Foreign Affairs Committee

Beyond Aid: The UK’s Strategic Engagement in Africa inquiry

Inquiry status: Concluded

Due to the general election on 12 December 2019 the Committee has now closed this inquiry. Following the dissolution of Parliament on 6 November, all Select Committees will cease to exist until after the general election. If an inquiry on this subject is held in the future, the Committee may refer to the evidence already gathered as part of this inquiry.

Scope of the inquiry

Terms of Reference

This inquiry will be an opportunity to examine how the FCO engages at a strategic level across sub-Saharan Africa on key issues of importance to the UK such as security, migration, and trade. It will consider how effective that engagement is compared to other actors in the region (such as China, Russia and the Gulf States) and how the FCO might strengthen and improve its strategy to Africa.

The inquiry will use the FCO's strategic document 'The UK's new approach to Sub-Saharan Africa 10 Key Messages' and the former Prime Minister Theresa May's speech in Cape Town on 28 August 2018 as its basis. These two documents were described by the then Minister of State for Africa as "the framework that we are working across Government with other Departments to underpin the approach that we are taking over the next decade."

The Committee would welcome written submissions which address the following issues:

  • How effective is the FCO's ‘New approach to Sub-Saharan Africa?’  Is it clear what this approach is trying to achieve?  Is it an effective means of delivering UK influence in the continent?
  • How effectively do different UK Government departments work together to achieve UK ambitions in Africa?
  • How realistic are the UK's ambitions, as defined in their 'New approach to sub-Saharan Africa', and the reality of the UK's engagement on the ground?
  • Which countries outside of Africa are most influential in the continent? How do they achieve their influence?  Should the UK be learning from these countries approach or trying to counter it?
  • Does the FCO maximise its relationships in Africa with regards to cooperation on security, migration, and trade? What more could it be doing?
  • In countries such as Sudan and Zimbabwe, has the UK done enough to support and promote democratic transitions of government?  What more could it do to assist? How can we build longer term partnerships?


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