By now, it is fairly known news that Britain will be finally leaving the European Union on Friday, 8th January, 2020. The success of Brexit with Boris Johnson means the country will try to sign as much trade agreements as possible, of which Africa is a prime target.
While the Prime Minister has declared that Britain will be in trade talks with the European Union, he has hinted severally that Africa will be given a significant consideration. Johnson has earlier pointed to countries like Ghana and Mozambique as prospective partners, while already being a huge partner to Egypt.
Home to 8 of the world’s fastest-growing economies, there are plenty of reasons Britain would want to get a firmer foothold in Africa after Brexit. At the UK-Africa Summit held January in London, the paths through which the nation would re-enter Africa were diclosed.
“We have much to offer African nations — UK aid is tackling climate change and supporting women entrepreneurs, our tech and digital expertise is helping Africa grow new industries and the city of London is channeling billions of private investment into Africa,” said Alok Sharma, Britain’s international development secretary.
During the same summit, the U.K announced USD 8.6 Bn worth of commercial deals with the continent, one of which was signed by the large engineering company known as Rolls-Royce.
The scramble for Africa will likely be kicked-started with the opening up of new markets. Since a free trade zone agreement (AfCFTA) is in the works, there are opportunities for British businesses operating in Africa to expand their markets and generally ease doing business.
It is agreed that foreign direct investment is a powerful tool that could springboard many of the continent’s developing countries, Attracting more investors – technology, skills and knowledge as well – will bring about better revenue-raising opportunities for the countries.
Germany, China, Japan and even France are pretty upfront about their intentions to do business with Africa. Scotland has also disclosed its plans to follow suit once the U.K successfully completes Brexit. According to the executive chairman, the demand and potential for greater Africa-Scotland links is clear.
“We’ve got 17 African countries that want to come to Scotland this year, either as government entities or as the private sector,” says John Paterson, executive chairman of the the Scottish Africa Business Association (SABA).
If African countries can export more of their goods to these European countries, they could be able to dramatically shift from being dependent on single resources and develop more diversified economies.
Image Courtesy: The Times