Britain’s vote to leave the European Union (EU) does not threaten Malawi, according to High Commissioner to Lilongwe, Micheal Nevin who has reassured the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Francis Kasaila on Friday after British voters have chosen to leave the EU.
The reverberations of the Brexit vote were felt in Malawi as many people questioned what would be the effects to the southern African nation.
But Nevin said in a statement made available to Nyasa Times that the UK has a strong bilateral relationship with Malawi over a long history which will not be affected.
“I have spoken to Foreign Minister Hon Francis Kasaila and reassured him that our strong bilateral relationship will continue and hopefully strengthen further,” Nevin said.
“We will continue to work alongside our partners in support of Malawi’s prosperity and security, to the mutual benefit of all,” the British High Commissioner reassured.
Many Malawians living in UK took part in the vote as members of the Commonwealth, including this reporter who casted his ballot in Leeds, West Yorkshire.
Nevin said in holding a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union, the Britain has delivered “perhaps the biggest democratic exercise in our history.”
He said the referendum underlines UK’s credentials as a committed parliamentary democracy “where we resolve major issues about our future through peaceful debate.”
Nevin highlighted what UK Prime Minister David Cameron said that that the British people have voted to leave EU and their will must be respected. Cameron has since offered to resign.
“We must now prepare for a negotiation with the European Union. Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union will first need to be triggered by the UK to start the formal and legal process of leaving the EU, which then has up to two years to complete,” Nevin stated.
“ There will be no initial change in the way people can travel, in the way goods can move or the way services can be sold,” he explained.
He continued: “We are confident of finding the best way for the UK. We are a great trading nation, a multi-racial, multi-faith democracy, with our economy, our ideas and values, our science and arts, our engineering and our creativity respected the world over. “
Nevin said UK will remain a big player on the global stage as a permanent United Nations Security Council member, a leading member of NATO, the G7 and G20.
“ We are the only country to meet commitments both to 2% of GDP on defence spending and 0.7% of GNI on development assistance, keeping our promises to the poorest people in the world. We remain the 5th largest economy globally and Britain’s economy is fundamentally strong,” he said.
The UK decision to sump EU has hit headlines of world media and African newspapers report the story prominently as they fear the impact of Brexit on their own economy.
According to BBC some say a UK free from the EU will be keen to improve its trade relationships with its Commonwealth partners – including Malawi and many African nations.
Much of the debate running up to the EU referendum centred on immigration.
Now that Brexit has been confirmed, Malawians and other Africans living in the UK and those hoping to go to the UK are concerned about their status and what a post-Brexit immigration policy would be, but many analysts are saying that controls are bound to be tighter, according to BBC.
Others say that, in order to boost trade relations with several African countries, the UK could make immigration for Commonwealth citizens slightly easier.
After all, the IMF predicts that by 2019 the Commonwealth will contribute more to the world’s economic output than the EU and Malawians being members of the Commonwealth may have an easier time immigrating to the UK than those from non-Commonwealth African states.
According to BBC, there may be some “unintended consequences” as well.
In the New York Times, Steven Erlanger suspects the Brexit result has left many Britons feeling “existential anxiety” about what kind of country they want to live in.
“The impact of this plebiscite is likely to be profound and long-lasting, well beyond the immediate tumult in the financial markets, and the questions about Britain’s future will be answered against the backdrop of potential political, legal and economic upheaval,” he wrote.
Indian news portals, amid reporting the latest developments from what The Hindu calls “The Divided Kingdom”, also reflect on the possible impact for their own country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :