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Friday, 13 April 2018

Africa-UK moving forward together

Trade relations are changing globally. As regional groupings are disrupted and reformed, global value chains contract, protectionism creeps in and the digital economy strengthens, old hat trading portfolios look increasingly out-dated. Without a doubt, enthusiasm for multilateralism has waned and the World Trade Organisation faces an existential crisis having not completed a new round of global trade liberalisation in two decades, since the Doha Round. For most of the past seven decades global trade grew twice as fast as the global economy and increased on average by nearly 7% a year, according to the IMF. Since the financial crisis and a commodities tumble, trade growth has averaged just 3% since 2012. On this footing, many are beginning to look to bilateralism and the possibility of forging better structured and more rewarding trade deals. As each country strikes out its competitive advantage, new trade partners are envisaged and Africa and the UK find themselves at this coterminous juncture today. Development and shared prosperity are key to the priorities of the UK, which is helping its African partners to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), so all parties are set to benefit. Africa-UK trade The UK has a long tradition of trading with African nations. The UK is the world’s sixth-largest exporter and in terms of its European counterparts, exports around 20% more to third party countries. UK exports to non-EU countries are 43% higher than in 2007 and exports to Africa have grown at an annual average rate of 8.7% over the last 20 years. This growing trend represents significant opportunities for African nations and companies looking to do business. Indeed, trade between UK and Africa totalled £28.7bn in 2016, with the biggest recipients of UK exports being South Africa and Nigeria.

Source: African Busines