British campaigns for African development
The Trade Justice Movement
in Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century
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This chapter considers the impact of the Trade Justice Movement (TJM) on broader debates on African development. TJM became one of the three pillars of the Make Poverty History (MPH) coalition which played such a key role in 2005 in shaping understanding within the UK of the main barriers to African development. Often perceived as the poor relation of the MPH coalition, TJM’s focus on the rules of global trade added a crucial structural dimension to the diagnosis of African poverty and underdevelopment. In assessing the influence of TJM since its formation in 2000, the chapter considers three important dimensions. First, the concept ‘trade justice’ itself, how this has been framed and in particular how it relates to ‘fair trade’. Secondly, the organisational challenges faced by TJM given the wide range of non-governmental organisations involved and the changes in the composition of the UK Government since 2010. Thirdly, the focus of TJM’s advocacy is assessed and in particular the extent to which African development has featured in its campaigning since the dissolution of MPH. The chapter’s central argument is that TJM’s impact has been largely discursive rather than achieving significant changes in UK policy.

Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century

Between ambition and pragmatism

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