UK’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly Unveils Vision for Strong Partnerships with Africa at Lagos Speech

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In a powerful and visionary speech delivered in Lagos, Nigeria, the UK’s Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, highlighted a positive vision for the UK’s partnerships with Africa. Addressing an enthusiastic audience, Cleverly emphasized the enduring friendship between the UK and African countries, pledging a commitment to a shared future that addresses geopolitical challenges and embraces new opportunities for growth and cooperation.

Lagos, a bustling global city renowned for its entrepreneurial spirit and innovation, served as the perfect backdrop for Cleverly to outline the UK’s vision of collaboration with not only Nigeria but the entire African continent. Rooted in historical ties and the vibrant diaspora communities, the UK’s relationship with Africa extends across various sectors, including academia, business, defense, and development.

As a reflection of his personal connection to Africa, Cleverly shared his pride in his Sierra Leonean heritage, reaffirming the importance of a future-focused approach. Referencing Ghana’s first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Cleverly emphasized the significance of looking forward while highlighting the ongoing battle of ideas surrounding the future of the international order.

Respect for sovereignty, human rights, democracy, and the rule of law emerged as core values in the UK’s foreign policy. Cleverly acknowledged and commended the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States for their strong stance on defending democratic values and constitutional order, especially in Niger.

Central to the UK’s vision is recognizing Africa’s growing influence and demographic significance on the global stage. With projections showing that half of Africa’s population will be under 25 by 2050, Cleverly stressed the importance of reforming international financial institutions to better represent the world’s economic and political landscape.

Cleverly highlighted the UK’s role as one of the biggest international investors in Africa, emphasizing the commitment to even more significant investment in the future. Key areas of focus include sustainable development, climate action, and empowering women and girls’ economic development. The UK government plans to promote private sector investment in Nigeria and other African countries, recognizing that private capital is essential for driving growth and development.

The speech showcased the UK’s determination to forge new partnerships and strengthen existing ones with African countries. Cleverly announced the upcoming UK-African Investment Summit in London, set to be a milestone event, demonstrating the UK’s increasing engagement and commitment to Africa’s future prosperity and security.

Cleverly highlighted that a prosperous, stable, and secure Africa benefits not only the 1.5 billion people living on the continent but also the UK and the world. The Foreign Secretary’s speech underscored the UK’s desire to work shoulder-to-shoulder with African partners, shaping a future that addresses shared challenges, harnesses opportunities, and improves living standards for all.

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