UK Prime Minister, Theresa Mary May, made her first visit to the African continent since assuming office on 13 July 2016. She ascended to power after the resignation of former Prime Minister David Cameron resulting from the Britain’s exit referendum from the European Union (EU) popularly known as Brexit that took place on 23 June 2016 where 51.9% of voters voted for exit. Consequently, Britain through her Premier Theresa started the process of withdrawal on 29 March 2017 so that to begin negotiations with EU prior to official exit from the union on 30 March 2019. As time was ticking and talks with EU were underway; America on the other side has launched a trade war of the 21st Century against China and EU in which Britain still holds membership!
Therefore, Britain is still struggling to ensure her economic stability after the aftermath of her exit from the EU and also ensuring that she fights hard against the effects of the American trade war. The UK began by organizing for the 11th Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) meeting, the first to be held in London in 20 years, from 16 – 18 April 2018. Among the themes were ‘Easing the pathway for business and growth’ and ‘Creating a new attitude to sustainable business’. (Commonwealth Business Form, 2018). Then followed this visit to her African colonies. Before her departure the Premier, said that, “Africa stands right on the cusp of playing a transformative role in the global economy” and that “a more prosperous, growing and trading Africa is in all of our interests.” She added, “As we prepare to leave the European Union, now is the time for the UK to deepen and strengthen its global partnerships.” (The Guardian, 26/08/2018). The role of every country that the British Prime Minister visited was as follows:
First, Tuesday 28 August 2018: South Africa (SA) is the country with second largest economy in Africa with a GDP of $349.3 billion (2017, IMF). And is the most loyal British agent in Africa thus it is the number one business partner of Britain. That is why it became the first to be paid a visit by the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond on Wednesday, 14th December 2016 to assure SA that it will not be affected by the British EU exit move (Reuters, 07/12/2016). Businesswise SA is “a key trading partner to the UK – a long-standing, strong and strategic ally for the United Kingdom in Africa and internationally. It is our largest export market in Africa…” words of Dr. Liam Fox, British Secretary of State for International Trade (GOV.UK, 24/01/2017). For these reasons, SA was selected the first so that “by 2022, I want the UK to be the G7’s number one investor in Africa, with Britain’s private sector companies taking the lead,” May told the business community in Cape Town, SA. (The EastAfrican, 28/08/2018). Therefore, SA is expected to play the role of urging Southern countries on which she has influence, in order to unite them to work with her British master like it was witnessed in the signing of agreements between the UK and SA, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Nambia and Swaziland to ensure that they continue doing business with Britain after UK’s official exit from the EU including the previous agreements relating with the EU (GOV.UK 28/08/2018).
Second, Wednesday 29August 2018: Nigeria is the first country with the largest economy in Africa with a GDP of $376.3 billion (2017, IMF). It is the second British loyal agent after SA which recently it was under the grip of America through their agent Goodluck Jonathan but now has returned to the British hands through Muhammadu Buhari. Nigeria has the fastest growing and largest economy in Africa, and is expected to be the third globally with a higher population by 2050 and has influence over the Western and Central African countries. Despite being the country with the largest economy, it has the highest level of poverty in the world. Consequently, the UK is looking forward to improve trade with Nigeria through influencing the Western and Central African countries and also taking advantage of the big market due to its large population. “If the UK wants to initiate something, there are one or two really encouraging, optimistic places on the horizon to start a block for a commonwealth trade zone. You’ve got the big populations such as Nigeria, which is going to be 320 million people – bigger than the United States – in under 10 years. They love British products…It’s a huge consumer market. Fundamentally there is a lot of disposable wealth.” words of Lord Marland from Odstock – chairperson of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (Premium Times, 29/08/2018). Furthermore, assist Nigeria to counter Boko Haram so that it does not become an obstacle to the UK’s economic intention in the country in this difficult moment of its impending withdrawal from the EU.
Third, Thursday 30 August 2018: Kenya is the eighth biggest economy in Africa with a GDP of $79.5 billion (2017, IMF). Kenya is among the countries loyal to Britain and currently it is the country with the largest economy and influence in East Africa which plays a big role of fighting the Al Shabab in Somalia. Therefore, it is anticipating to take advantage of Kenya’s influence to secure market in the country and her neighbors. And also to explore ways to improve KDF in their partnership with British soldiers who are in the country to counter Al Shabab so that it does not become an obstacle for her future business plans after its official exit from the EU.
It is clear that Britain is visiting her colonies for her own interests and it is not the love and care for Africa! Rather she views Africa as a free market for her products and services so that it reaps immense profits from its populous inhabitants! It should be noted that Africa has sunk deep in extreme poverty and poor standards of living because of the Western colonialists through their invalid creed and their evil capitalist ideology where its systems including the economic system is forcing Africa to remain a slave and the colonialists to continue being masters through their subservient agent rulers. Africa and especially SA, Nigeria and Kenya will never see the fruits of tranquility as their wealth continue to be plundered by the Western colonialist nations and instigating civil strife against themselves so as to occupy them.
The radical solution lies with the African leaders cutting ties with the Western colonialists who are the source of economic and general development stagnation. And instead embrace the international call for the Islamic Khilafah State. Khilafah established upon the methodology of Prophethood and ruled by piety based on the Quran and Sunnah; and not by the desires of a weak limited mind as currently witnessed from the secular colonialists. Khilafah will give Africa strength and protection against the wicked influence of the West as well as their evil policies by giving them the right guidance to those who will have good relations with the Khilafah. Thus, it is high time for Africa to take advantage of this opportunity and join the call, which very soon its light will rise as the signs of the new dawn have already appeared.
Ali Nassoro Ali
Member of the Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir in Kenya