The United Kingdom’s (UK) Department for International Trade says new trade agreements will come into force in January for the UK with 14 African partners with the prospect of more countries to follow.

This is according to a statement issued by the department’s Nigerian office on Saturday.

It added that 35 African partners will also receive preferential access to the UK through its trade presences scheme.

It also announced that the department would host a one-day virtual Africa Investment Conference on January 20, 2021. The conference is expected to bring together UK and African businesses to explore opportunities for partnership and investment.

The conference comes one year after the UK-Africa Investment Summit hosted in London by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, where 27 trade and investment deals worth 6.5 billion pounds and commitments worth 8.9 billion pounds were announced. According to the statement, businesses will be able to discuss emerging and relevant themes around doing business in Africa.

They will also connect to investment opportunities across the African continent, all in the context of a challenging global economic outlook. The development of the UK’s new trade arrangements alongside Africa’s own Continental Free Trade Agreement can unleash new opportunities for African and UK businesses, it said.

Gerry Grimstone, UK’s Minister for Investment, said that in spite of the current global economic context, the UK’s ambition to be Africa’s investment partner of choice had never been stronger. ”Growing investment relationships will be central in helping economies recover and build back better from the disruption caused by Coronavirus.

“Africa’s economic potential and investment opportunities are huge, and our partnership will help ensure UK and African businesses are able to capitalise on trade and investment opportunities, now and in the future.”

January’s event will once again bring together British and African businesses and entrepreneurs, to support more prosperous African countries.” Emma Wade-Smith, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Africa, said the conference would build on the achievements of 2020’s landmark UK-Africa Investment Summit.

According to her, connecting British businesses to the wealth of opportunities that exists across African markets and supporting them in the realisation of their commercial projects is at the heart of the department’s work. “With the global disruption to markets caused by COVID-19, investment will be vital to accelerate the UK and Africa’s economic recovery.