UK Looks To Africa For Trade Ties After Brexit

UK News

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson touted the UK as an ideal business partner for Africa on Monday  as the UK prepares for post-Brexit dealings with the world.

Written By Associated Press Television News | Mumbai | Updated On:
UK looks to Africa for trade ties after Brexit

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson touted the UK as an ideal business partner for Africa on Monday  as the UK prepares for post-Brexit dealings with the world.

But Britain faces tough challenges as it seeks to assert itself on a continent with several of the world’s fastest-growing economies and whose youthful 1.2 billion population is set to double by 2050.

Far fewer of Africa’s 54 heads of state or government are attending the first U.K.-Africa Investment Summit than the dozens who attended the first Russia-Africa summit last year or the gatherings China regularly holds.

The U.K.'s department for international trade says two-way trade with Africa in the year ending in the second quarter of 2019 was $46 billion. Meanwhile, Africa’s two-way trade with China, the continent’s top trading partner, was $208 billion in 2019.

Johnson told delegates at the conference it was “an event that is long overdue.”

He acknowledged that British officials and companies needed to work to convince African nations to do business with the U.K.

“We have no divine right to that business," he said. "This is a competitive world. You have may suitors."

Britain is due to leave the European Union on Jan. 31, and Johnson said the U.K. would become a free-trading “global Britain after Brexit.”

He pledged that the post-Brexit immigration system would "put people before passports," acknowledging a common frustration across Africa.

Britain says 16 African leaders are attending Monday's summit in London, including the leaders of Nigeria, Congo, Kenya, Egypt, Ghana and Rwanda.

Aside from the sluggishness of its top two economies, South Africa and Nigeria, Africa is showing economic momentum as the recently launched African Continental Free Trade Area gathers steam.

Last year, economic growth slowed in all geographic areas except Africa, the United Nations reported last week in its annual World Economic Situation and Prospects 2020.

The U.N. said GDP growth in Africa is projected to reach 3.2% in 2020 and 3.5% in 2021. And 25 African countries are projected to achieve economic growth of at least 5% this year.

 

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