World, Economy, Africa, Europe

UK eyes further Africa cooperation while leaving EU

Deals worth over £6.5 billion demonstrate securing a lasting commercial partnership of mutual benefit between UK and Africa

Gokhan Kurtaran   | 23.01.2020
UK eyes further Africa cooperation while leaving EU

LONDON

The United Kingdom government turns its face to Africa once more in its history to boost its trade ties and invest in opportunities while leaving the European Union.

According to the U.K.’s Department for International Development and Department for International Trade, 27 commercial deals were made from across the African markets at U.K.-Africa Investment Summit on Monday.

The deals are worth over £6.5 billion and the deals demonstrate that the U.K. and Africa are securing a lasting commercial partnership of mutual benefit.

Britain is strengthening its economic partnerships with African nations, as part of a government drive to ensure the continent’s growing demand for investment is met by the U.K.’s expertise and innovation.

The U.K. is a key trading partner for African nations: the U.K.-Africa trade increased 7.5% last year to £36 billion. As it leaves the EU, the U.K. has ensured that businesses from 46 African countries can continue to export to the U.K. and pay reduced or zero tariff rates.

This includes signed trade agreements with 11 African countries and has legislated for a trade preference scheme with a further 35 African countries. The U.K. is working with the remaining countries to finalize continuity agreements by the end of 2020.

The country is already one of the biggest investors in Africa. U.K. investment stock in Africa reached £38 billion in 2018, representing a 13.8% increase in the previous year. U.K. companies are making a difference in Africa. For example, British renewable power company Lekela is building what will become West Africa's largest wind farm in Senegal and has just achieved financial close for its first wind project in Egypt.

Africa has 8 of the world’s 15 fastest growing economies and there is a huge demand on the continent for clean, sustainable and innovative investment. As home to some of the world’s most enterprising technologies and the financial center of the world in the City of London, the U.K. is perfectly placed to meet that demand and be the continent’s investment partner of choice.

“Africa’s economic potential is huge, with eight of the world’s 15 fastest growing economies and a population set to double to over 2 billion by 2050.” International Development Secretary Alok Sharma said on Monday.

“We have much to offer African nations - U.K. aid is tackling climate change and supporting women entrepreneurs, our tech and digital expertise is helping Africa grow new industries and the City of London is channeling billions of private investment into Africa, boosting jobs and growth,” Sharma added.

The deals U.K. companies and their African partners have signed include Baker Hughes' £306m contract for export and investment of deep-sea equipment and scholarships in Mozambique, Bombardier’s £3,180m construction and operation of 2 monorail lines in Cairo, Contracta Construction UK's £120.5m export contract to upgrade Kumasi teaching hospital in Ghana, Diageo's investment of £167m to improved sustainability of breweries in Kenya & East Africa, Kefi Minerals investment of £224m in a new gold mine and to develop local infrastructure in Kenya, Lagan Group's £185 export contract for the construction of Kampala Industrial Business Park in Uganda, NMS Infrastructure investment of £222m in the construction of 6 hospitals in Côte D’Ivoire, Savannah's investment of £315m in the acquisition and investment of ingas assets in Nigeria and Tullow's investment of £1,200m in continued oil production in Kenya.

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