By Marcus Leach

Prime Minister David Cameron has flown to Johannesburg in a bid to strengthen the UK's business links with Africa's fastest growing economies.

His message on arrival was that 'trade and not aid' was the way of lifting millions of people out of poverty.

With the on-going phone-hacking scandal still raging on in the UK his trip will be shorter than originally planned, although that wont prevent him from highlighting trade's importance for securing deals to help the UK economy.

During his time in Africa the Prime Minister will give his backing to a 26-nation free trade zone that would cover 600 million people and over half of the continent within three years.

He will say an African free trade area could increase the continent's GDP by £38 billion, which is £12 billion more than the world's entire annual aid budget for sub-Saharan Africa.

"In the past, there were marches in the West to drop the debt. There were concerts to increase aid," Mr Cameron said writing in South Africa's Business Day.

"And it was right that the world responded.

"But they have never once had a march or a concert to call for what will in the long term save far more lives and do far more good - an African free trade area. The key to Africa's progress is not just aid. It is time for some fresh thinking."

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