The Trade Justice Movement

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.

in Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century
Between ambition and pragmatism

Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century provides the first analysis of the state of UK Africa policy in the era of austerity, Conservative government and Brexit. It explores how Britain’s relationship with Africa has evolved since the days of Blair, Brown and Make Poverty History and examines how a changing UK political environment, and international context, has impacted upon this long-standing – and deeply complex – relationship. This edited collection provides an indispensable reference point for researchers and practitioners interested in contemporary UK–Africa relations and the broader place of Africa in British politics and foreign policy. Across twelve chapters, the book’s contributors examine how far UK Africa policy has been transformed since the fall of the 1997–2010 Labour Government and how far Conservative, or Conservative-led, Governments have reshaped and re-cast links with the continent. The book includes analyses of UK approaches to diplomacy, security, peacekeeping, trade and international development in, or with, Africa. The contributions, offered by UK- and Africa-based scholars and practitioners, nonetheless take a broader perspective on UK–Africa relations, examining the changing perspectives, policies and actions of political parties, advocacy groups and the UK population itself. The authors argue that the Afro-optimism of the Blair years no longer provides the guiding framework for UK engagement with Africa. It has not, however, been replaced by an alternative paradigm, leaving significant space for different forms of relationship to be built, or reconstructed. The book includes a foreword by Chi Onwurah MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Africa.

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UK Africa policy in the twenty-first century: business as usual?

This chapter introduces, and sets out the rationale for, the edited collection, which examines the extent to which UKAfrica policy has taken on a distinctive character since the end of the New Labour era (1997–2010). The central argument advanced is that there is a need for scholars to explore the connections between different domestic and international drivers of UK Africa policy if they are to better understand the relationships between Britain and Africa, as well as the successes and failures of efforts to influence policy in this area. The chapter outlines the main areas of focus for the collection, and reviews and synthesises existing literature on the UK–Africa relationship. The authors situate the collection within three areas of inquiry: change and continuity in UK interests in Africa (instrumentalisation), power dynamics within UK–Africa relationships (agency) and the place of Africa in domestic UK politics (identity).

in Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century
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Aspects of continuity and change after New Labour

This chapter reviews and summarises the main findings of the collection and their implications for scholarship and policy. The chapter highlights some critical changes in emphasis in UK Africa policy since 2010, including divergences in emphasis and policy around trade across the three main UK political parties and a growing fracture in the 1997–2010 political consensus around UK development policy. In these cases, as with wider UK Africa policy, Brexit has represented a critical point of reference. The chapter also explores continuities in UK Africa policy since 1997 (and before), particularly in the realm of security and wider UK–Africa diplomacy. The chapter concludes by exploring the implications of the collection’s findings for understanding broader power dynamics in the UK–Africa relationship and for future policy itself.

in Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century