Boris Johnson called Africa a country and absolutely no one is going to let him live it down

Boris Johnson described Africa as a country instead of a continent in his speech to the Tory conference in Birmingham.

The Foreign Secretary made the mother of all embarrassing speech slip-ups as he suggested to Conservative Party members that increases in life expectancy in African countries such as Ethiopia could largely be attributed to UK foreign aid spending.

Boris Johnson
(Ben Birchall/PA)

He said: "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.

"In 1990, 37% of the world's population lived in poverty - that is now down to only 9.6% today.

"I think we, with our commitment to 0.7% of our GDP going on development aid, can take the large share of the credit for that achievement."

Johnson said it was our "economic ideas, our beliefs in freedom, our values that continue to lift the world out of poverty".

Fear not for our Foreign Secretary though, as a written copy of Johnson's speech showed he had actually planned to say "continent" and not "country".

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