Thursday, 29 Jul 2021

Africa Brexit bonanza! Liz Truss eyes huge six-country trade deal – worth millions

Liz Truss submits UK's application to join the CPTPP

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The UK’s Trade Commissioner to Africa said the UK will forge closer links with African countries in the years ahead following a landmark agreement that was signed with Kenya. The UK signed a trade deal with Kenya in December 2020 to ensure that all companies operating in Kenya can continue to benefit from duty-free access to the UK market.


Top goods imports to the UK from Kenya last year were in tea, coffee and spices (£121million); vegetables (£79million); and live trees and plants, mostly flowers (£54million). 

But Emma Wade Smith said this agreement could be expanded out in the near future to the whole of the East African Community (EAC) states.

The EAC comprises of six countries in the African Great Lakes region in eastern Africa and includes Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

She told “Our ultimate aim is to achieve a comprehensive regional deal between the UK and the whole of the EAC.


UK trade with Africa as a whole is valued at £12.5billion throughout 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic and Ms Smith said she expected this number would grow.

She added: “With the UK economy predicted to bounce back strongly in 2021 and Africa’s economy also expected to see positive economic growth this year, I’m optimistic that we can return quickly to see more trade between us in the months ahead.”

The trade chief also reaffirmed Britain’s commitment to investing in Africa claiming the UK wants to be “Africa’s investment partner of choice.”

Department for International trade sources said a potential deal with the EAC could be worth at least £1billion and links some of the continents “fast-developing” economies.

“So the agreement with Kenya is open to all EAC member states to join when they are ready to do so with articles to allow them to exceed in future.

“Now this agreement and all the others are in place, our focus has turned to implementation.

“It’s important that businesses are aware of these agreements we have in place and what preferential arrangements they provide for because we want more companies to trade taking advantage of these arrangements.”

Ms Smith described East Africa as an “important regional trading partner” and stressed “green growth and technology” were the key enablers to drive forward trade.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson held talks with President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi last week with Downing Street saying trade was a policy area which has “good cooperation.”

It comes after Mr Johnson hosted 16 African heads of state, resulting in commercial deals across the continent worth £15 billion at the UK–Africa Investment summit last year.

Africa accounts for just 2.5 percent of the UK’s trade but South Africa and Nigeria, the continent’s two largest economies, make up 60 percent of the entire UK-Africa trade relationship.

Common goods which are exported from Africa include precious metals, Fruits and nuts.

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