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 It has not, however, been replaced by an alternative paradigm, leaving significant space for different forms of relationship to be built, or reconstructed.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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Aspects of continuity and change after New Labour

The chapters in this collection provide a rich, empirically informed picture of contemporary UK–Africa relations and a comprehensive assessment of how far UK Africa policy has changed since the New Labour Government’s loss of power in May 2010. What we find is that the overall picture is deeply ambiguous, with assessments differing according to the aspect of the relationship under study. On the one hand, development assistance and security concerns have continued to be important drivers of the UK–Africa relationship since 2010, as they

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

governments. Consequently, an analysis of contemporary UK Africa policy viewed through the lens of the Blair era tells us only one – incomplete – part of the story. The purpose of this book is therefore to explore what drives UK Africa policy today, focusing particularly on the period since the Labour Party’s 2010 departure from office. This edited collection, which brings together substantial and significant new material from policymakers, practitioners and scholars from different disciplines, addresses four main questions

in Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century

prime minister has set foot on any part of Africa since 2013. There is either no diplomatic presence, or only a vestigial one, in some 16 African countries. Japan now has more embassies in Africa than Britain, and Germany more aid workers. (Kettle, 2018 ) This may be an unfair caricature but it is partly correct, as this chapter shows, and the UK’s preoccupation with migration and particularly its visa policy is also demonstrably impacting its Africa ambitions. The chapter will bring together these different elements of UK Africa policy to

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

development’, Guardian , 4 October 2012, www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2012/oct/04/uk-labour-party-own-mind-development [accessed 28 September 2016]. Glennie, J. (2014) ‘Towards a new narrative on aid and international development’, paper presented to the BISA Africa and International Studies Working Group and ESRC Seminar Series on UK Africa Policy After Labour, University of Birmingham, 13 May 2014, www.open.ac.uk/socialsciences/bisa-africa/files/uk-africa-policy/Transcript%20of%20Glennie%20presentation.pdf [accessed

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

USA, they came to form the basis upon which subsequent UK Africa policy was to be built. The UK continued to search for ways to help Africa overcome its peace and security challenges through building and supporting regional institutions, especially the AU. The UK was among a number of Western governments to enthusiastically buy into the notion of ‘African solutions to African problems’ (Chafer, 2011 : 59; Williams, 2011 : 190). The establishment of the AU marked an institutional change, signalling a break from much of the post

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

be a key arena for UK foreign policy under any future Conservative Government. A key test of this would of course be how UK Africa policy fared if the Conservatives took power in 2010. Continued Africa focus in government: Cameron’s Coalition The failure of the Conservatives to win an absolute majority in the 2010 elections was a blow to Cameron’s credibility within the Party. Nevertheless, through Coalition with the Liberal Democrats he was able to form a Government that lasted a full parliamentary term. The

in Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century