Mark Langan
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Africa’s trade with Brexit Britain
Neo-colonialism encounters regionalism?
in Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century
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Africa’s trading status with the UK has been seriously complicated by Brexit. Since 2000, African states have negotiated with the European Commission for Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). The EPAs are imminently coming onstream in African sub-regions such as the Economic Community of West African States and the Southern African Development Community. ‘Hard’ Brexit, however, means that the UK will not remain a part of EPAs. This has obvious repercussions for African producers dependent upon access to British consumers. Hard Brexit of course also raises the question of tariff access for British exporters vis-à-vis African markets. This chapter examines elite and civil society discourse about the possible contours of post-Brexit arrangements. In so doing it highlights UK aid as a likely leveraging device. Moreover, it critiques the ‘pro-poor’ discourse of Brexiteer elites. It does this in relation to the likely negative impact of envisaged free trade arrangements for African agro-processing and manufacturing sectors and the neo-colonial logic of making aid conditional on trade negotiations. Finally, the chapter concludes by assessing the potential usages of African Regional Economic Communities – or indeed the African Union – to mitigate neo-colonial trade and aid agendas.

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Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century

Between ambition and pragmatism


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