Brexit does not mean that the British government will turn its back on Africa, Lord Paul Boateng, a Member of the United Kingdom’s House of Lords has said.
He was speaking at the first ever Africa Trade Forum (ATF) which the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union (AU) hosted this week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Boateng said Brexit presents Africa and the UK with 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 the EPAs, let’s be frank about it”.
“The UK recognises that and we will seek every opportunity to minimise the disruption in our trading relationship and take every opportunity to seize this chance to re-fashion the relationship between the UK and Africa in terms of trade so intra-African trade becomes an opportunity which we can seize together,” he said.
He assured participants to ATF, including African ministers of trade, finance and transport as well as senior government officials, heads of regional economic communities (RECs), African CEOs and executives, representatives of international development agencies, civil society and others, that trade relations between the UK and Africa will not be affected following Brexit.
“There is clearly a need in the aftermath of Brexit for there to be a degree of reassurance given to Africa,” he said.