Boris Johnson refers to Africa as “that country” in conference speech gaffe

Boris Johnson and David Cameron
Boris Johnson (left) and David Cameron (right). Photo: World Economic Forum

British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, has made an embarrassing gaffe after referring to Africa as “that country” during a speech reflecting on his first three months in his cabinet post.

The former London mayor made the mistake during a speech on the first day of the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, during a speech in which he was discussing the increase in life expectancy in the continent.

“For all its difficulties, life expectancy in Africa has risen astonishingly as that country has entered the global economic system.

“In 2000, the average Ethiopian lived to only 47 – it is now 64 and climbing; in Zambia the increase has been from 44 years to 60 years.” – Boris Johnson

Johnson went on to credit Britain for the continent’s improving conditions.

“In 1990, 37 per cent of the world’s population lived in poverty – that is now down to only 9.6 per cent today.

“I think we, with our commitment to 0.7 per cent of our GDP going on development aid, can take the large share of the credit for that achievement.” – Boris Johnson

The former mayor of London added that British values “continue to lift the world out of poverty” and talked about Britain’s “irresistible soft power”, praising the metropolitan nature of London, which he described as “a great jiving funkoplitan melting pot”.