Statements of the new British Prime Minister generate uncertainties in Africa

Boris Johnson, the new British Prime Minister, proclaimed controversial declarations regarding the African continent and caused criticisms and doubts resurface regarding future relations between Great Britain and the African continent.    

In 2002, he defended the colonization of the continent. “The problem is that we were in control, but no longer, he said. He also used defamatory terms referring to black people in an article published in the Daily Telegraph while Tony Blair, the former British prime minister while traveling in the Congo.

In 2016, Johnson also wrote to  The Sun a British newspaper, a comment related to the fact that Barack Obama, the former US president removed the bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office and his “ancestral aversion” to Obama’s Kenyan ancestry. 

These and so many other declarations about Africa and the black people have been causing diverse critiques in the social networks. Besides that, the declarations made by the new prime minister have also created new uncertainties regarding future relations between Great Britain and the African countries. 

“As an African watching all these political developments taking place between the United Kingdom and Nigeria. What must be mainly considered is what Africa and Nigeria can gain during this period when the recent approved prime minister of Great Britain takes office”, evaluates Emmanuel Onwubiko, director of the Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), in an article published on the SaharaReporters portal. 

“The current populism scenario creates an impression that especially Great Britain (and Europe in general) have always viewed Africa as a source of conflicts, demands for aid, and undesired immigration. In short, they consider as a problem. But the majority of our recent history and the anxiousness of the countries that make up the Commonwealth by increasing trade and market access shows that Africa is an opportunity”, declares Mumtaz Kassam, Deputy Head of Mission of the Uganda Embassy in Rome. An article published by Euronews, she highlights the importance of the African market that has been growing and receiving large-scale investments from private initiatives: Before working in Rome, Kassam was the Deputy Head of the High Commissariat of the Uganda Embassy in London.      

Brexit: first mission 

The former British Foreign Secretary was elected on Tuesday (23) as the successor of Theresa May, the leader of the Conservative Party and, therefore, will be the new head of the country’s government. The current prime minister has decided to leave the European Union. It is a measure that has to be put into effect by October 31, with or without an agreement, as he stated.    

Previously, Johnson held the position as the Foreign Secretary from 2016 to 2018 and before that, he was the major of London from 2008 to 2016. 

He succeeded Theresa May, who renounced on June 7, after the British Parliament quickly rejected the agreement to leave the EU that she had agreed to with the European bloc. Johnson insists on leaving the EU and renegotiating the Brexit pact, even without total support from the parliament he presides over.