Brexit and European Union disintegration: Lessons for the Africa's Integration

South Africa - 4 October 2019

Trade topics: Other

On the 29 March 2017 the former British PM Theresa May invoked Article 50 and officially began the process of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, also popularly known as ‘Brexit’. There have been very many analyses about the consequences of Brexit for Europe and the UK but not as much emphasis on the perception of Brexit as a sign of European disintegration and the resultant implication of its role as a model of integration to other regions of the world. This paper contributes to this debate by outlining a number of lessons Brexit and a perception of European Disintegration brings to the integration discourse in Africa. It argues that Brexit calls for a re-examination of the role of cooperative hegemons in advancing integration agendas especially when at odds with their domestic interests. Brexit also highlights citizen’s ownership and participation in the integration agenda especially in functional democratic environments. Both lessons have clear implications for Africa’s integration agenda which has often struggled with citizen’s participation and the incorporation of the interests of the member states in the integration agenda. The paper concludes by arguing that notwithstanding the challenge presented by Brexit, the EU remains an authoritative integration experience that has a number of valuable lessons to offer to Africa’s integration trajector.