Panels

PANEL I: STRATEGIES TO COUNTER VIOLENT EXTREMISM IN AFRICA (10:00 AM – 11:30 AM)

Amison SoldierThe recent Al-Shabab strike in Kenya has brought renewed international attention to the threat of terrorism in Africa. By all accounts, it underlined the failure of the intelligence community to assess the operational capabilities of a radical militant group. Against this backdrop, the panel will explore the roots of conflict across three distinct extremist militant groups in Africa – AQIM in the Sahel, Boko Haram in Nigeria and Al-Shabab in Somalia – and draw lessons these cases may offer. The panel will consider each of the three groups’ association with the “umbrella” Al Qaeda organization, the changing tactics these non-state actors are using to recruit and train militants and execute attacks, and how these groups are impacting local and regional geopolitics. The panel will specifically answer the question: “What does the rise of these movements suggest for geopolitics, international law or state capacity to respond to non-state actors?”

PANEL II: STRATEGIES FOR INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA: ENERGY SECURITY AND OTHER PRIORITIES (11:45 AM – 1:00 PM)

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Infrastructure challenges are one of the lingering obstacles holding back African development. Energy security in particular is a crucial step to economic development, in a region where businesses report spending over half of their operating costs on electricity. It is estimated that over half a billion people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity, with more than $300 billion in investments needed to achieve universal electricity access on the continent by 2030. This panel will address the opportunities and challenges of developing infrastructure in Africa and the role of stakeholders in the private and public sectors, as well as international development finance institutions. Specific topics addressed will include strategies for catalyzing finance in Africa, the role of public-private partnerships, and the use of appropriate technologies.


PANEL III: ARE COMMODITY EXCHANGES THE KEY TO AFRICA’S AGRICULTURAL GROWTH? (2:45 PM – 4:00 PM)

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In the past few years, a number of African countries have set up commodity exchanges in an effort to develop agricultural markets and improve food security. The success of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECA) has precipitated the emergence of other commodity exchange across the continent. However, are commodity exchanges really the key to Africa’s agricultural growth? How can commodity exchanges improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers? What different models exist for commodity exchanges to ensure food security in Africa?hhkhkhkjhjk


PANEL IV: PUBLIC HEALTH CHALLENGES AND INNOVATION IN AFRICAN COUNTRIES (4:15 PM – 5:30 PM)

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Many African countries continue to struggle with epidemics in multiple diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, which decrease the life expectancy and quality of life of African people and disproportionately impact marginalized and impoverished communities. Public Health concerns are inextricably tied to economic development due to the detrimental impact of illness on the poor, nationwide losses in productivity, and the challenge of financing public health initiatives. Providing access to effective and economically feasible interventions to diagnose and treat diseases remain a challenge throughout Africa, particularly in very resource-limited countries and remote or rural populations. What are the major barriers to accessing quality health care in African countries? What innovations in their approach to public health interventions, medical diagnostics and treatment are healthcare providers using to offer quality care at affordable prices? What priorities should public health policy-makers in African countries have in the future to further development goals?