Building influence in challenging times
20 November 2023 · 2 min read
In the face of global challenges, including renewed conflict in the Middle East and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, the United Kingdom's relationships with other countries have become more important than ever. Our Chief Operating Officer, Elizabeth Ames, joined Anna-Joy Rickard on The Great British Foreign Affairs Podcast to discuss the scope of Australia’s modern relationship with the UK, including the recent Aus-UK Free Trade Agreement and the AUKUS Strategic Partnership, the lessons the UK could learn from Australia in dealing with the challenging geostrategic landscape, and what has been happening in the land down under following the rejection of the recent Referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
With her experience working in policy and senior advisory in both Australia and the UK, Elizabeth gave unique insights into the global role that Britain could play going forward. Instead of glorifying the past, the UK has an opportunity to build confidence in where it is today, acknowledging the past, and then building on its creativity and strengths to move forward to a place of influence and interest.
A great example of an area in which the UK could be driving global policy is impact investing. The UK has an incredibly creative and talented financial sector, with organisations such as the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment driving innovation in impact investing globally. Given the increasing global funds under management, including pension funds, Elizabeth says that this expertise creates an opportunity for the UK to demonstrate how innovative investments can reap not only financial returns but also social and environmental returns in countries with historically low rates of inward investing.
In a discussion on how the UK can better engage with partners despite sometimes limited resources, Elizabeth breaks down Australia’s success in recognising early on that existing economic, trade, and private sector links between countries can help drive sought-after political and security links. Australia’s use of free trade agreements and aligning its trade, aid, and foreign policy agendas is a strategy the UK should be stealing. This is particularly true given the number of innovative UK companies trading worldwide.
Atalanta itself is a great example of a British company that has strong trade links globally, having worked closely with many African countries, as well as in the Middle East and fragile and conflict-affected states, particularly supporting women political candidates running for office and in peacebuilding processes.
Elizabeth ends with a positive pitch for the UK’s future in the world: enhance policy focus on the sectors where the UK has a global edge and use that expertise creatively. Policymakers and politicians should think about how the UK shares expertise, technology, and builds capacity globally. Strong people-to-people links and people at the working level who can drive things forward when policymakers have their attention spread thin by multiple demands will be critical for building a resilient and successful UK foreign policy. To listen to the whole episode on Spotify, click here or find the podcast on your preferred streaming service. If you would like to discover more about Atalanta's work and our ability to support clients' efforts to building links between the UK and overseas, click here or reach out to us by filling out this form.