.

It’s tempting to feed this data into a narrative of bad news: today’s adults live in eternal childhood; modernity…

This election result was a personal triumph for Boris Johnson

This election victory belongs to Boris Johnson, and it is an historic one. He has defied political gravity to return the Tories to power with an increase in seats and, with a majority behind him, he will now hopefully rescue Brexit from the doldrums. It’s an incredible turnaround from a few months ago, when the Tories seemed doomed to defeat.

Imagine if that scenario had played out. A Labour-led coalition would have meant more delay and probably the cancellation of Brexit – and that, said Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, was the main reason Labour lost, because the party’s position on the EU satisfied too few. This was only half the story, however. Yes, Labour suffered because it failed to take…

Letters: Voters shouldn’t underestimate the danger of a hung parliament

SIR – As William Hague warns (Comment, December 10), there is a real danger of a hung parliament, which would be disastrous for Britain.

For any government to stand a chance of getting us out of the current deadlock, it will need a strong majority. Every vote for the Liberal Democrats or the SNP, or any of the minor parties, is only going to increase the likelihood of further dither and delay. In fact, voting for Labour is more likely to result in a hung parliament than a majority for Jeremy Corbyn, which nobody expects.

People must use their votes wisely. Only one party can get Britain out of neutral – and that is the Conservatives.

Howard Payne
Horsham, West Sussex


SIR – Many voters are too…

We must mount an attack on the culture of the schools with low aspirations. They are failing our children

A recent research project has found that 25 per cent of teenagers from disadvantaged backgrounds are taking up places at lower ranking universities, despite having good enough A-level results to go somewhere more prestigious. Inevitably, this denies these students enhanced opportunities in life and work. And inevitably, it will provoke the usual panicked response. 

 Increasingly less-veiled threats will be made to our higher-performing universities, and there will be more strident demands that independent schools be subject to a quota. The government will say it’s spent more money on the problem, and Labour will say it will spend even more. Student debt will be cited as having a huge effect on…

I may be ‘posh and dim’, but geography degrees like mine need defending 

If there’s one thing a Geography degree prepares you for, it’s how to grin and bear jokes you’ve heard a thousand times before. As a student there’s little you can do to dodge them. Even many years later, if somebody finds out your undergraduate secret they’ll bring up colouring pencils, leather elbow patches or oxbow lakes. You’d get fewer jokes if you admitted being a swinger – and at least some of those might be original.

All of this is, naturally, deeply unfair. Geologists are the ones forever colouring in maps of rock types and geographers are far happier in a manky fleece than a jacket worth patching up. The oxbow lakes obsession I’ve always found particularly baffling. Why is this the…

Supermarkets have had their chance to cut down on plastic bags. It’s time for a full ban

More than 60 countries around the world have outlawed carrier bags. Britain should join them

If Henry VIII had stashed a bag for life under his kitchen sink at Hampton Court it would still be there to this day. And if that thick polyethylene bag had found its way into the Thames you’d still be able to fish it out of the river five centuries later. Bags for life have become bags for the Ages. And our biggest retailers are dishing them out like there’s no tomorrow. 

Today The Telegraph revealed the true extent of the farce that is the bag for life. In Britain we get through a whopping 1.5 billion of them every year. That’s almost 60 for each and every household in the UK. Tesco alone supplies…