Are you watching, EU? UK will have ‘chips in the game’ in huge Africa market, MP explains

Brexit: UK imports and exports evaluated by expert

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Now free from the EU, the UK has much more agility to sign trade deals across the world and Helen Grant, trade envoy to Nigeria and Tory MP for Maidstone and The Weald, claimed Britain is confident of securing Africa as an important trading partner. Speaking to Express.co.uk, Ms Grant claimed the UK is primed and ready to keep up with other nations across the world in securing greater and deeper trade ties with the continent.

Indeed, she indicated the UK Government is pursuing a trade deal with Nigeria, Africa’s largest and fastest-growing economy.

Once a deal is signed with Nigeria, Ms Grant claimed the UK will have trade ties with one of the “biggest marketplaces” in Africa and the world.

Ms Grant said: “The UK is targeting Nigeria and Africa as a key trading partner.

“I’ve been out there twice, I’m going to be going out there again in October, I met the Minister of Africa out there last week.

“Nigeria is a very important nation, we want to be close, we want to do more.

“And you know, it’s really exciting as you say, you know, Nigeria is going to be one of the biggest marketplaces in the world.

“And if you haven’t got chips in that market, you’re gonna be in trouble and we will have chips and we will have a good relationship.

“It’s extremely exciting what’s happening out there at the moment.”

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Due to the coronavirus pandemic, UK-Nigeria trade dropped to £3.4billion in the four quarters to the end of autumn 2020.

However, in 2019 trade was worth £5.1billion according to the Office for National Statistics, a 14.4 percent increase on the previous year.

Nigeria’s own economy grew by 1.9 percent in 2018 and 2.3 percent in 2019 according to the International Monetary Fund.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s real GDP is expected to grow by 2.5 percent this year.

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Indeed, Nigeria is expected to grow a further 2.3 percent in 2022 and in 2019, had the highest GDP on the continent with £448billion.

That economic growth is led by its energy, financial services and agricultural sectors.

The UK has signed 13 trade agreements with African states but is targeting deals with Nigeria and Ethiopia as part of the Global Britain strategy.

Commenting on International Trade Secretary Liz Truss’ work, Ms Grant said: “Liz Truss is doing an amazing job.

“She really is, you know, she seems to be in a different country all the time at the moment.

“She’s working incredibly hard and achieving a loss and I feel extremely proud of what we’re doing and we really are becoming this outward-looking global Britain.

“I think it’s a very exciting time for, you know, UK-Nigeria relations.

“The Prime Minister wants the UK to be Africa’s partner of choice.

“And, you know, I think a strong and growing partnered with a strong and growing Nigeria could be a very, very powerful force for the good.”

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