Britain finally exited the European Union (EU) on Friday, to begin a new era outside the continental body that it belonged to for the past 47 years.
After voting more than three years ago in a referendum to leave the union, the UK officially left the European Union at 23:00 GMT to start an 11-month transition period during which the country will try to sign as many new trade deals as possible. African countries are said to be a prime target.
The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, speaking on the eve of the departure said, “For many people this is an astonishing moment of hope, a moment they thought will never come.
“And there are many of course who feel a sense of anxiety and loss,” he said.
Of course, while some hailed the exit of the UK from the EU membership, others expressed sadness that Britain no longer belongs to the EU.
But perhaps the biggest question on the lips of Africans and particularly Ghanaians is; after Brexit, what will be the future relations between UK and African countries?
As of now, no one has been able to predict what the future holds or what would happen next. Even the experts are uncertain.
Last weekend, South Africa’s Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was quoted as saying that if the UK exited the EU, “the volatility and uncertainty could have a serious impact on us as a country”.
Until the fog of panic clears, that will hold true, not only for South Africa, but for the continent as a whole.
What is certain however is that, trade and investments are going to be affected most by Brexit.
Experts say that, most of the trade arrangements the UK has with African countries were negotiated through the EU. This means the agreements will cease to apply or will have to be renegotiated when the UK now that it is no longer a member of the EU, a process that is expected to take several months.
From now onwards, African governments may need to redefine their trade and diplomatic relations with a post-Brexit Britain and Europe, a difficult time for Africa, they say, because the UK would no longer shape and lead some of the most important initiatives on the African continent that form the basis of co-operation between Europe and the continent.
The Ghanaian Times agrees with those who argue that in post- Brexit, Britain would be able to focus more on bilateral relationships with Africa and with its traditional partners and to really look at Africa for its needs rather than looking at it through the eyes of the EU.
It is our prayer is that all unintended consequences in relation to Brexit such as immigration and development aid would be fashioned out in a manner that would be beneficial to Africa and the UK.
Although, overall we do not know what to expect moving into the future, we expect a marked improvement in relations generally between Africa and a UK free from the EU.
Until we scale the uncertainty, we wish Britain all the best in their post Brexit journey.