But while African countries may be less reliant on foreign aid than ever before, their relationship to donor states, and the UK in particular, remains critically important.
Relative to gross national income, the UK is among the world’s most generous aid donors, a stature that gives Britain a larger voice in shaping the international development agenda.
As British assistance in Africa has evolved from narrow poverty-reduction efforts to funding business projects in countries like Ethiopia and Rwanda, the UK has emerged as a key ally in helping Africa execute its own development strategy.
If Brexit leads to a less globally engaged UK, recipients of British assistance will suffer for it.
It is up to African businesses and governments to refocus Britain’s attention.
With the right incentives, Africa could come to play a more central role in UK economic planning.
For that to happen, though, African leaders must help their British counterparts see that with change comes opportunity.
As the UK readies to turn away from the EU, Africa must be ready to pick up the slack.
By Carlos Lopes. This story was first published by Project Syndicate