A summary of the speech given by the International Trade Secretary at Invest Africa’s Africa Debate, Guildhall, London, on the UK’s trade relationship with Africa


Chipper Cash co-founder Ham Serunjogi was asked why he wasn’t looking for donations or development funding when he first pitched his idea to a venture capital firm.

People’s perception of African nations is inaccurate, outdated and deteriorating over time.

With a bold trade strategy, the UK is responding to the continent’s success by forging alliances with trusted allies to support the rules-based order.

It is important to understand Africa’s needs and consider how our businesses can meet them.

But it is clear that the world needs to wake up to Africa’s new and compelling story.

Through the UK’s partnership with South Africa, new business opportunities with one of the most dynamic regions in the world will be made available to UK businesses.

According to UNCTAD, our investment in the continent is valued at £49 billion, more than that of any other country.

There are countless opportunities for collaboration; too many for me to mention in this speech.

The need to ensure free trade in goods and services between the UK and Africa is the foundation of the UK-Africa trade partnership.

Going back to these remarkable demographics, the demand for goods and services in African countries will increase as their population grows.

We saw an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the aspirations of African nations and how we can meet those needs when the UK left the EU.

Only 15% of all trade on the continent in 2019 was between countries in Africa.

We are strong supporters of the African Continental Free Trade Area because if the UK can be the partner that accompanies Africa on this new path, we too can grow alongside the continent. Access to new markets can also work in favor of the UK.

For this reason, we will present two initiatives that we believe will help increase trade with Africa.

The UK and Africa stand at a turning point in the history of international trade as the axis of global economic growth shifts in favor of emerging economies, such as those in Africa.

We will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in October.

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