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Five East-African countries could be next to sign a trade agreement as UK deepens Africa ties

The trade deal signed last December with Kenya is now likely to be extended to all members of the East African Community (EAC) trade area, as reported by British and east African media.

As a result of this extension, Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and Tanzania would also benefit from preferential no-tariff, no quota terms.

Economic Disruption Within the Block

According to local MPs and the UK’s House of Lords, signing the deal with only one member of the EAC has created disruption on the regional economic unity, as reported by City AM. This comes after the other EAC countries had demanded a one-year extension of the negotiations period to sing the agreement as a block.

Currently, the deal provides duty-free access for Kenyan businesses to the UK market, and prevents disruption to UK businesses by maintaining preferential arrangements. Additionally, it aims to support job creation and economic development.

According to The Standard, last year Kenya was the UK’s 71st trading partner and in 2019 the trade between the two nations was worth approximately £1.4 billion.

Trade Deals with Africa

Since leaving the European Union, the UK has been able to reach independent agreements with several other countries among which are included 16 African countries, the latest being Ghana. These agreements account for approximately £21.4 billion, and have been rollovers from EU trade terms which provide reduced or zero tariffs for exports into the UK.

Additionally, speaking at the Africa Investment Conference Boris Johnson said that his goal was “for the UK to be Africa’s investment partner of choice.


The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which includes 54 countries has become a growing market for the UK. However, the agreement is still in the process of being ratified in many of the countries.

According to the Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) this agreement has the potential to boost trade between African countries by 52.3% through the removal of import duties and the reduction of non-tariff barriers.

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Source: Adapted from the Institute of Export

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