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Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Africa's farmers fret over Brexit amid calls to boost regional trade

UN trade conference in Nairobi says boosting intra-African trade would help protect continent from economic shocks. African countries must trade more between themselves to be better equipped to deal with shocks in the global economy such as that caused by Britain’s vote to leave the EU. Speakers at a forum on the sidelines of the 14th UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) said enhanced intra-African trade would reduce poverty and help development at a faster rate than most other reforms and would make regional blocs within the continent more attractive to investors. It would also help to cushion against dramatic developments in other markets. The UK-based Overseas Development Institute expects the post-Brexit slump in the pound to cost developing countries nearly $4bn (£3.1bn) in the coming year, with exports projected to decline by approximately $500m. Countries such as Bangladesh, Mauritius, Fiji, Belize and Kenya, whose flowers, garments, sugar, bananas, tea and coffee exports find a large market in the UK, are forecast to be hit particularly hard.