Britain risks missing out on the "huge opportunities" in Africa because they are focusing too much on the Bric economies, Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Ahead of a visit to Nigeria this week, the shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna said stronger ties needed to be built with countries across the continent.
He said: "I was very struck by the warning given last year by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on how, in relation to Africa, Britain risks falling behind.
"The energetic approach of the Chinese, the Indians and even the Brazilians risks trumping the strong historical and cultural ties we have.
"There can be absolutely no room for complacency."