Brexit and the UK‐Africa Caribbean and Pacific Aid Relationship

DFID - UK Department for International Development (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Debates about Brexit draw on powerful discursive mechanisms that have important implications for the UK–Africa, Caribbean and Pacific aid relationship. Some of these narratives can be characterized in the following ways: first, that Brexit is an opportunity to recreate a Global Britain after a period of EU membership that saw the UK neglect its former partners, particularly the Commonwealth. Second, the costs of EU membership are profligate and these funds could be better utilized by the national government. Third the Brexit ‘divorce bill’ is a penalty exacted by the EU for the UK's decision to leave. This article explores these claims via the EU‐ACP relationship, and proposes three counter arguments. First, the discourse of ‘neglect’ overlooks the external relationships the UK has maintained through EU membership. Second, these relationships have provided ‘value for money’ for the UK. Third, these contributions represent a significant proportion of the Brexit ‘divorce bill’ and are on‐going financial commitments that the UK was central in establishing. The article then reviews the potential impact of Brexit on UK aid, arguing that rather than reinvigorating Global Britain Brexit threatens to undermine the UK's position in global development, current levels of aid and longstanding commitments to eradicate poverty.