Brexit, the United Kingdom and International Development Aid

What Next: Defeat of May's deal means new Brexit precipice, March 30, 2019 | © Courtesy of Tiocfaidh ár lá 1916/Flickr.
What Next: Defeat of May's deal means new Brexit precipice, March 30, 2019 | © Courtesy of Tiocfaidh ár lá 1916/Flickr.

On May 31, 2018, Cletus Famous Nwankwo has published an article entitled “Brexit: Critical Juncture in the UK’s International Development Agenda?” in Open Political Science.

A Blog Post by Pablo Markin.


In his paper, Cletus Famous Nwankwo has concentrated on Brexit, in order to investigate “ongoing or potential policy reform in the UK’s international development programmes” (16). This author, thus, aims to examine how the United Kingdom  “could untangle and reconfigure itself amidst a complex institutional network of regional states’ association” (16) in the near future. In this context, Nwankwo also notes that the UK, alongside the European Union (EU), has historically exercised a shaping influence on international affairs, as part of its “‘soft diplomacy,’ forged through the principle of Aid for Trade (AFT)—especially in Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) regions. The purpose of AFT is to provide development aid to developing countries to enhance trade ties and other areas of cooperation between them and the EU (Price, 2016)” (16).

As this researcher, however, also adds, “the ACP Commonwealth countries will retain their trade ties with both the EU and UK after Brexit, but […] if the UK cannot match the trade benefits the EU provides for ACP states, it risks losing the market without new trade arrangements” (17). On the one hand,  according to Nwankwo, “[t]he UK government has indicated it will continue to partner with the EU in international development on a case-by-case basis, subject to “transparency, accountability, and value for money” (DFID, 2017, p. 2). However, it will pursue its ambition of being the leading actor in international development (DFID, 2017)” (17). On the other hand, Brexit, as this article tentatively explores, “could be a critical juncture that disrupts several policy areas in the UK’s international development institutions after an extended period of its membership of the EU” (18).

Consequently, Nwankwo concludes that analyses of Brexit should take into account “not only to the ideas and exogenous factors that drive the policy choices and that shape the policy reform process but also on “the larger social, economic and political context in which these ideas are situated” (Peters et al., 2005, p. 1297)” (18). In other words, in relation to the UK, the stability of its international aid policies is likely to depend on “the adhesive nature of institutions and actors within them, guarding against changing the existing practices, rules, and norms once a pattern has been established (Greener, 2002; Cerna, 2013; Pierson, 2015)” (18).

By Pablo Markin


Featured Image Credits: What Next: Defeat of May’s deal means new Brexit precipice, March 30, 2019 | © Courtesy of Tiocfaidh ár lá 1916/Flickr.

Cite this article as: Pablo Markin, "Brexit, the United Kingdom and International Development Aid," in De Gruyter Open, 29/05/2019, https://dgo.hypotheses.org/438.

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