UK backs ambitious Africa Continental Free Trade initiative

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The UK is launching a program of up to £35m to support the negotiations and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The AfCTFA is expected to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty, create jobs and provide new business opportunities for businesses in Africa and the UK. It comes as Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, travels to London to discuss how the UK can continue its work as a strategic partner in the trading bloc.

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan has announced a new UK program to support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) trading bloc.

Under the AfCFTA Support Programme, the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) will provide up to £35 million to provide trade facilitation and trade policy support to the AfCFTA Secretariat and to Member States through TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and other regional partners.

The program announcement comes as AfCFTA Secretariat General Secretary Wamkele Mene travels to London to discuss how the UK can continue its work as a strategic partner of the AfCFTA.

As the largest free trade area in the world, the AfCFTA has the potential to drive Africa’s economic growth by spurring industrialization, generating jobs and ensuring prosperity across the continent.

For UK businesses, the trading bloc will remove barriers to market access by creating a single continental market, making it easier and more profitable for UK businesses to export goods and services to all 54 EU member states. ‘AfCFTA.

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:

As an independent free-trade nation, the UK is a strong supporter of the AfCFTA – the world’s largest free-trade area.

We look forward to continued momentum in the ongoing negotiations and in the practical implementation of the agreement on the ground.

This new aid package shows that trade is a force for good and will lead to increased trade, investment and prosperity for Africa and the UK.

Africa Minister Vicky Ford said:

Closer integration between African economies drives growth across the continent, creates opportunities and helps lift people out of poverty.

The United Kingdom is a committed partner in this mission. This UK funding will foster long-term partnerships between African countries and support a more prosperous and greener continent.

I am delighted to support the AfCFTA Secretariat and its Member States to build freer and fairer trading systems in Africa.

The Secretary General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, Wamkele Mene, said:

We are pleased to receive this support from the UK government as it ushers us into a partnership to strengthen cooperation related to customs and trade facilitation and trade policy on the African continent.

Over the past five years or so, we have witnessed the reorganization of our regional economic communities to take into consideration the aspirations that are embedded in the instruments of the AfCFTA. We have also witnessed during this period the enthusiasm and energy of our private sector to rise to the occasion and begin to exploit what is foreseen in the Agreement.

Our ambition now is to see commercially meaningful exchanges of “Made in the AfCFTA” products take place, across the length and breadth of our continent, to create jobs and economic opportunities for Africans, especially women. and young people. We want to make trade easier for Africans, especially our women and young Africans who trade across our borders.

This new AfCFTA Support Program is therefore timely to facilitate the implementation of the AfCFTA, supporting National Implementation Committees and Regional Economic Communities.

The program builds on the existing work of the FCDO and DIT Trade for Development unit to build partnerships and resilience in Africa.

Under the UK’s G7 Presidency last year, the new group British Investment International (BII) has pledged to work with other G7 Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) to invest at least $80 billion in the African private sector by 2027.

Support for projects in Africa by UK Export Finance is also at its highest level in decades, supporting a range of infrastructure projects in countries from Côte d’Ivoire to Uganda, with more than 2.3 billion pounds of financial support last year.

The AfCFTA support program also complements the UK’s wider partnership with the African Union as a multilateral institution charged with promoting global values.

Alongside the Secretary of State for International Trade and Minister for Africa, Secretary General Mene will meet members of the UK business community and investors while in London.

Distributed by APO Group for the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

This press release was issued by APO. Content is not vetted by the African Business editorial team and none of the content has been verified or validated by our editorial teams, proofreaders or fact checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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