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

Fifteen years after Tony Blair placed Africa at the heart of British foreign policy in his famous ‘scar on our consciences’ speech at the 2001 Labour Party Conference (Blair, 2001 ), the place of Africa in UK international relations could hardly be more ambiguous. For some in Whitehall, Africa represents ‘an exciting trading opportunity’ for a post-Brexit world (Price, 2017 ); for others a source of ‘marauding’ and ‘desperate’ migrants who represent a ‘threat’ to British security (Perraudin, 2015 ). Africa is also the main focus of

in Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century
Construction of the African Union’s peace and security structures

This chapter discusses the role of the UK in supporting African Union (AU) peace and security structures, particularly the AU’s Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), since 2010. The 1997–2010 Labour Government, unlike its immediate predecessors (Conservative governments led by Margaret Thatcher and John Major), gave Africa policy a high profile, and showed enthusiasm for grand initiatives like the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, a programme for African regeneration. The Labour Government’s African policy style was marked, on

in Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century

to South Sudan, and seventy to Somalia, effectively doubling the UK’s existing contribution to all UN operations, it is useful to reflect on this relationship, and to attempt to identify themes that can be seen in UK engagement. This chapter, therefore, seeks to chart how the UK has engaged with UN peacekeeping on the African continent, using a broadly chronological approach. The chapter argues that while it is difficult to identify a single overarching policy towards UN operations on the African continent, there are identifiable trends

in Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century
Policy rethinking in opposition

Labour’s Africa policy under the Governments of Tony Blair (1997–2007) and Gordon Brown (2007–10) was remarkable both for its prominence and its ambition. Few UK Governments in recent times have made Africa such a focus of foreign and development policy. Not only did the UK respond actively to crises as they arose, whether in Sierra Leone or Zimbabwe, but the Labour Government came to promote a long-term and high-profile programme of support for African development. Indeed, Labour made so much of the running on international development

in Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century
The Conservative Party and Africa from opposition to government

with Africa. This is justified by the central role Africa has played in UK development policy over the past two decades, as a major recipient of UK development assistance and as a recurring feature in the rhetoric of UK politicians. The subsequent sections review engagement with Africa under five Conservative Party leaders since 1997. Identifying key moments of engagement with Africa under successive Party leaders in opposition, Coalition and Conservative Government, these will demonstrate that Africa policy has been used to support a

in Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century
A comparative case study of Cameroon, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda

, with conflict and weak governance in Africa highlighted as central to UK security concerns (e.g. Department for International Development, 2007 : Her Majesty’s Treasury and Department for International Development, 2015 ). Empirical analysis of aid-provision trends in this regard is still scarce, but does suggest that the UK has, in line with the policy discourse, generally augmented the provision of development aid and prioritised activities deemed to enhance security, broadly defined. What exactly does this aid fund, however, and what

in Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century
The Trade Justice Movement

With the rise of neoliberal thinking during the 1980s and the associated preference for export-oriented development strategies, trade liberalisation became a firmly established orthodoxy within policy elites. The idea of ‘special and differential’ treatment for developing countries, within the rules of global trade, came under increasing pressure as a result. In the context of UK policy towards Africa, this is a view that was entrenched during the period that followed the end of the Cold War. As Williams noted, ‘both the Conservative and

in Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century

backbencher James Lester (Conservative, Broxtowe), who suggested that the only viable response was for the Government to support the OAU in reaching a negotiated settlement.15 Hurd agreed: as one of his predecessors had suggested in the House back in 1964, as the FCO had suggested in the memorandum to the First Secretary in Kampala in 1990 and as Edward Clay had suggested in his February 1994 reports, Rwanda was a problem for Africans, not the UK. Following this brief exchange, MPs would not have the opportunity to question Hurd in person again for another month. In this

in The ignorant bystander?
Challenges and opportunities

This book explores the evolving African security paradigm in light of the multitude of diverse threats facing the continent and the international community today and in the decades ahead. It challenges current thinking and traditional security constructs as woefully inadequate to meet the real security concerns and needs of African governments in a globalized world. The continent has becoming increasingly integrated into an international security architecture, whereby Africans are just as vulnerable to threats emanating from outside the continent as they are from home-grown ones. Thus, Africa and what happens there, matters more than ever. Through an in-depth examination and analysis of the continent’s most pressing traditional and non-traditional security challenges—from failing states and identity and resource conflict to terrorism, health, and the environment—it provides a solid intellectual foundation, as well as practical examples of the complexities of the modern African security environment. Not only does it assess current progress at the local, regional, and international level in meeting these challenges, it also explores new strategies and tools for more effectively engaging Africans and the global community through the human security approach.

Neo-colonialism encounters regionalism?

The Brexit campaign for the UK to leave the EU was predicated upon a number of policy claims from the leading ‘Brexiteer’ politicians, notably Liam Fox, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson. One particularly interesting claim was that a Brexit decision to leave the EU would offer a progressive opportunity for improved, ‘pro-poor’ ties with Commonwealth countries in Africa (Lowe, 2016 ; Murray-Evans, 2016 ; Plummer, 2015 ; UKIP, 2016 ). According to the Brexiteer discourse, EU trade and aid policies are skewed against the economic and

in Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century