Theresa May arrives Nigeria, meets Buhari in Aso Rock

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Mrs May is taking part in a trade mission to South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, which also has a focus on security.

She said the comments were based on analysis first released in January that were, at the time, a "work in progress".

Brussels is willing to offer Britain an unprecedented trade deal, the likes of which it has not agreed with any other country, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator said yesterday.

"With exactly seven months until the end of the Article 50 process and less than two months ahead of the October European Council, we face the choice between the pragmatic proposals we are discussing now with the European Commission or no deal", Mr Lidington told France's largest federation of employers yesterday.

"I've said right from the beginning that no deal is better than a bad deal".

The longer timeframe is an indication that negotiators are struggling to make headway, and the risk is that the closer talks run to the UK's exit on 29 March the greater the chance that there will not be a deal.

The Prime Minister failed to impress with her attempts at dancefloor diplomacy, with many comparing her to a robot after footage emerged of her bobbing up and down as she was greeted at a school in Cape Town by a group of pupils dancing energetically.

"Ultimately it will depend on the mutual confidence and drive of the business people in both South Africa and the United Kingdom to ensure that what the political leaders negotiate and decide will be translated into real differences on the ground", Parsons added. The school children symbolised, she said later, the dynamism and creativity of the continent's growing and youthful population.

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"Our integrated global economy means good news for British and African people".

Amirthanayagam also said that it will not take side in Nigeria's 2019 general election, saying it wants the victor to be elected in a free and fair contest.

He also welcomed UK's support at strengthening democratic institutions in the country.

May pledged investments of £4bn in African economies, particularly to create jobs for young people.

"They understand fully well the U.K.'s predicament and they have a multitude of other trade partners, including China, India and Russian Federation, wanting to invest on a massive scale".

"I think it's had a reasonably positive landing, we're getting a lot of constructive engagement, and. a lot of talk about the practical considerations rather than "in principle" dismissal, and I think that's valuable from our point of view", Raab told the Lordes EU Committee.

The more conciliatory stance of Barnier, who has been one of the strictest European Union figures during negotiations, was looked on favourably by traders in the pound, with the currency gaining close to 1% against the dollar after the comments.