Post-Brexit UK looks to Africa, Latin America

LONDON— Post-Brexit Britain must look beyond its traditional allies to emerging powers in Latin America, Asia and Africa, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly is set to say.


In a speech Monday at the Foreign Office, Cleverly will stress the need for long-term partnerships from trade to climate change, his office said.


The speech comes a fortnight after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the “golden era” of relations with China was over, but that his government would pursue “robust pragmatism” in dealing with global competitors.


When he led the country out of the European Union, then prime minister Boris Johnson touted a “Global Britain” seeking new partnerships further afield.


But the concept remains a work in progress, in trade as well as security, and Britain is meanwhile getting hammered economically with inflation running at double digits.


Cleverly’s speech will emphasise “scanning the horizon” to longer-term goals 10-20 years ahead, even as opinion polls predict his Conservatives will be booted out of power in the next two years.


The UK is ready to make “investments of faith” with Latin American, Asian and African countries that were not “traditional partners” in the past, he will say.


These efforts will be backed up by British development finance and G7 funding — although the government has been slammed by campaigners for slashing its aid budget.


“The UK offer will be tailored to their needs and UK strengths, spanning trade, investment, development, defence, technology and climate change,” Cleverly will say.


“This will be backed up with a reliable source of infrastructure investment,” he will add, as the G7 club of rich nations tries to counter China’s own debt-fuelled development aid.


“We will show strategic endurance, willing to commit for the long term.”