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Brexit: The Divide Heard Around the World
By admin June 27, 2016

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Brexit

The news of Britain having voted to leave the European Union (EU) has certainly been shocking for the citizens of the region, but this separation will have massive repercussions all around the world. The ripples of this divide would particularly hurt the international development arena due to the change in funding and assistance available. Britain has an important role in not only the amount of aid she provides but also in the control and accountability of the use of these funds.

In terms of monetary value, the amount of British foreign aid has fallen by USD $1.4 million overnight.  In a February letter, development leaders and experts penned a letter in The Guardian urging the vote to ‘stay’: “In our view, EU membership is a practical way to extend our reach and multiply our influence. Every pound of aid the U.K. spends through EU institutions is matched by £6 from other member states. This larger pool delivers better lives for the poorest people. It also helps tackle problems in areas where the U.K. has no large presence, for example in the Sahel and parts of West Africa. EU aid complements activities that other aid agencies cannot undertake, like police and security missions in fragile hotspots.”

Not only aid but also trade agreements between several African nations and the EU are now affected due to the separation. There are nations where the UK has no presence and has made their way into the market due to the relationship of that nation with another EU nation. In addition, it impacts Britain’s bargaining power. In the most simplistic terms: the value of twenty-eight is greater than the value of one. Having a seat at the table with the EU gave Britain unparalleled bargaining power and a much wider presence across the globe. Attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), reaching the counties with most need, and much more has now become more difficult with Britain’s voice being absent from the table.

In a more specific example, a key issue that could be affected by the Brexit is one of agricultural subsidies. The Brookings Institute reported: “For years, the U.K. has criticized the current subsidies European countries have in place, which have hindered African farmers’ trade capacities…With more than 60 percent of Africa’s economically active population working in agriculture, the subsidies take an important toll on the livelihoods of a majority of Africans. The U.K. has been a key opponent of the subsidies. In a situation where the U.K. was to leave the EU, there would not be a strong voice within the EU advocating for the livelihoods of African farmers.”

In all, the international development world is going to face negative repercussions as a result of Britain’s exit from the EU. However, with much speculation about the referendum and even talks of a re-vote, it remains to be seen just how big this effect will end up being. Whatever the outcome is, those involved certainly hope for a mutually beneficial outcome for all the nations involved.

References:

Brookings Institute:africa-brexit-trade-aid-economy

The Guardian: brexit-would-harm-efforts-to-tackle-global-poverty-uk-aid-figures-warn

Brexit-causes-value-of-u-k-foreign-aid-to-drop-by-1-4-billion

Brexit-and-the-future-of-the-uk-s-international-development-agenda

Devex: Brexit and EU Development Assistance

DANDC: Why brexit would hurt international development


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