The relationship between the United Kingdom and Africa has a long and complicated history. While the UK has had a significant presence in Africa for many years, the country's role in the continent has been criticized by many as exploitative and self-serving. Most recently, the UK decided to turn Rwanda into their dumping ground for asylum seekers, by agreeing to an asylum seeker relocation program which sends all illegal immigrants coming through the English Channel to Rwanda. UK has paid Rwanda £140million to date for this programme, while their asylum seeker system costs them £3billion a year.
In this article, we will explore why the UK is no true friend of Africa and the history of how they have exploitated the continent for gain and resources.
One of the primary reasons why the UK is no true friend of Africa is its history of colonialism. For many years, the UK ruled over several African countries, including Kenya, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. During this time, the UK exploited African resources and people for its own benefit, without regard for the long-term impact on the continent.
The legacy of colonialism is still present in many African countries today, with many of them struggling to overcome the economic, political, and social challenges that were created by colonialism. The UK's role in this history cannot be ignored, and many argue that the country has not done enough to address the harm that was caused by colonialism.
2. Economic Exploitation
Another reason why the UK is no true friend of Africa is its history of economic exploitation. Many African countries are rich in natural resources, including oil, gas, and minerals. However, the UK has a long history of exploiting these resources for its own economic gain, often at the expense of local people.
For example, in Nigeria, the UK's oil companies have been accused of causing environmental damage and human rights abuses, while also paying very little in taxes to the Nigerian government. Similarly, in South Africa, the UK's mining companies have been accused of exploiting workers and causing environmental damage.
3. Arms Sales
The UK's role in arms sales to African countries is another reason why the country is no true friend of Africa. The UK is one of the world's largest arms exporters, and several African countries are among its customers.
However, the sale of arms to African countries has been criticized by many as contributing to conflict and human rights abuses on the continent. For example, the UK has sold arms to countries such as Angola, Ethiopia, and Sudan, all of which have been accused of human rights violations.
4. Immigration Policies
The UK's immigration policies have also been criticized as being unfriendly to African countries. In recent years, the UK has implemented policies that make it difficult for people from African countries to come to the UK to work or study.
For example, the UK's visa requirements are often seen as overly restrictive and expensive, making it difficult for many people from African countries to obtain visas. Lastly, the immigration policies between UK and African commonwealth countries have gotten worst over time. After plundering these countries for their resources they removed all visa free travel they had with them. The only African countries exempt from this are Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia, and Seychelles.
Most recently, the UK Home Secretary was asked if Sudanese citizens currently escaping the war zone in Sudan would be given a legal path to apply for asylum. Her response was no. The UK could do this for Ukraine, they could do this for Hong Kong but they can't do it for Sudan.
5. Aid Policies
Finally, the UK's aid policies have also been criticized as being unfriendly to Africa. While the UK is one of the world's largest donors of foreign aid, some argue that its policies are not always in the best interests of African countries.
For example, the UK's focus on aid that is tied to trade and economic development has been criticized as being self-serving, with some arguing that it benefits the UK more than it benefits African countries. Similarly, the UK's decision to cut aid to countries such as Sudan and Somalia has been criticized as being short-sighted and potentially harmful to the people who rely on that aid.
In conclusion, the UK is no true friend of Africa. Its history of colonialism, economic exploitation, arms sales, immigration policies, and aid policies all contribute to a complex relationship that is often characterized by mistrust and tension. While the UK has made some efforts to address these issues, there is still much work to be done to build a more equitable and mutually beneficial relationship between the UK and Africa.