Nicholas Westcott

A regular blog from RAS Director, Nicholas Westcott.


Monday, 27 August 2018
Written by Nicholas Westcott
On 28 August, Theresa May will pay her first visit to Africa as British Prime Minister, the first substantive visit to Africa by any British PM since 2011. This is good news, and a golden opportunity to reset Britain’s relations with the continent. But what should her message be? For one thing, there is some ground to make up. The recent lack of high level government visits, the rapid turnover of Ministers responsible for Africa, and a focus often apparently limited to development and... more
Monday, 16 July 2018
Written by Nicholas Westcott
On 16-17 July, the EU is hosting in Brussels a Partnership Forum for Somalia. This comes at a crucial time. Things in the Horn are in a state of flux such as we have not seen for years. There is a chance that one of the most volatile and fragile regions of the continent could begin to stabilise. But only if local actors are willing, and the international community is united and supportive. Neither can be taken for granted. African Arguments has just started publishing a series of articles on... more
Friday, 29 June 2018
Written by Nicholas Westcott
The European Council is meeting in Brussels yesterday and today to discuss migration. As is already clear, this is fundamentally an issue of domestic politics in European member states, in many of which it has become the hottest political potato in town and a decisive factor in recent elections. But we should not forget that the people being talked about - the migrants themselves - are overwhelmingly African. It is worth noting that this argument happens as the tide of migrants recedes.... more
Monday, 16 April 2018
Written by Nicholas Westcott
Commonwealth Heads of State and Government meet in London this week. Of the 53 members of the Commonwealth, 19 are African, the largest single group. There are of course historical reasons for this. But it is striking that the two newest members of the organisation (leaving aside welcome re-joiners like The Gambia) are both from Africa: Mozambique, which joined in 1995, and Rwanda in 2009. More are waiting. So the Commonwealth is beginning to spread beyond the strict Anglosphere, as the... more
Tuesday, 3 April 2018
Written by Nicholas Westcott
The news that leaders of the African Union, under the Chairmanship of Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, had signed up to the next phase of a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) in Africa at their meeting in Kigali on 21 March was greeted with a certain degree of cynicism by many commentators. The cynics have a point; but they miss a wider one. It is true that only 44 of the 55 countries in the AU had signed the agreement, and the non-signers included Nigeria, one of the largest economies on... more