Africa: Historic Trade Agreement Between Kenya and European Union

World Bank provides Tanzania with a maxi-loan, and France's TotalEnergies announces $6 billion investment to boost Nigeria's hydrocarbon production

The European Union is opening its market to African goods. Brussels signed a “historic” agreement with Kenya, as the country’s President William Ruto described it, that guarantees goods from this East African country duty-free and other quota-free access to the European market. On the other hand, there are a number of tariff reductions on European products that will be exported to Kenya.

During the signing of the agreement in Nairobi in the presence of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Ruto said that “this agreement represents the beginning of a historic partnership.” For her part, von der Leyen called the agreement a “win-win situation,” inviting other African countries to join the agreement. “We are opening a new chapter in our very strong relations, and our efforts must now focus on implementing the agreement,” said the head of the European Commission.

As for the relationship between African countries and international financial institutions, the World Bank (WB) announced that it has “approved two separate loans totaling approximately $1.14 billion to Tanzania to support the private sector, as well as counter the impacts of climate change.” As the World Bank emphasized in a press release, “the first tranche of the loan in the amount of $750 million will be used to finance the process of economic reforms and expand access to inexpensive lending resources for small businesses and the private sector.” Subsequently, Tanzania will be provided with $385 million to finance infrastructure development, but primarily to “help Tanzania’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, to cope with the negative effects of global warming.” As World Bank Country Director for Tanzania and several other East African countries, Nathan Belete, said, “Tanzania is highly vulnerable to climate change and is limited in its willingness to adapt and respond to negative impacts.”

Cooperation between Africa and Europe is also growing in the private sector, with French energy company TotalEnergies announcing a $6 billion maxi investment in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector. As Patrick Pouyanné, CEO of the French energy giant, said following negotiations with the President of the African country, Bola Tinubu, “TotalEnergies intends to develop some hydrocarbon production projects in deep waters, as well as increase gas production.” Nigeria’s share of TotalEnergies’ global production currently stands at 9 to 10 percent.