With the United Kingdom’s formal exit from the European Union, new trade opportunities have opened up between the UK and the African continent. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has begun a blitz to sign as many trade deals as possible before December 31, 2020, when the UK is set to formally leave the European single market.
During the course of the UK–Africa Investment Summit on January 20, 2020, which Johnson hosted in London, 27 commercial deals worth more than £6.5 billion were signed.
UK trade to Africa fell from 4.2 percent of total trade in 2012 to just 2 percent in 2018, worth about US$46 billion. The newly penned trade deals are expected to cover 43 percent of the UK’s total trade with Africa.
For African countries, closer economic relations with the UK has obvious benefits. Currently, 112 African companies with a combined market value of US$166 billion are listed on the London Stock Exchange, making it the largest center for African business outside the continent.