More Equitable Britain–Africa Relations Post-Brexit: Doomed to Fail?

Dirk Kohnert


High-flying illusions on the part of the proponents and grim predictions on the part of the sceptics have characterised the controversy around Brexit. The article assesses five key issues at stake for post-Brexit relationships between Britain, the EU, and Africa: market access, foreign direct investment (FDI), aid, security, and the nature of the partnership. The analysis focuses on those sub-Saharan African countries that belong to the Commonwealth, as the British government’s vision of a “Global Britain” relies heavily on its reinforced cooperation with Commonwealth nations. The review of potential developments in these different policy fields shows that the expectations of Brexiteers and African politicians alike concerning an enhanced, partnership-like post-Brexit Commonwealth relationship are largely unfounded. Although the post-Brexit United Kingdom will increase African countries’ choices regarding preferred trading partners, it remains questionable whether London could offer something new that other global players with increasing interest in Africa, such as China, do not already have on their agenda.

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