Geopolitical competition has moved to the centre of today’s international politics. In one of the most complex regions in the world, Africa, great and middle-powers are visibly competing for influence. As the continent considers its place in a shifting global order, many countries still struggle with poverty and insecurity as inflation and unsustainable debt hold back economic recovery.
The RUSI UK-Africa Conference 2023 will provide a forum to discuss the pressing security, geo-political and geo-economic issues facing Africa at this time, and how the UK-Africa relationship can be enhanced to address challenges. The conference will gather policymakers, analysts and opinion leaders to discuss how these issues are shaping national, regional and international agendas. Experienced speakers will focus on topics from development to geo-political competition, peace and conflict, defence and security, and building effective partnerships. Regional panels will focus on West Africa and the Sahel, East Africa and the Horn of Africa.
The conference will address a set of questions:
- What model of peaceful development best responds to the security and governance concerns across Sub-Saharan Africa?
- How can African states, international organisations and partner countries effectively combat major security threats?
- How is Africa adapting to the intensifying competition between the US and the transatlantic community, Russia, China, and near neighbouring powers (e.g. Gulf States)?
- What are the key priorities for UK-Africa cooperation in West Africa and the Sahel, East Africa and the Horn of Africa?
- What are the opportunities and challenges for cooperation between the UK, key partners and continental organisations on economic, security and political issues?
How to attend
The conference will be held in person at the Institute of Directors, 116 Pall Mall, London, and online. Please note we have reached capacity for in-person registration. It will be free to attend. You can still register to attend online by submitting the booking form linked to this page by 19 April 2023.
Registration and Refreshments
UK-Africa relations in perspective
Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, Minister for Development and Africa, FCDO
Chair: Dr Jonathan Eyal, Associate Director, RUSI
Conference Overview: Simon Rynn, Senior Research Fellow, International Security, Africa
Identifying Opportunities and Challenges - Part 1: Economics and Development
- What effect are major international events and trends, from geo-political competition to Covid-19 and the Ukraine war, having on politics and economies?
- What are the prospects for improved food, water and energy security in light of ongoing pressures?
- What effects are international decisions and offers on aid, trade and finance having?
- What are the likely implications of continental debt and debt restructuring decisions?
- How can the UK best support improved security, governance and development?
Dan Marks, Research Fellow for Energy Security, RUSI
Na’eem Jeenah, Executive Director, Afro-Middle East Centre
Juliette Prodham, Head of International Development Policy, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
Chair: Dr Sue Onslow, Director, Institute of Commonwealth Studies
Identifying Opportunities and Challenges Part 2: Peace and Security
- Which are the critical security challenges that decision-makers most need to focus on?
- With upcoming elections and unfinished political tranisitions ahead, what are the implications of recent coups and trends towards militarisation?
- How is a more competitive international environment affecting peace and security?
- How should established methods of conflict management and resolution, from peacekeeping to peacebuilding and stabilisation adapt to changing local and global trends?
- How can the UK best support African partners to enhance stability?
Dr Michael Nwankpa, Centre for African Conflict & Development, Associate Fellow, RUSI
Cedric De Coening, Research Professor, NUPI
Denys Reva, Researcher, Maritime, Institute for Security Studies, South Africa
Sarah Taylor, Director, Office for Conflict, Stabilisation and Mediation, FCDO
Chair: Dr Neil Melvin, Director, International Security, RUSI
Key Risks for Regional Stability Part 1: Focus on West Africa and the Sahel
- What are the principal security, political and economic challenges across West Africa and the Sahel at this time?
- How are global economic and political trends playing in the region?
- Why have a series of external security interventions in the Sahel apparently been ineffective; what lessons can be drawn?
- How can the UK best support regional stability?
Dr Fola Aina, Associate Fellow, RUSI
Beatriz De Leon Cobo, Associate Fellow, RUSI, and Conflict, Justice and Security Advisor at First Call Partners
Professor Tony Chafer, University of Portsmouth
Chair: Peter Jones, Distinguished Fellow, RUSI
Key Risks for Regional Stability Part 2: Focus on East Africa and the Horn of Africa
- What are the principal security, political and economic challenges across East Africa and the Horn at this time?
- How have global economic and political trends affected the region?
- In what ways has the UK engaged with key countries in the region in recent years?
- How can the UK best support regional stability?
Martin Plaut, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Commonwealth Studies
Dr Hassan Kanenjee, Director, HORN International Institute for Strategic Studies, Kenya
Michael Jones, Research Fellow, RUSI / Simon Rynn, Senior Research Fellow, Africa
Sarah Montgomery, UK Special Envoy, Horn of Africa and Red Sea, FCDO
Chair: Emily Winterbotham, Director, Terrorism & Conflict, RUSI
Towards Effective Partnerships
- What does it mean to be a good partner in an era of emerging multipolarity and intensifying international competition?
- How best can African actors organise themselves for better leverage, coordination and partnerships?
- How best can Africa’s international partners, including the UK contribute to better security, governance and mutual prosperity?
Paul Godfrey, Head, Africa Strategy & Partnerships, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
Chair: Professor Malcolm Chalmers, Deputy Director-General, RUSI
Simon Rynn, Senior Research Fellow, International Security, Africa