In a powerful report, the Independent Business Network (IBN) chaired by John Longworth challenged Boris Johnson and International Trade Secretary Liz Truss to create new benchmark trade deals and give African countries preferential treatment for conquer the world’s fastest growing markets. The IBN report shows that the sub-Saharan region, home to 18 of the world’s 50 fastest growing economies, offers tremendous economic growth for Britain if it can maximize its ties across the Commonwealth and its historic ties. The report notes that the region’s growing young population, burgeoning economy and expanding consumer class provide mutual business opportunities for an independent Britain.
However, the NBI has warned that China’s aggressive neocolonialism threatens British prosperity and could prevent important trade deals.
On top of that, he warns that the UK’s presence in the region is shrinking and now lags behind the EU’s major competing economies.
According to the report, research by the WTO and the United Nations Statistical Commission found that between 2000 and 2018, the UK’s percentage share in the total value of goods imported to the region fell by 7 .05% to 2.54%.
During the same period, China has emerged as the dominant trading power in the region. Over the past two decades, China has overtaken the United States as the dominant trading power, with a percentage share of the total value of goods six times that of the United Kingdom.
The report’s findings follow a key summit in Paris hosted by Emmanuel Macron and attended by trade representatives from G7 countries to discuss financial support to African countries after the pandemic.
The report’s six recommendations to government include a policy to prioritize the development of wider and deeper trade relations across sub-Saharan Africa.
He argues that Britain must ultimately set a new gold standard for trade with sub-Saharan countries by removing tariffs and non-tariff barriers on goods from sub-Saharan countries; strengthening sub-Saharan regional integration; and the strengthening of the production capacities of partner countries.
It also calls for the establishment of a new preferential tariff regime intended to favor the countries of sub-Saharan Africa through eligibility rules.
In addition, the authors suggest that Britain should liberalize rules of origin to make them more flexible and more favorable to the economies of the sub-Saharan African continent.
Finally, he says the UK needs to revamp its ‘aid for trade’ offering by testing pay-for-results systems; forge new partnerships and invest massively in sectors with the highest potential for future growth (telecommunications and renewable energies); and further promote the City of London as a premier funding center for businesses and projects in sub-Saharan Africa.
“This document presents the important opportunity for the UK after Brexit. It is imperative that the government focus on developing stronger trading partners in sub-Saharan Africa. The steady growth of their economies over the past decade shows the promise that countries in the region, like Botswana and Zambia, have to offer.
“To increase British trade in the sub-Saharan region, the British government must start tackling the Chinese problem. Their neocolonial rule over sub-Saharan Africa has damaged the region’s competitiveness, created a wave of deindustrialization and generated excessive indebtedness in the countries of the region. It is worrying to see the consequences of the supreme control of China.
“To reduce China’s damaging dominance across sub-Saharan Africa, British policymakers must introduce bolder policies and provide prosperous business opportunities for countries in the region. While by no means an easy challenge, it is an exciting time that offers new opportunities on the horizon. “