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International trade expert to lead bid for billion-pound investment in Thames Estuary 

20th October 2023

One of the Government’s leading trade experts has been appointed to attract an additional £2 billion of new investment into the Thames Estuary by 2030.

Frances Moffett-Kouadio is currently Director Exports North America at the Department for Business and Trade and brings extensive international investment experience.

From February she will take up the critical role of Strategic Investment Director at the Thames Estuary Growth Board working with Government-appointed Thames Estuary Envoy and Growth Board Chair Kate Willard to develop investment propositions, identify opportunities and secure new investment deals.

The private sector-led Thames Estuary Growth Board brings together international business and political leaders from across North Kent, South Essex, East London, the City of London, and the River Thames to drive investment and realise the huge potential of the best-connected region in the UK.

It has been a busy 12 months for the Growth Board with the development of major investment opportunities in hydrogen, river freight and infrastructure, the launch of the Investuary inward investment platform and international trade and investment missions and visits from delegations to the Thames Estuary covering the USA, Latin America and South Africa.

Frances, who was Director of Trade & Investment in Hong Kong for six years, will head up the TEGB investment team, where she will drive its mission of Good Green Growth and lead the development and implementation of its investment portfolio.


Kate Willard OBE, Chair and Government Envoy said:

“The Thames Estuary is a shimmering opportunity, and this is a hugely exciting appointment which marks the critical next phase in our work.”

“Frances will ensure that Thames Estuary Growth Board is results and market driven, introducing investors into the Estuary, and facilitating and transacting deals.”

“Here at the Growth Board, we work in close partnership with international businesses, investors and local communities to transform the area, making the most of the Thames Estuary’s unique assets and unparalleled location to turn its potential into good, green growth for the local area and the national economy.”

“We bring together the right people with the right skills, to combine motivation and connections, and create opportunity. We make things happen.”


Frances Moffett-Kouadio said:

“I’m thrilled to be joining the Thames Estuary Growth Board and playing a part in realising one of the UK’s most exciting growth opportunities.”

“I share Kate’s vision of a cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous future, and am excited to bring my experience and expertise to connecting and activating the high investment, high innovation, hydro-economy of The Thames Estuary, the UK’s growth gateway to the world.”


About Frances 

Frances joined DTI (now DBT) as a fast-streamer in 2001, following a successful teaching career.

At DTI she led on an EU Directive, wrote the Departments first Equality Impact Assessment and worked on the Business Support transformation programme, before joining UK Trade & Investment in 2004.

Frances has a range of experience in different markets, including Iraq, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa and was the Director of Trade & Investment at the British Embassy Abu Dhabi for five years, before moving to Hong Kong, where she was Director of Trade & Investment for six years.

She has spent the last three and half years as Director Exports North America, based in the British Consulate General Chicago.


About the Growth Board  

The Thames Estuary Growth Board was formed in November 2019.

Its work includes:

  • Launching the Hydrogen Route Map for low carbon energy investment to deliver the Thames Estuary hydrogen ecosystem
  • Making the commercial case for more light freight on the River Thames, moving freight from roads to the river
  • Championing the Thames Freeport as a driver for clean growth and improved international trade.
  • Backing key infrastructure projects including improving connectivity to Ebbsfleet and the Lower Thames Crossing, the most ambitious green build UK road project since the M25.
  • Leading international trade missions through its Global Works programme and launching the Investuary inward investment platform to deliver new international investment into the Thames Estuary
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