Following our blog on the possible impacts of Brexit for Africa, it’s worth highlighting some of the opportunities.
Brexit provides a unique opportunity for African nations to join together (perhaps by using the regional African trading blocs) to leverage their position and collective bargaining power to negotiate more advantageous trade deals. There have been suggestions that the UK should forge closer links with the Commonwealth nations, including respected African economies such as South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria. South Africa and Nigeria (Africa’s two largest economies) have their own share of political uncertainty, however if these economies can effectively negotiate together, they may well end up with more beneficial trade terms.
The manner in which the UK will approach negotiations with African nations is still to be seen, however, it is clear that agriculture will be a main topic of discussion. The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which heavily subsidises EU farmers and in turn, negatively affects the competitiveness of African farmers, has been criticised. On this issue, African nations are likely to find themselves in a better bargaining position against both an isolated UK, and an EU offering a single market reduced by the UK’s absence. Tanzania has already taken the first step in announcing that it will not sign the proposed Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and the East Africa Community, in the belief that it can achieve a better deal following Brexit. African nations will do their best to negotiate the removal of any limitation on the ability of African farmers to export their produce, particularly as agriculture is one of the key ways African are seeking to diversify their export base.
The full impact of Brexit on Africa is yet to be seen, uncertainty is likely to linger for a while, and the nations that are highly dependent on the UK are more likely to scramble to take whatever deal the UK offers. Nonetheless, Brexit provides a unique opportunity for African nations to flex their collective political muscles and negotiate more advantageous trade deals, and it should not be missed.
The Inside Africa team would like to thank Tomisin Mosuro, Trainee, for his contribution to this blog post.