After the 2016 vote for Brexit, the UK was forced to take a hard look in the mirror. The government’s ties to the EU that had previously been a source of contention were now gone, but so were the jobs and trade benefits that both parties had enjoyed as a result of its partnership. People began to ask: what now?
Fast-forward to October 2018, like old schoolmates, Ghanaian President Akufo-Addo and UK Prime Minister Theresa May sat across from each other, laughing as they exchanged jokes at the UK-Ghana Investment Summit, an event that began setting the stage for ￡1 billion in vetures in Ghana’s private and government sectors. The goals of this summit were clear and so were the intentions of PM Theresa May, who promised “a radical expansion of the U.K.’s presence in Africa”.
The UK government, as well as the UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce, has expressed interest in the promotion of ‘partnerships’ and ‘technical assistance’, but what does this actually mean? The chamber of commerce has offered full funding for companies willing to sell nearly one third of their companies to British investors.
Many are expressing concerns that these ‘mentorships’ are more-or-less takeovers of vulnerable African businesses that could lead to the growth of the UK’s economy at the expense of the average Ghanaian. To me, it seems obvious that the British exploitation of the Commonwealth appears to be the easiest path of redemption, but at what cost?