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UK invests US$39M to back Africa’s ambitious continental free trade initiative

AFRICA – UK has launched a programme of up to US$39.04 million to support 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 commercial opportunities for businesses across Africa and the UK.

It comes as Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, visits London to discuss how the UK can continue its work as a strategic partner to the trading bloc.

The financing will be provided by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to provide trade facilitation and trade policy support to the AfCFTA Secretariat and the Member States.

For UK businesses, the trade bloc will remove market access barriers by creating a single continental market, making it easier and more cost-effective for UK businesses to export goods and services across the 54 AfCFTA member states.

As an independent free-trading nation, the UK strongly supports the AfCFTA – the largest free trade area in the world,” said International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

We’re keen to see continued momentum on outstanding negotiations, and on the practical implementation of the agreement on the ground.”

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

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

The UK funding will promote long-term partnerships between African countries and support a more prosperous, greener continent.

The programme builds on existing work from the FCDO and DIT Trade for Development unit to strengthen partnerships and resilience in Africa.

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

Support for projects in Africa from UK Export Finance is also at its highest in decades, backing a range of infrastructure projects in countries from Côte d’Ivoire to Uganda, with more than US$2.57 billion of financial support in the past year.

The AfCFTA Support Programme also complements the UK’s broader partnership with the African Union as a multilateral institution to promote global values.

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