UK to host first post-Brexit Africa Investment Conference in January
January 18, 2021
THE British government will host a virtual Africa Investment Conference on January 20, as the UK starts to independently develop global trade arrangements after exiting the European Union on December 31.
In January last year, during the landmark UK-Africa Investment Summit hosted in London by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, 27 trade and investment deals worth £6.5 billion and commitments worth £8.9 billion were announced.
The UK it has been signing trade deals with countries around the world, 14 of which are in Africa, that took off on January 1.
As more African countries continue to discuss trade agreements with the UK, 35 countries on the continent will receive preferential access to the British market.
The UK believes that its new trade agreements alongside the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which came into effect on January 1, “can unleash new opportunities for African and UK businesses”.
This month’s conference will bring together UK and African businesses for a one-day virtual event to explore the opportunities for partnership and investment.
“Businesses will be able to discuss emerging and relevant themes around doing business in Africa, and connect to investment opportunities across the African continent, all in the context of a challenging global economic outlook,” a UK government statement said.
The UK Minister for Investment, Gerry Grimstone said: “Despite the current global economic context, the UK’s ambition to be Africa’s investment partner of choice has never been stronger.
“Africa’s economic potential and investment opportunities are huge, and our partnership will help ensure UK and African businesses are able to capitalise on trade and investment opportunities, now and in the future.”
James Duddridge, Minister for Africa, said: “The UK is working with countries across Africa to build strong partnerships that secure investment and deliver more of the exports, jobs and economic growth that benefit both African and British businesses.”
The UK’s Trade Commissioner for Africa, Emma Wade-Smith, spoke of the adverse effect the coronavirus pandemic has had on the world economy, adding: “With the global disruption to markets caused by COVID-19, investment will be vital to accelerate the UK and Africa’s economic recovery.”
Meanwhile, as the UK continues to forge global human rights sanctions policies independently of the EU, the government announced a third tranche of sanctions against 10 individuals, including the former Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, and his wife, Zineb, and the former Director General of the Gambian National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Yankuba Badjie.
They face travel bans and asset freezes because of “egregious human rights violations, including torture and murder”.
Ex-president Jammeh is in exile in Equatorial Guinea.
The sanctions, announced on International Human Rights Day, are part of the UK’s global human rights regime which gives the government powers to stop those involved in serious human rights abuses and violations from entering the country, channelling money through UK banks, or profiting from the British economy.
It was the third time last year that the UK sanctioned people or entities for human rights violations and abuses under a UK-only regime, with the first in July and the second in September.