Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century

Between ambition and pragmatism

Edited by Danielle Beswick, Jonathan Fisher and Stephen R. Hurt

Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-6033-1
  • Pages: 248
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £20.00
  • Published Date: September 2021
  • BIC Category: POLITICAL SCIENCE / General, Society & social sciences / Politics & government, Humanities / British & Irish history, Humanities / African history, Society & social sciences / Comparative politics, Politics, United Kingdom, Great Britain, Africa, 21st century, c 2000 to c 2100, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Comparative Politics, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, POLITICAL SCIENCE / World / African


Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century provides the first analysis 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 longstanding - and deeply complex - relationship.

This edited collection includes contributions from leading UK- and Africa-based scholars, as well as from Chatham House's Africa Programme Head and the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Africa. Examining trade, security, aid and peacekeeping, as well as the role of political parties, advocacy groups and the UK population itself, Britain and Africa provides an indispensable reference point for researchers and practitioners interested in contemporary UK-Africa relations and the place of Africa in British foreign policy.


'This collection gives an excellent and richly complex picture of the way in which Britain has shaped its ideas of and engagement with Africa across political elites, NGOs and the wider public. Its great strength emerges when it is exploring tensions and dilemmas: where NGOs try to navigate uncomfortable political waters, or where political parties need to deal with hostile constituencies and competing political demands. Although the book is extremely engaging and accessible, it doesn't simplify the politics.'
Julia Gallagher, Professor of African Politics, SOAS, University of London, author of Britain and Africa under Blair: in pursuit of the good state

'This important and detailed book provides a thorough and nuanced picture of the UK's relations with Africa. A broad range of scholars and other experts take the reader on a journey through successive British governments, Labour and Tory, and their relationships with the continent. With so many relatively newcomers in Africa, not least the Chinese, what will be the role of post-Brexit Britain?'
Mary Harper, Africa Editor, BBC

'Britain's relationship with Africa has never been easy or comfortable, and even in the twenty-first century the colonial past still casts a long shadow. This timely and insightful collection shows how far we have come in shaking off the image of empire, and how far we may still have to go in building robust and mutually beneficial relations with the leading economies and political actors on the African continent. Indispensable reading for anyone who needs to understand world affairs.'
David M Anderson, Professor of African History, University of Warwick


Foreword - Chi Onwurah MP, Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Africa

Introduction: UK Africa policy in the twenty-first century: business as usual? - Danielle Beswick, Jonathan Fisher and Stephen R Hurt

Part I: Africa in UK international relations: trade, aid, development and security
1 The evolution of UK policy to Sub-Saharan Africa (1997-2019) - Alex Vines
2 Africa's trade with Brexit Britain: neo-colonialism encounters regionalism? - Mark Langan
3 The UK and Africa relations: construction of the African Union's peace and security structures - Kasaija Phillip Apuuli
4 The securitisation of UK aid and DFID programmes in Africa: a comparative case study of Cameroon, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda - Ivica Petrikova and Melita Lazell
5 The UK and peacekeeping operations on the African continent - David Curran

Part II: Africa and UK actors: parties, publics and civil society
6 Rehabilitating the 'nasty party'? The Conservative Party and Africa from opposition to government - Danielle Beswick
7 Labour, international development and Africa: policy rethinking in opposition - William Brown
8 The mixed fortunes of African development campaigning under austerity and the Conservatives - Graham Harrison
9 British campaigns for African development: the Trade Justice Movement - Stephen R Hurt
10 International development NGOs, representations in fundraising appeals, and public attitudes in UK-Africa relations - Danielle Beswick, Niheer Dasandi, David Hudson and Jennifer van Heerde-Hudson
Conclusions: aspects of continuity and change after New Labour - Danielle Beswick, Jonathan Fisher and Stephen R Hurt



Danielle Beswick is Senior Lecturer in the International Development Department at the University of Birmingham

Jonathan Fisher is Head of the International Development Department and Reader in African Politics at the University of Birmingham and Research Fellow at the Centre for Gender and Africa Studies, University of the Free State

Stephen R. Hurt is Reader in International Relations at Oxford Brookes University

Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century

Edited by Danielle Beswick, Jonathan Fisher, Stephen R. Hurt

Paperback £20.00 / $29.95

Hardcover £85.00 / $130.00

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