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UK to host 2021 UK-Africa Investment Conference

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UK to host 2021 UK-Africa Investment Conference

UK Africa Investment Summit
Photo: Stefan Rousseau/ AP

The UK Department for International Trade is set to virtually host the 2021 UK-Africa Investment Conference today.

The event links British and African businesses in hopes of creating future investment opportunities in sustainable infrastructure, agriculture and green technology. Last year’s showing announced over $8 billion worth of trade and investment deals. This year’s meeting follows December’s breakthrough deal between the UK and EU.

The UK has drawn up trade deals with 13 African nations post-Brexit, but the new bilateral agreements differ little from previous EU-Africa deals. However, negotiating comprehensive regional deals may prove more complex. For example, Kenya’s efforts towards an independent agreement with the UK have been criticised for its potential to compromise the East Africa Community (EAC) trading bloc’s ability to forge a collective bargain. Kenya will likely continue to push for an immediate replacement to the pre-Brexit deal for fear of losing access to the UK market, Nairobi’s fifth-largest trading partner. The rest of the EAC stands to lose bargaining power as a bloc without the inclusion of one of its most powerful members. If Kenya decides to rush ahead without the EAC, already strained relationships may drastically flatten the trajectory of African economic development.

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