Building capacity to help Africa trade better

African Trade and Integration in a Post-Brexit World


African Trade and Integration in a Post-Brexit World

African Trade and Integration in a Post-Brexit World
Photo credit: Bloomberg

After more than four decades of trade being governed by EU policies, Brexit means UK-Africa trading relations are now at a crossroads.

Most Sub-Saharan African (SSA) exports enjoy free access into the UK market under the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme for LDCs or the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), where signed (except for South Africa under the SADC EPA). If there is no equivalent treatment post-Brexit, SSA products entering the UK would face higher most-favoured nation duties and greater competition in specific products from more efficient suppliers.

For some SSA countries, like Botswana, Seychelles or Mauritius, the UK market is extremely important for their overall world exports; for others, the UK is a niche export market for specific goods: beef, coffee, tea, fish, flowers or vegetables.

This presentation outlines some policy options to avoid any trade disruptions post Brexit. For example, the UK could extend and improve EBA-type preferences for LDCs and provide transitional arrangements for SSA countries while paving the way for building a long-run trading relationship.

Having now triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the UK should reassure SSA countries and LDCs that their market access into the UK after the two-years of withdrawal negotiations from the EU will be just as favourable as existing arrangements. Given Brexit-related uncertainties, such reassurances of trade continuity are imperative for investment decisions and future planning.

This presentation by Dr. Brendan Vickers, Economic Adviser – International Trade Policy, Commonwealth Secretariat, formed part of the launch of the Centre for Trade and Regional Integration, a joint project of the UNDP and the dti, on 30 March 2017 in Pretoria.

» Download: African Trade and Integration in a Post-Brexit World (PDF)


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