African states have been in flux since long before colonial powers carved up the continent into bite-sized chunks at the end of the 19th century.
In the 60 years since most became independent, new trends have emerged. Some have reflected history, both colonial and pre-colonial, from ethnic rivalries and migrating populations to authoritarian structures, extractive institutions and irrational borders.
Others reflect new dynamics both local and global - economic imbalances, demographic dynamism, changing climate and a changing balance of global power. But in particular there is a shift in the ideological basis of the state: how do people view it, what do they expect and what do governments think they should do?
This is a joint event with the Oxford Martin Programme on African Governance
Dr Nick Westcott
Oxford Martin Visiting Fellow
Dr Nick Westcott has been Director of the Royal African Society since November 2017. Having completed a PhD in African History at Cambridge University, he joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1982 and served in Brussels, Washington, Tanzania and latterly as British High Commissioner to Ghana and Ambassador to Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso,Togo and Niger (2008-2011).
In the FCO, London, he filled a number of roles, dealing with the EU as European Correspondent, with the G8 as Head of Economic Relations Dept, and for 5 years was the FCO's Chief Information Officer. From 2011-2017 he worked at the European Union in Brussels, firstly as Managing Director for Africa and then as MD for the Middle East and North Africa in the EU's External Action Service.
He is on the Editorial Board of African Affairs, is a member of Chatham House and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
Professor Ricardo Soares de Oliveira (Chair)
Director, Oxford Martin Programme on African Governance
Ricardo Soares de Oliveira is Professor of the International Politics of Africa at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford, Official Fellow of St Peter's College, and a Fellow with the Global Public Policy Institute, Berlin.
His research interests include African politics (particularly West and Central Africa), the geopolitics of energy and international political economy, especially in the fields of natural resource extraction, state decay and post-conflict reconstruction.
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