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Britain's Brexit decision does not mean the country will shun relations with Africa but reassurances are needed to forge sustainable economic partnerships, a prominent Labour politician has claimed
Speaking at the Africa Trade Forum held in Addis Ababa, 28 - 30 November, Paul Boateng, a member of the House of Lords, was quick to assure attendees including prominent senior government officials, CEOs, and executives of regional economic communities that June's momentous decision would not hit African trade, despite the uncertain climate.
However, he said the decision deals an opportunity to "put development at the heart of our trading relationship with Africa in a way frankly that it has not always been in relation to EPAs".
"There is clearly a need in the aftermath of Brexit for there to be a degree of reassurance given to Africa that Brexit doesn't mean that the United Kingdom is going to turn it's back on Africa and I'm able to assure you that right across the political divide in the UK, in both houses, Africa and the UK's historic link with Africa remains central to our thinking," he said.
Boateng, a Gold Coast native, raised concerns over the future of agricultural productivity and transport infrastructure in the continent, highlighting the demise of the direct rail link between suburban town Tafo in Ghana – a major cocoa growing region in the 1950s – and Takoradi, an important port hub.
"The rail link no longer exists and that has had a damaging effect on agriculture in Ghana but Ghana is not alone in seeing the deterioration of its infrastructure so the United Kingdom recognises the importance of infrastructure in terms of promoting inter-African trade."
As reported, global markets have absorbed sizeable shockwaves following the recent election of Donald J. Trump as the next president of the United States, a decision that occured hot on the heels of Britain's decision to end its long-standing alliance with the European Union.
While it is still too early to foresee any shaping in policy relations between the US and Africa, the "Trump effect" on the sub-Saharan African markets is expected to be "broadly neutral to negative", predicts Exotix.
US oil imports, a critical source of foreign currency reserves for oil-rich Nigeria, continue to fall, with current concerns over exchange rates likely to have more of an impact on investment in Nigerian stocks and bonds, it added.