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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

What Would Britain's Exit From Europe Mean for Uganda?

"We too have a role in determining our response and where feasible, we should make choices that reflect our reassessment of priorities within a changing world," said Ms Theresa May, the British Prime Minister. "...I want us to be a secure, prosperous, tolerant country, a magnet for international talent and a home to the pioneers and innovators that will shape the world ahead." It was a bitter-sweet farewell following the delivery of Ms May's historic letter to Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, officially notifying him of the intention to trigger Article 50 and quit the European Union (EU). Perhaps it feels like the end of an episode in one's favourite TV series, as you wait for what happens next. The potential departure will have a negotiation of terms that will last two years and will likely negatively affect the global economy. It is my hope that it would take a shorter time, leaving a favourable time for Uganda to adjust to the anticipated change before withdrawal is actually effective. Often, some have intimated why we should not be bothered, with such rhetoric as "they colonised us... ..serves them right"... ."what is in it for Uganda?" This on-going debate has only focused on the economic impact of Brexit without taking the social and political impact Brexit will have on Uganda and vice versa (yes, vice versa!). As a lawyer, it strikes me that this fallout from Brexit highlights the point that legal and institutional frameworks do matter to the functioning of economies. I do not think we can quantify the economic effect of this exodus because we do not know the specific terms of UK's withdrawal from the EU. So what does this have to do with Uganda? Firstly, Uganda like many other African countries has had a bitter-sweet political and economic relationship with UK and the EU. The effect of the lowering value of the British pound compared to the Shilling is that the value of the remittances to Uganda would be reduced. However this reduction in the purchasing power value of remittances between UK and Uganda, maybe no less meaningful to the lives of the recipients.

Source: Allafrica