With the Brexit date looming, commentators are speculating all over the internet about the possible implications the referendum would have on just about everything. From Russia to Jamaica, investment bankers, the Islamic State and even Irish sandwich maker Greencore, everyone has an opinion on what the potential exit of one of the most influential European Member States could have.
However, when it comes to Africa, the Brexit could have some very serious implications.
For one, Britain is a loud critic of the trade distortions brought about by the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which puts African farmers at a competitive disadvantage. With 70% of African farmers involved in agriculture, the evolution of the CAP will be affected negatively by the Brexit, and African farmers are likely to continue to lose out.
Secondly, trade agreements will be affected. If Brexit were to happen, Britain outside the EU would have the authority to enter international trade agreements. In theory, this argument speaks to the reduction of trade preferences afforded to African countries of late, due to the EU entering into free trade agreements with other countries and regions. But with Britain pursuing a fairly isolationist trade relations policy, trade relations with African commonwealth countries are likely to be negatively affected. Britain will favour trade with countries such as the US, China, Japan, Brazil and India before African Commonwealth countries, who will lose out.
The final and most heated argument for Africa against Brexit is that of immigration. With Britain outside of the Schengen area already, it cannot be argued that Britain's potential exit would result in fairer policies towards African Commonwealth Countries than if it remained in the EU. However, with the new earnings threshold set for non-EU skilled workers who wish to settle indefinitely in the UK now having been raised to 35,000 GBP, a British exit will most definitely not mean fairer policies towards African commonwealth migrants.
For more information on what the Brexit could mean for Africa, watch the video below:
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