China and Global Development: Different Perspectives on Africa

On 29 February 2016, I participated in a panel discussion on the above subject, ‘China and Global Development: Different Perspectives on Africa’. This was at the School of Public Policy, Central European University, Budapest, alongside, Professor George Wu (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and Professor Chris Alden (London School of Economics and Political Science). The discussion was convened and moderated by Dr Daniel Large, Assistant Professor of Public Policy and MPA Director.

You can watch the full video available below:

The SPP-CEU website has a summary of some highlights of the discussion, available HERE, which I am also reproducing below.

Read More »

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Aliko Dangote to Discuss ‘Doing Business in Africa’ in Oxford

Dangote in Oxford_incl link_vf

The University of Oxford is hosting Aliko Dangote, the world’s richest black man and Africa’s most well-known industrialist tomorrow, 16 February 2016.

In particular, the Oxford University Africa Society and the Oxford University China-Africa Network (OUCAN) are hosting him in a conversation entitled “The Truth about Doing Business in Africa” at 1.20pm. My colleague Yasmin Kumi, President of the Africa Society and myself, as co-convenor of the China-Africa Network will discuss with him his experiences of doing business in Africa

Although the event is restricted to students, researchers and academics in the university, who pre-registered, you can engage in the conversation with the hashtag #DangoteInOxford. A video will also be made publicly available online subsequently.

New Industrial Policy in Africa: Overcoming the Extractives Trap

Moderating the event’s first panel. Photo credit: FES Madagascar

Happy New Year!

On 3-4 November 2015, I was at a conference organised by the Friederich Ebert Stiftung (FES) foundation on ‘New Industrial Policy in Africa: Overcoming the Extractives Trap’ in Atananarivo, Madagascar .

The conference was organised to discuss attempts by African countries, especially resource producers and exporters to cope with the ongoing collapse in global commodity prices. This is within the global context of a renewed interest in industrialisation with the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (see my post on it here), the role of governments in enabling private sector activity and in directing public investments towards stimulating industry. The conference was a contribution to ongoing debates on what effective industrial policies could look like, whether African countries should focus on their comparative or competitive advantage, how to learn from previous failures on the mis-allocation of resources, country experiences of Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Africa, Namibia and Nigeria etc.

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The Politics of Inequality – DLP Annual Conference 2015

Photo credit: DLP
Photo credit: DLP

On Thursday 12 February, the Development Leadership Programme (DLP) held its 2015 Annual Conference on the theme of the politics of inequality, at the University of Birmingham. I presented parts of my doctoral research as a panelist in the session on “Inequality and Political Settlements”.

With a resurgence in academic, policy and media interest in inequalities and the implications for Read More »

Speaking at Chatham House Event on Elections, Boko Haram and Security in Nigeria

I will be participating in a panel, at an event organised by the Royal Institute of International Affairs, aka Chatham House. The title is: Elections, Boko Haram and Security: Assessing and Addressing Nigeria’s Complex Challenges. It is taking place at Chatham House offices in London, on 9 December 2014, from 9.30 am to 12 noon GMT.

I will be speaking on the political landscape, the context, the key actors and forecasts of the possible outcomes of the 2015 elections in Nigeria. This will be largely based on the ongoing elections forecasts by my colleague, Olly Owen and I.

The event will be live streamed, and will be made available from 9:30 on the Chatham House website.

Here is an overview:Read More »

Review of Commitments made at WEFA 2014 – An interview with Channels TV

My interview with Channels TV, reviewing some of the gains and commitments secured during the recently concluded World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa Summit, May 7 – 9 2014 in Abuja, Nigeria.

Find below, a transcript and analysis of the discussion, culled from the Channels TV website:

The Nigerian government has been urged to make conscious effort in reforming the system in order to maximise the gains expected from the just concluded World Economic Forum on Africa (WEFA).

A communication consultant for the WEFA, Zainab Usman, on Wednesday, said that with adequate reforms and commitments by the government, the inclusive growth that the forum dwelt on would be achieved, with more jobs created for African youths.

At the 24th meeting of the WEFA held in Nigeria between May 7 and 9, several financial commitments were made capable of reducing poverty in Africa and improving Africans’ living standard.

China pledged to increase its credit line to Africa from $20 billion to $30 billion while Dangote group pledged to invest about $16 billion in the Nigerian economy in his petrochemical plant.

Needed Political Will

In the education sector, at least 20 million dollars was pledged for the Safe School Initiative aimed at ensuring that schools in Nigeria’s north east are safe for students.

For all these funds coming into Africa to yield needed results, Zainab said the government must have the needed political will to take needed decision that would ensure that these funds are well deployed.

“There is a link between the bureaucratic processes in Nigeria and other African countries and how they are able to access or utilise funds but reforming the government or public sector institutions is not just an easy process. It is not something that can be easily carried out just because the fund has been made available. It requires a lot of political will in making the environment conducive for business to thrive.

“Things like speedy registration of companies and ensuring that the workforce is efficient and effective and not bloated should be looked into. If we want efficiency we will have to take some hard decisions that will help transform the system,” she said.

Inclusive Growth

She, however, expressed optimism that expected results would be seen based on the level of commitment shown by local and foreign investors at the forum.

“We have seen a lot of commitment from participants at the forum, from policy makers, civil society and the private sector. We have seen commitment in terms of healthcare, power and agriculture. We have the Go Africa Initiative. We have seen commitment in education, with the Safe School Initiative, focusing on the north east.

“Yes there have been quite a lot of commitments by the private sector both local of foreign.

“The government should have the right regulatory framework and policies that would enable these investments grow. It is supposed to be a synergy between the private sector and the government,” she said, stressing that for the private sector actors to be able to redeem pledges made, they also require the government to create a conducive environment. “The government has to be an active partner in this”.

Zainab explained that the Go Africa Initiative is looking to involve small holder farmers or people at the grassroots for the inclusive growth to be achieved in high scale.

With initiatives in education, access to financing will ensure that the people at the grassroots are able to partake in the growth.

“The plan is to move away from previous approaches so they are involving more persons. The realisation is that unless you include ordinary people in the growth process the inclusive growth that we seek would not be achieved”.

Africa has grown in the past decade but the growth is only proportionate to just a few people and the need to make it inclusive was emphasised at the forum that had over 1,100 participants from over 80 countries in attendance.

The forum had emphasised that to include the mass majority of people in the growth, it is important to ensure that they have access to adequate information, education and healthcare.

“Nigeria Beyond Oil” Conference in London, 4th Sept 2013

The Students’ Association of Nigerians in the Diaspora (SAND) – UK is organising a conference titled “Nigeria Beyond Oil: Opportunities in Enterprise and Development” as part of its Annual Nigeria Diaspora Youth Leadership Summit. The conference is scheduled to take place on 4th September 2013 at the London School of Economics and Political Science. I have been invited to chair a panel on “Achieving Nigeria Beyond Oil: The place of Youth Entrepreneurship” featuring five panelists.  Find the conference agenda here (PDF).

The conference is set to host an array of prominent speakers such as Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (GCON), former vice president of Nigeria, Inuwa Abddul-Kadir, the Nigerian Minister of Youth Development (FRN), Professor Julius Okojie the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Elizabeth Donnelly, Assistant Head Africa Programme, Chatham House and many others.

If you’re in the London area, don’t miss this!

Women, Innovation, Enterprise Network Inaugural Syposium in Africa

The Women, Innovation, Enterprise (WIE) Network is holding its first ever African symposium in Cape Town, South Africa, from 5th to 7th May 2013. It is set to feature headline speakers such as President Joyce Banda, Graca Machel, Patricia Amira, Saran Kaba Jones, Swaady Martin-Leke and Toyin Saraki. The inaugural WIE Africa is organised in partnership with Mrs. Toyin Saraki’s Wellbeing Foundation Africa .

WIE Africa EVite-March

“Over the years, the WIE Symposium has attracted an incredible lineup of thought leaders such as Nancy Pelosi, Jill Biden, Arianna Huffington, Melinda Gates, Sarah Brown, Queen Rania, Donna Karan, Diane von Furstenberg, Aerin Lauder, Jennifer Buffett, Ted Turner, Lauren Bush, Christy Turlington, Iman, Rosario Dawson and Nora Ephron.”

The WIE inaugural conference in Africa features inspiration and ideas from the most powerful women in business, politics, media, fashion, philanthropy and entertainment on the continent and beyond. The first symposium took place in New York and a follow-up in London. With Africa experiencing some of the fastest economic growth in the world, WIE aims to contribute to changing the perceptions of the continent by highlighting the trailblazers taking a central role in shaping the Africa of tomorrow.

For tickets and further event details, visit www.wienetwork.org

To reserve a table at the gala dinner contact: aequitas@wienetwork.org

Follow the @WIENetwork Twitter handle for live updates

Oxford University Pan-African Conference ~ 4th May 2013

One of the events I am affiliated with, which has kept me “busy” lately:

Poster

The annual Oxford University Pan-African Conference (OUPAC), is the flagship event of the Oxford University Africa Society (OUAS). This year’s OUPAC is scheduled for the 4th of May 2013, with the theme: “Towards a 21st Century African Renaissance: Sowing the Seeds of Success”, in recognition of Africa’s emerging new outlook as a promising hub for global influence.
More information about the line up of speakers and panels can be found on the OUPAC 2013 website.
Tickets can be bought from the Eventbrite page.
Like the Facebook page and follow the OUAS twitter handle @oxfordafrica for live updates on #OUPAC2013