France, for example, remains a major trading partner for many of its ex-colonies, such as Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon and Cameroon in sub-Saharan Africa and Morocco in North Africa.
Similarly, the British are "very comfortable" trading with former colonies like Kenya, Bhatia said, citing "common language, common culture, established trading links and knowledge of the market from both sides" when explaining why the ties between colonizers and colonized remained strong.
Trade between the EU and sub-Saharan Africa reached $205 billion in 2014, up from $66 billion in 2000, according to Standard Chartered Bank. It remains relatively concentrated in both directions, with the former colonial powers of Germany, France and the U.K. accounting for a little less than 45 percent of EU-sub-Saharan Africa trade.
By comparison, trade between China and sub-Saharan Africa topped $170 billion in 2013, up from negligible levels in 2000, according to the World Bank.