The African leadership organisation conference. House of Lords, London. July 10,2023
To effectively understand and rethink the UK’s relationship with Africa in its geo-strategic context, the British government should take into account the changing dynamics of global power, emerging economies, and shifting geopolitical landscapes. The UK should move away from traditional donor-recipient models and embrace a more equal, partnership-based approach that values African perspectives, priorities, and solutions. By recognizing Africa’s growing influence and potential, the UK can forge a mutually beneficial relationship that promotes economic growth, stability, and shared prosperity for both sides.
Some of the pathways to consider in order strengthening the relationship between the UK and Africa while taking into account the geo-strategic context may include:
1. Economic cooperation: Foster increased trade and investment between the UK and Africa. This can be achieved through the establishment of bilateral trade agreements, promoting business partnerships, and supporting initiatives that facilitate economic growth in Africa. The UK can provide technical assistance, access to markets, and investment opportunities, while African countries can offer natural resources, emerging markets, and potential investment destinations.
2. Knowledge and skills exchange: Encourage educational and cultural exchanges between the UK and African countries. This can involve scholarships, research collaborations, and partnerships between academic institutions. Exchange programs will help develop a deeper understanding of each other’s cultures, promote knowledge transfer, and foster long-term relationships.
3. Security cooperation: Collaborate on security matters to address common threats such as terrorism, organized crime, and cyber threats. Enhance intelligence sharing, capacity building, and joint operations to ensure regional stability and peace. The UK can provide expertise, training, and logistical support, while African countries can contribute local knowledge and resources.
4. Climate change and environmental cooperation: Collaborate on addressing climate change and environmental challenges. The UK and African countries can work together to promote renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, conservation, and adaptation measures. Joint efforts to tackle climate change can enhance resilience, protect biodiversity, and create economic opportunities.
5. Acknowledging Africa’s Geo-strategic Importance: The British government needs to recognize Africa’s increasing geo-strategic significance in the global arena. Africa’s growing population, natural resources, and emerging markets present opportunities for the UK. Understanding the geopolitical dynamics and engaging with African countries in a strategic manner can help the UK secure its interests, expand its influence, and build partnerships based on mutual respect and shared goals.