The Africa Programme at Chatham House has had its busiest year yet. In 2011 the Africa Programme hosted over 100 events around the world. We produced twelve publications and over forty-five articles and meeting summaries. Original research and fieldwork remains central to our work, and our researchers visited twenty-two countries in support of this.
Targeted dissemination of our research has also grown with updates reaching over 10,000 contacts globally in government, business, academia and civil society every month. We are also increasing our use of audio, video, podcasts and social media.
Access to our publications and to most of our events is free because of the generous support of our sponsors. The Africa Programme is an independent, non-profit research unit, and sponsors’ funding allows us to focus upon being policy relevant with emphasis on the centrality of diplomacy and trade, and the importance of a nuanced understanding of country specific and regional politics across sub-Saharan Africa.
In 2012, the Africa Programme will celebrate its tenth year at Chatham House, and a number of events are planned to reflect on this and the trends likely to dominate Africa’s international policy agenda over the coming decade. More details will be forthcoming in the New Year. In the meantime many thanks for your support and a Happy New Year. A selection of our key outputs is listed below as a reminder of research on Africa at Chatham House in 2011.Africa and the Changing Balance of International Power
Many emerging economies are developing political and economic relations with African states in pursuit of a number of their strategic goals. The Africa Programme continues to track and anticipate this fast-paced shift which was described in detail in our 2010 report Our Common Strategic Interests.Public output in 2011 included a paper onIndia & South Africaand a meeting on India’s broader Africa engagements.Other events included a seminar on Africa in international negotiations, a meeting on the role of the European External Action Service in Africaand discussion of US perspectives onmultilateral diplomacy in Africa. The heads of both ECOWASand SADCspoke about how their regions are responding as new opportunities emerge. A major report on middle-ranking emerging powers in Africa, to be released in 2012, will build on this increasingly important issue.The Angola Forum
Angola remains a key focus of our work, through our Angola Forum. In 2011, we produced a stress-testing report on Angola’s stabilityfor the Center for Strategic and International Studies and an assessment of market opportunities in Angola for UK education providers. The Angola Forum hosted or co-hosted a number of events, including a meeting in Luanda with the Lord Mayor of London on Angola’s financial sector. National accountability and governancewere discussed in May, and urban povertyin June. In 2012 we will focus on the evolving UK-Angolan bilateral relationship, as well as Angola’s scheduled elections and its growing regional role in Africa.
A three-year project aimed at assisting international policy makers better understand the linkages between economics and conflict in the Horn of Africa concluded in 2011 with a report by Sally Healydrawing together the main findings of the research. A new project examining political linkages between the region and international partners and institutions commences in 2012. Somalia continues to dominate our work; the Africa Programme produced a paper on Somali investment in Kenya, and hosted speeches by the President of the Puntland State of Somalia,and the Foreign Minister of Somalilandat Chatham House. The end of Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the independence of South Sudan has also been prominent in our work. In the past year we have hosted discussions on Sudan after the loss of the Southand presentations by the Foreign Minister of Sudan, the Deputy Secretary-General of the SPLM, and a speech by US Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson on US policy on Sudan.
Nigeria is a key priority for us. The April elections were a focus for the Programme, with a paper produced and media work done around the elections to help boost awareness of the international importance and implications of the polls. A number of Nigerian officials and experts spoke at public events at Chatham House over the year, including the Central Bank Governor Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Special Advisor to the President on theNiger DeltaKingsley Kuku, the leader of opposition party Action Congress of Nigeria, and former head of state and opposition presidential candidate General Buhari. The expanding activity and growing profile of Boko Haram is of increasing concern, as is the apparent growth in disparity of regional prospects across the country. 2012 looks set to be an equally busy and crucial year as the pressure on the Goodluck Jonathan government and its transformation agenda grows from all sides. Maintaining a whole country approach amidst pressure to focus solely on oil and terrorism will be a particular challenge.African Peace and Security
The steady reduction in traditional armed conflicts continued in 2011, but other threats to stability did not recede. Somali piracyremains an international concern and a number of private and public meetingsaddressed ongoing developments. PresidentJohnson Sirleafof Liberia spoke of her country’s efforts to emerge from conflict, and areport for the European Parliamentexamined EU mediation efforts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Sudan. DRC’s electionswere a particular focus, and considerable attention was also paid to Côte d’Ivoireas it struggled to emerge from its long-running crisis. The mercenary Simon Mann spoke to defend his past record in Africa, in the face of much criticism. The regulation of private military companiesremains an important issue.
The UK’s political and business engagements with Africa are changing fast. These developments provide a useful barometer of some wider trends in external engagement with Africa. A paper in May described how UK diplomatic engagement with Africa is changingunder a new UK coalition government and in the context of budget cuts. Another paper explored Scottish and Welsh development policy in Africa. Chatham House also hosted a reception and published a short paper to mark the 9th Bi-Annual UK-South Africa Bilateral Forum. Earlier in the year Lord Green, Minister of State for UKTI, spoke on UK support for plans for an African Free Trade Area, and Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell spoke on emerging powers and the international development agenda.
Many economies across Africa are diversifying, with agriculturea particular area of growth. Yet for the foreseeable future traditional extractive industries are likely to dominate wealth creation efforts and discussion over their social impacts will continue. A major conference on oil politics in Africatook place in November, and a report for the European Parliamentexamined the impacts of oil company activities in sub-Saharan Africa. Aroundtable discussion with the World Gold Councilin September sought to understand whether standards for conflict free gold are possible. Several events, including on Tanzania, looked at states in the early stages of developing their extractive resources and the risks they face. Next year will see a major report published on how Uganda’s oil wealth might best serve its development goals.
The above represents a small selection of our output over the past 12 months, and many private meetings and research activities also took place. Next year will see a number of new projects emerge as sub-Saharan Africa garners increasing international interest and the policy agenda on Africa continues to evolve. To know more look out for our next update in early January 2012.
Many thanks from the Africa Programme teamfor your important support.If you would like more information please contact Programme Manager Lizzy Donnellyedonnelly@chathamhouse.org
Elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Local Matters
Africa Programme Paper, November 2011