Matt Hancock has been appointed as a United Nations special representative for Africa – his first role since resigning as Health Secretary in June.
Mr Hancock will advise the UN Economic Commission for Africa on issues related to climate change and sustainable economic development.
In a statement, he said: “I care deeply about making this happen, not only because of the strong economic opportunity but because we share a view of Africa as a strategic long-term partner.”
He resigned as Health Secretary in June after he was caught on camera kissing an aide in his Whitehall office in breach of Covid restrictions.
It is understood Nimco Ali, a leading campaigner against female genital mutilation and a close friend of Boris Johnson’s wife Carrie, connected Mr Hancock with the UN commission. Writing on Twitter, Ms Ali said: “What a brilliant appointment, and really looking forward to working with Matt Hancock.”
Mr Hancock, the MP for West Suffolk, is expected to use his expertise as a former health secretary to advise on vaccines in the short term but will deploy his economic experience as a former business minister in the longer term.
Around two dozen of the African continent’s 54 countries were on the cusp of becoming middle income countries before the Covid pandemic erupted and their economies were hit. Mr Hancock will aim to help many attract private investment as part of their move away from seeking international aid, it is understood.
He will carry out his duties for the unpaid position, which will be based in London and Addis Ababa, alongside his role as an MP, after the appointment was cleared by the advisory committee on business appointments.