This paper looks at the future of South Africa-United Kingdom trade relations in the post-Brexit period. It provides a brief background and looks at the history of trade relations until the onset of democracy in1994. It then looks at SA-UK trade relations since 1994, including the negotiations the led to the Southern African Development Community-Economic Partnership Agreement. This sets the context for the current SA-UK negotiations for a post-Brexit trade arrangement. The question this paper seeks to address is: will the post-Brexit period be characterised by an increasingly aggressive Britain striving to re-assert its power in the World and advance its mercantilist interests in South Africa and Africa, or shall the world see a new idealist Britain seeking to increase cooperation in its own region and the world, re-building multilateral governance based on the values and principles of inclusivity, equity and sustainable development? It will be argued that South Africa should expect the first scenario but also prepare to influence the UK towards the second scenario. Some policy recommendations will be made both for South Africa and Africa in their future post-Brexit trade and investment relations.
The paper will become part of a series of research papers produced in co-operation between the Centre for Comparative Law in Africa at UCT, the Nelson Mandel School of Public Governance at UCT and TIPS.