The UK’s Department for International Trade has pledged to ensure supply chains remain open and businesses can keep essential goods moving during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This coronavirus outbreak is the biggest public health emergency in a generation,” writes Emma Wade-Smith, trade commissioner for Africa, in an exclusive op-ed for African Business.
“The UK is clear; we need to reduce the tariffs on essential medical devices and pharmaceuticals, not erect barriers. Free trade will also be essential for the recovery that must follow.”
A number of UK companies are helping to provide solutions and support across Africa, she adds.
Diageo’s East Africa Breweries in Kenya has enabled the production of 135,000 litres of hand sanitiser, to respond to the health emergency, prioritised for vulnerable and at risk groups.
Unilever has donated €100m of soap, sanitiser, bleach and food to emergency efforts, including in a number of markets across Africa.
UK Edutech companies such as Twinkl, Get My Grades, Cambridge University Press and Open University UK are making available their bespoke and innovative online learning and teaching solutions to support at home learning in the face of temporary school closures.
“We are all working through the immediate and longer-term implications and consequences of this extraordinary situation,” she says.
“DIT Africa is committed to supporting business growth on this continent. We are here for the long term.”