- Despite the limitations of devolution in the United Kingdom, Scotland and Wales have launched independent international development initiatives focused on African countries - the Scottish Malawi Development Programme and the Wales for Africa Scheme.
- These policies place an innovative emphasis on establishing links between communities, schools and institutions in order to gain mutual benefit from sharing skills and establishing friendships. This element has real potential to add nuance to UK-level development efforts in Africa, which are channelled through multi-million-pound programmes run by the Department for International Development (DFID).
- In spite of the possible advantages, until now the UK's central and devolved governments have not collaborated in their African development efforts.
- The fault lies with all sides. In both Wales and Scotland there has been a lack of clarity over what the development initiatives are intended to achieve, and initial enthusiasm has gradually given way to a sidelining of the Africa policies.
- With increased focus on the development areas where they can make a real difference, and a clearer set of goals for each policy, the value of Scottish and Welsh development activities in Africa could be much enhanced. At a time when DFID and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) face significant cuts, there is now a great opportunity to encourage innovative and better coordinated development policies across all levels of government.