The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) secretariat and the UK government have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formalise their shared commitment to success of the agreement.
UK Minister for Africa, James Duddridge MP, joined His Excellency Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area secretariat, Wamkele Mene, to sign the MoU at the secretariat’s headquarters in Accra.
Speaking after the signing, His Excellency Secretary-General Wamkele Mene said: “We are pleased to sign this MoU, as it ushers us into a partnership for strengthening cooperation related to trade facilitation in Africa.
“The AfCFTA is a continent-wide integration project that is built on the intellectual labour of African thinkers, dreamers and negotiators across generations – who imagined and put in place the economic foundation on which a united, integrated and prosperous Africa will be built. We welcome all friends and allies that are willing to support an integration process that is led by Africa for Africans.”
Speaking after the signing, UK Minister for Africa James Duddridge MP said: “The UK is the first non-African nation to recognise the opportunities for trade and investment the landmark Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement offers, not just across the continent but globally.
“Today we formalised our commitment to this agreement as I joined His Excellency Secretary-General Wamkele Mene at the AfCFTA’s Headquarters in Accra to sign a Memorandum of Understanding setting out our shared ambition.
“Africa’s long-term success matters to the UK, and it is in all our interests to support a strong, prosperous and peaceful Africa – driven by its own citizens and acting as a dynamic force in the international arena.” During the signing, Minister Duddridge expressed the UK’s commitment to partnering with African nations and institutions to support implementation of the AfCFTA.
The AfCFTA is the African Union’s most ambitious economic initiative; the Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) estimates that the AfCFTA has the potential to boost intra-African trade by more than 50%. The agreement has the potential to drive further growth across the continent through sustainable industrialisation, generating jobs and prosperity and reducing poverty.
The MoU signed between the UK and AfCFTA secretariat sets out the framework for partnership between the AfCFTA secretariat and UK government. It will:
- Promote and facilitate future trade and investment opportunities across the continent;
- Support implementation of the AfCFTA agreement across African nations, and;
- Continue to strengthen trading links between the UK and countries across Africa.
Speaking from London, the UK Minister for International Trade, Ranil Jayawardena MP said: “Stronger trade and investment partnerships with Africa will be crucial to help us build back better from the pandemic – and establish cleaner, greener more resilient economies.
“Trade is the route to prosperity for countries around the globe. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement is one of the world’s largest free trade areas, and this deal shows our commitment to boosting bilateral trade and investment leading to sustainable economic growth across the continent.”
During his visit, Minister Duddridge also met with His Excellency Secretary-General Wamkele Mene to discuss the progress that the AfCFTA has made since their last meeting in January 2021, and the secretariat’s ambitious future plans.