How Brexit Affects Us In Nigeria

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Increasingly, everything is getting interconnected. Just the same way the activities of Niger Delta Avengers are impacting the global oil supply and price, and the monetary policies of the CBN is closely watched by major foreign investment houses, so also is the recent decision by Britain to breakaway from the European Union sending waves across the entire globe.

First, on a selfish level, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw how much my US stocks investment dropped yesterday. I logged out and logged in repeatedly to be sure I was seeing right. I even thought that maybe the stock investment app had a glitch. Then I saw headline news about how stocks across the globe are tumbling because of Brexit. So I stopped blaming the app and did what any real investor would do: buy more stocks when the prices are down. And that is the most personal effect the Brexit has had on me.

On a less selfish note, one of our Abuja Excel training participants works for DFID. Well, during break yesterday he called someone up there in his organization and asked how Brexit will impact funding. That is another dimension of effect it will have on Nigeria. Everyone with a business link to UK is now being very cautious, evaluating how this new circumstance will impact their livelihood.

Next -- exchange rate. I heard a Pound is exchanging for about 460 naira. That is good news for those still paying for their UK masters (especially the online ones billed in Pounds). Also ordering stuffs from UK Amazon and just got a whole lot cheaper. (Any chance USA be breaking away from something, anything?)

How about Nigerians living in the UK? How does this affect them? I think not very much, except no more easily visiting the entire Europe from UK. Nigerians already are subjected to strict immigration rules -- Visa requirement and work permits. It is the other EU country folks in UK who are bothered most -- the health insurance, public pension, work permit etc. And also British folks in other EU countries are bothered about same things. In fact, Google says a lot of people in UK are now searching for how to get an Irish passport (most likely British folks wanting to keep the benefits EU countries citizens enjoy). Even the breakdown of the vote by age brackets show that the youths overwhelmingly voted against breaking away from EU. They love the mobility it provides them. 

How does this affect Buhari? Compared to the things currently affecting him -- insignificantly. The only part he's shown concern about is the resignation of David Cameron. But it is difficult to say he likes it or not considering David Cameron called us fantastically corrupt last month.

How does this affect the average Nigerian (the masses)? Compared to our own stronger brewed homegrown "change" -- insignificantly. Except that businesses into selling UK education in Nigeria will now start advertising that there is now a promo price and UK schools have suddenly gotten cheaper.

When is UK's last day in EU? Most likely sometime in 2018. The breakaway is not instant. David Cameron is going to start the breakaway negotiation before leaving office in October (as stated in his resignation speech). There is a constitutional timeline of about two years to effect the breakaway. This is the first major exit of a country from the EU and no one really knows all the dynamics involved. Greenland has once done it but it was under a different complicated situation. The general belief is that UK won't try to change too much of their relationship with the other EU countries, it will replace the EU conditions with similar ones to maintain a lot of things. Its main issue is with uncheckable immigration and the billions it contributes to EU without getting a comparable value.

So how really does Brexit affect Nigeria? I would say more as a cascade effect from its effect on the global community. What we will mostly feel is the aftershock or ripples deflected from the international business and NGO community.

In conclusion, I am loving the dramatic changes happening in the world recently. I can't wait to see the change that will pop-out of the USA presidential election this year. May the most dramatic win!


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