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Wednesday, 07 September 2016

How Africa can benefit from Brexit

The last few months have seen some significant developments for African trade and integration. These advances come at a crucial time for African countries, which have been particularly hard hit by the slump in commodity prices, China’s economic downturn, and higher external borrowing costs. This has resulted in slower GDP growth than expected, currency fluctuations and reduced investment—particularly in resource-rich countries. New dynamics are emerging as a result of two major developments: first, a set of agreements between regional African blocs and the European Union, as well as between African countries themselves. Second, Brexit may change the thrust of African trade with both the EU and Britain. Combined, they are likely to have some positive economic implications for Africa. Intra-African trade has comprised about 15 percent of Africa’s total trade over the last decade. This compares with intra-regional trade rates of, for example, 17 percent in South and Central America, and 62 percent in Asia. African exports to the EU have increased substantially in recent years, from €85 billion in 2004 to more than €150 billion in 2014.