IS Academy lecture: Africa in the world today

Seminar date: 
17 June 2010
Place: Perszaal, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Hague. Please bring identification


Speaker(s): Stephen Ellis, historian, senior researcher at the African Studies Centre and professor at the VU University of Amsterdam (Desmond Tutu chair of Youth, Sport and Reconciliation)

Language: English
Registration: 14 June at the latest at:

As of 12:30 lunch will be offered. The lecture starts at 13:00.

Registration is obligatory. If you have registered but are unable to attend please inform us as soon as possible. 

Discussant: Maarten Brouwer, Ambassador for development cooperation at Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The financial crisis that began in 2007 and that seems without end is both cause and symptom of Africa's changing place in the world. In most respects Africa has survived disruption of world financial markets much better than many people might have predicted. But the ensuing reordering of international relations has emphasized above all Africa's new relationship to rising Asian powers, led by China. These new industrial powers are interested in Africa's raw materials, but there are also now probably hundreds of thousands of new Chinese settlers in Africa. Commercial interests not just in Asia but also the Middle East and elsewhere are also attracted by Africa's abundance of unused agricultural land. Another important factor that is transforming Africa's relationship to the rest of the world is its population growth, with the total now standing at one billion people, following a period of the most rapid population increase the world has ever seen. These and other factors offer important new possibilities for Africa, although there is little reason to suppose that they will lead to the type of 'good governance' canvassed for the last twenty years by donors from the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). This lecture will list some of the salient new features of Africa's emerging place in the world and will argue that we need to rethink many received ideas about how Africa came to be where it is today.

This seminar is organized by the African Studies Centre as part of the IS Academy's series of lectures.