Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The impact of Brexit on Francophone Africa

Kohnert, Dirk (2019): The impact of Brexit on Francophone Africa.

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Abstract

Whereas the impact of Brexit on Anglophone Africa was a major issue in the controversial British discussions on the pros and cons of Brexit, possible repercussions on French-speaking Africa have been rarely mentioned up to now. If at all, mostly indirect general effects were declared, both concerning the former British Empire in Africa and a fortifori for the former French colonies as well. Yet, the range of possible Brexit effect is impressive. It spreads from direct influence on farm-gate cocoa-prices in the CFA-currency regions and subsequent percussions on the state budget of these countries, over more indirect effects, e.g. on the cooperation between CEMAC, WAEMU and the EU concerning EDF-programs of which Great Britain has been a major contributor so far, as well as enforced re-negotiation of controversial EPAs, to the revival of progressive social networks in Francophone Africa. The latter are already demanding more political and economic sovereignty, for example with respect to the increasingly anachronistic F CFA currency. Yet, in view of the lack of countervailing power of Britain within the EU in the case of Brexit, the murky network of Françafrique could be re-vitalized and consolidated as well. Besides, there could develop also direct effects of the Brexit. For example, on coca-farmers in Francophone West Africa, because their product is traditionally traded in Pound Sterling. Thus, any fall in the value of the Pound Sterling against the Euro once Britain leaves the EU would have damaging consequences, not only for the producers but also for public finances, because cocoa is priced in Sterling and the CFA franc is linked to the Euro. This impacts also on the revival of the long-standing controversy on the ill-adapted and increasingly anachronistic F CFA. African activists already demand a genuine African debate and a referendum on these issues similar to the Brexit vote.

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