Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Chatham House Africa Programme Events

August 2009

Comoros: A Successful AU Military Intervention Sep 2

Why African Capitalism Needs Changing Sep 9

Pipelines and Paramilitaries at Nigeria's Oil Frontier Sep 17

Piracy and Legal sues Oct 1-2

Africa as an International actor Oct 9


Thirst for African Oil: Asian National Oil Companies in Nigeria and Angola

A Chatham House Report

Authors: Alex Vines, Lillian Wong, Markus Weimer and Indira Campos

The report provides a comparative study of the impact of Asian companies on the two leading oil producing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria and Angola.

Comoros: External Involvement in a Small Island State

Programme Paper

Authors: Simon Massey and Bruce Baker

French Summary:

This paper discusses the impacts of external involvement on the Union of the Comoros, with particular reference to the successful African Union intervention in 2007, and also to the role of France.

Africa & the International Financial Crisis

Expert Comment

Joel Kibazo

Africa is struggling to come to terms with an economic crisis that is not of its making but from which it cannot escape. Yet despite a slow down in economic activity across the continent there is still appetite, and opportunities, for investment.


Secretary of State Clinton’s visit to Africa marks another welcome upswing of US activity in relation to Africa at a time when African states are suffering unprecedented pressures from the global financial crisis, with all its attendant destabilising impacts. High level support is essential if the important reforms of recent years are to be defended, and the groundwork for future prosperity and growth assured.

Hitherto Africa policy on both sides of the Atlantic has suffered from a lack of specific country policies for these fast changing times, as the Obama administration, understandably occupied with immediate domestic concerns, appeared to be struggling to gain traction on African issues. President Obama’s visit to Ghana was important, as was the appointment of Scott Gration as special envoy to Sudan. The renewed energy invested to help support the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is most welcome. Beyond Sudan however, energy is no substitute for strategy, and evidence of that is still emerging frustratingly slowly given the urgency of the crisis.

In the United Kingdom, many observers suggest that a perceived lack of engagement on Africa from senior elected officials reflects the domestic political cycle, as well as the distracting impact of the financial crisis. The unfortunate departure of Lord Malloch Brown as Minister for Africa threatens to leave the UK with no government minister with specific named responsibility for Africa for the first time since 1997, a particularly worrying signal from a government that has until now seemed so committed to supporting African states. Britain’s opposition Conservative Party, contesting to form the next British Government after elections that must take place within 9 months, has given insufficient evidence of an informed diplomatic strategy towards African states, beyond a welcome commitment to emphasise diplomacy in future policy. A commitment to maintain aid levels, though important, is not nearly enough if African states are to be fully engaged by their international partners over the next few difficult years.

Other European countries are equally distracted with domestic issues, and the European Union, like the African Union, is still very much in its infancy in relation to developing effective foreign engagement. In this context, beneficial relations with new partners, such as Brazil, China and India have never been more welcome – another indication of drastically changing global power dynamics.


Entry to these expert meetings is restricted. Experts and interested individuals should apply via the email address below. Only receipt of a confirmation email from Chatham House allows entry to meetings.

Places are limited & Chatham House reserves the right to restrict access to any of its meetings without notice or explanation. Attendees may be required to present photo identification at any time.

Unless otherwise stated, if you would like to apply to attend any meeting please email Tighisti Amare at stating your name and affiliation.

Wednesday, 02 September 2009 12.00 to 13.00

Comoros: External Involvement in a Small Island State

Simon Massey, Senior Lecturer and Researcher, African Studies Centre, Coventry University

Bruce Baker, Professor of African Security and Director of African Studies Centre, Coventry University

Discussant: Joseph Lake, Africa Editor/Economist, Economist Intelligence Unit

Discussant: Professor Malyn Newitt, Kings College London

Chair: Alex Vines, Director of Regional and Security Studies, Chatham House

The post-colonial history of the Union of the Comoros islands, which comprises the three islands Ngazidja, Nzwani and Mwali, has been punctuated by coups d’états. The fourth island, Maoré (Mayotte), remains under French control. The African Union launched a successful naval and military intervention into the Comoros in March 2007, in order to oust the authoritarian president of Nzwani, Mohamed Bacar, after he refused to leave office. Little noticed internationally, this intervention was a highly significant development for the African Union, and contrasted with more controversial AU interventions into Somalia and Sudan. Bruce Baker and Simon Massey, authors of the paper Comoros: External Involvement in a Small Island State, will discuss the findings of their research at this meeting, including the AU intervention, the impact of French involvement in the country and the Union’s relations with the wider world.

Wednesday, 09 September 2009 13.00 to 14.00

Book Launch: Architects of Poverty: Why African Capitalism Needs Changing

Moeletsi Mbeki, Deputy Chairman, South African Institute for International Affairs

In his new book, ‘Architects of Poverty: Why Africa’s Capitalism needs Changing’ Moeletsi Mbeki discusses the challenges Africa faces, with particular reference to self-interested political elites, and poses some suggestions about what needs to be done to overcome them, including the gradual movement from aid to trade and industrialization.

Thursday 17 September 2009 12.00 to 13.00

Book Launch: A Swamp Full of Dollars: Pipelines and Paramilitaries at Nigeria's Oil Frontier

Michael Peel, Legal Correspondent, Financial Times

Michael Peel’s book claims that the oil-rich Niger Delta is at the heart of a country where petroleum and polio have both boomed, where small villages challenge giant oil companies, and scooter drivers run their own mini-state. Peel tells the story of how this extraordinary country has been shaped by the crude that pumps through western cities. The author claims that for a rich world growing ever more anxious about where its new oil will come from, there is something resonant and troubling in Nigeria’s metamorphosis from pillar of Western industrial prosperity to lawless emblem of a rapacious age.

Thursday 01- Friday 02 October 2009

An Africa Programme conference*

Piracy and legal issues: reconciling public and private interests

Speakers include:

Rudiger Wolfrum, former President of ITLOS

Agustin Blanco-Bazan, IMO

Ronny Govinden, Attorney General of the Seychelles

Ambassador Hiruy Amanuel, IGAD

Stephen Askins, Ince and Co

Elizabeth Wilmshurst, Chatham House

Anton du Plessis, ISS

Alan Cole, Piracy Project Co-ordinator (UNODC)

Douglas Guilfoyle, University College London

Tim Daniel, Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge

Alan Bacarese, ICAR

Liam Morrissey, BGN Risks

Piracy off the Somali and West African coasts, and in South East Asia, continues to be a serious problem. Different actors – including governments, navies, ship owners and ship operators - have different interests in dealing with the problem. The conference will consider the legal constraints applicable to these different actors and seeks to give a voice to, and reconcile, the sometimes conflicting interests of governments and the commercial sector. The conference will be addressed by leading practitioners and experts in these areas, but it will be fully participatory and set against a running ‘true to life’ scenario, with ample time for discussion.

*There will be a charge of £375 (£175 for government departments, NGOs and Chatham House members) for this conference.

Friday 09 October 2009 09.30 to 17.00

Africa International: agency and interdependency in a changing world

A Chatham House Africa Programme Conference in collaboration with BISA Africa and International Studies Working Group*

Dr. Donna Lee, Birmingham University

Dr. Graham Harrison, University of Sheffield

Dr. Paul D. Williams, George Washington University

Dr. Thomas Tieku, University of Toronto

Dr. Cyril Obi, Nordiska Afrikainstitutet – NAI

Prof. Ulf Engel, University of Leipzig

Dr. Giles Mohan, The Open University

Dr. Marcus Power, University of Durham

Prof. David Black, Dalhousie University

David Frost, Director, Strategy and Policy Planning, FCO

Prof. David Anderson, University of Oxford

This workshop will explore African political agency in the international system and the ways in which African state and non-state actors shape a range of interdependent relationships between Africa, the UK and other western powers. It will bring together scholars working in the field of International Studies and UK-based policy makers in order to highlight the contributions that leading academic research can make to our understandings of African agency in the international system and the key UK foreign policy concerns that are raised.

* Entry to this workshop is open to experts and interested individuals upon application to the email address below. Places are limited & Chatham House reserves the right to restrict access to any of its meetings without notice or explanation. If you would like to attend please email Tighisti Amare at stating your name and affiliation.

The work of the Africa Programme is principally supported by:


Many thanks for your support from the Africa Programme team.

Best wishes,

Tom Cargill

Assistant Head
Africa Programme
Chatham House
The Royal Institute of International Affairs
10 St James’s Square
0207 957 5718

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