Some Implications of Brexit for UK – African Relations

Brexit related Challenges

  • The immediate post referendum challenge is to contain the consequences of uncertainty: about the UK-EU relationship, developments in financial markets, and with respect to formal trade relations between the United Kingdom and its many trading partners, including Africa.
  • This is a difficult and multifaceted task for which strong political leadership and clearly stated objectives are necessary. Even if a definite decision to withdraw from Europe is announced soon, it will take a long time for the practicalities of the divorce to be worked out. There should, in the meantime, be a basic plan about future relations with Africa.
  • Africa’s challenge is to respond through constructive engagement about its present and future relationship with the UK (and the EU) and how to ensure that the consequences of Brexit will not derail its own regional and global integration and economic development plans.
  • Existing market access arrangements for goods from Africa in terms of pre-Brexit agreements, including those soon to be implemented[1], should go ahead.
  • If the latter requires special mechanisms or interim steps, they should be adopted. All relevant parties should work together in order to prevent the disruption of mutual trade.

[1] The SADC EPA has to be implemented from the beginning of October 2016.

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