Recording: Aid, Trade, Diplomacy and Defence with Rory Stewart and Mary Harper

The nature of the UK’s engagement in the world has changed significantly, as has the geostrategic context in which it conducts its foreign policy. Rory Stewart OBE, former International Development Secretary, and Mary Harper, the BBC’s Africa Editor, discuss how this has affected the UK’s foreign policy in East Africa and the Horn.

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What do events in the UK and in East Africa mean for economic prosperity, democracy and security goals as set out in the UK’s Integrated Review and the recent International Development Strategy? How does international development marry up with the stronger emphasis on trade, resilience and national interest in East Africa?

Does the UK have the inclination and ability to affect real change in an increasingly congested donor landscape, and are the assumptions framing ‘Global Britain’ still valid in the context of East Africa?

This webinar explores the changes and challenges in UK foreign policy in East Africa and coincides with the launch of a new RUSI research project that seeks to better understand the effect that events in the UK – from ministerial changes to aid cuts – and in the region are having on UK engagement in East Africa.

The discussion is moderated by Professor Malcolm Chalmers, Deputy Director-General of RUSI.

Furthering Global Britain? Reviewing the Foreign Policy Effect of UK Engagement in East Africa

The project considered UK development investments in East Africa through the lenses of foreign policy, defence and security, and looked at their strategic relevance and effectiveness.


Mary Harper is the BBC’s Africa Editor. She has reported on Africa for three decades and has a special interest in the Horn of Africa, especially Somalia. Mary is the author of Getting Somalia Wrong? Faith, War and Hope in a Shattered State and Everything You Have Told Me is True: The Many Faces of Al Shabaab. She advises the British government, the UN, EU bodies and the military on matters relating to Africa, especially Islamist extremism. She has worked as a consultant for the UN, the London School of Economics and other clients. She is a board member of several organisations linked to Africa and serves on advisory boards at the European Commission and think tanks. Mary is an expert witness in Somali-related legal cases and is a trustee and fellow of The Rift Valley Institute and The Heritage Institute for Policy Studies. She has degrees from Cambridge University and the School of Oriental and African Studies.

Rory Stewart OBE has been an academic, writer, adventurer, politician and diplomat. After a brief time in the Army and the diplomatic service, he walked 6,000 miles on a 21-month trek across Asia, was the acting governor of a province in Iraq, established an NGO in Afghanistan, was appointed a professor at Harvard, and wrote a number of books before entering Parliament. He served as a minister in several departments and was a cabinet minister before his bid to be prime minister. He is now President of the non-profit GiveDirectly. Rory’s walk across Afghanistan shortly after the US invasion is described in his award-winning New York Times bestseller, The Places In Between. His books have sold more than 600,000 copies worldwide and have been translated into 13 languages. He has made a number of documentaries and also co-presents (with Alastair Campbell) the UK’s leading political podcast, The Rest is Politics.


Malcolm Chalmers

Deputy Director-General

Senior Management

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