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British consumers – including me – are partial to some Mozambican cashews, Eswatini citrus fruit or South African apples. That’s just part of the reason why the UK Government has made it a priority to ensure continuity in trade with southern Africa, including Eswatini, as the UK leaves the EU.  I’m pleased to say it’s clearly a priority shared by the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and Mozambique Governments too. I was delighted to join the UK prime minister in the region last week and had a chance to meet with Minister Kenewendo, Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry in Botswana – importantly, representing all six SACU and Mozambique trade ministers.  We agreed that as the UK leaves the European Union, it is fundamental that we maintain and then build on, the strong foundation of our economic relationship and boost our mutual prosperity.

That is why, together, Minister Kenewendo and I signed a Joint Statement, confirming that we will have a roll-over trade agreement ready soon as the EU deal no longer applies to the UK.
Building on work started a year ago, our teams are making good progress in concluding a UK-SACU and Mozambique deal, which will seek to maintain the benefits of the existing EU Economic Partnership Agreement for businesses and consumers on both sides.  Trade in goods and services between the UK and SACU countries (Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa) and Mozambique is already worth nearly £10 billion a year. And that’s another reason we’re prioritising the continuity in our trade – because that’s income going to your farmers, your producers and your exporters, boosting your economies. It’s also a huge boost for British producers, exporters and our economy. When we work together as partners to deepen our relationship, everyone should win.

The partnership between the UK and African countries should be just that – a partnership. One built on close cooperation and based on shared prosperity and shared security.
We want to see strong African economies that British firms can trade with freely and fairly – creating new customers for British exporters and opportunities for British investors. Strong African economies do not just benefit African people, they benefit British people too. Our focus is on attracting long-term investment to Africa with UK companies creating jobs, contributing to local economies and building capability for the future, while at the same time making sure that Africa’s young people are ready to take advantage of those new opportunities.

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