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Making Africa Work - A Handbook for Economic Success


13 September 2017, 18:00
RUSI Whitehall
RUSI Members Only
A presentation on the future of Africa by former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo

Released in May 2017, Making Africa Work – A handbook for economic success has been authored by the former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo, who serves as Chairman of the Brenthurst Foundation’s Advisory Board, alongside Drs Jeffrey Herbst and Greg Mills, and Major General (Rtd) Dickie Davis.

The handbook tackles some of the biggest challenges to face the next generation, including the anticipated doubling of sub-Saharan Africa’s population within the next generation, the shift from rural to urban and the impact of a young demographic with improved digital access through phones and Internet. The driving force behind the book is the shared belief of the authors that properly harnessed and planned for these challenges can become a positive force for change, but that equally failure to do so could prove disastrous.

Subjects from people and cities to infrastructure, agriculture and mining are examined in detail. Each chapter hones in on a separate area analysing the challenges, zooming in on relevant case studies from across the globe, and most importantly of all, weighing up the potential actions for maximising economic growth and development opportunities.

Presentations will be made to bring the book to life from the former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr Greg Mills and Major General (Rtd) Dickie Davis.


Dickie Davis is the special advisor at the Brenthurst Foundation and managing director of Nant Enterprises Ltd. He served for 31 years in the British Army, which he left in 2015 with the rank of major general. During his military career, he served extensively on operations in Afghanistan, commanding the first UK Provincial Reconstruction Team in Mazar-e-Sharif (2003), leading the International Security Assistance Force’s reconstruction and development effort as chief engineer of ISAF IX (2006–07), and as chief of staff, Regional Command (South) (2009–10). He is a vice-president of the Institution of Royal Engineers, chairman of the Royal Engineers’ Museum and honorary colonel of the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia). He holds a degree in civil engineering, a master’s degree in defence technology, is a fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and was appointed CB in 2015 and CBE in 2004. He is co-author, with David Kilcullen, Greg Mills and David Spencer of A Great Perhaps? Colombia: Conflict and Convergence (Hurst/OUP, 2015), which is based on extensive fieldwork in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.

Greg Mills has directed the Johannesburg-based Brenthurst Foundation since its inception in 2005, and is author of the best-selling books Why Africa is Poor – And What Africans Can Do About It (Penguin, 2010) and, with Jeffrey Herbst, Africa’s Third Liberation (Penguin, 2012). In 2008 he was deployed as strategy adviser to the President of Rwanda, has run strategic advisory groups in Malawi, Mozambique and Afghanistan, and has worked for heads of government in Liberia, Lesotho, Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe. He holds a PhD from Lancaster University and an honours degree in African studies from the University of Cape Town. A member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and Chatham House, and of the Advisory Board of the Royal United Services Institute, in 2013 he was appointed to the African Development Bank’s High-Level Panel on Fragile States. He is on the visiting faculty of the Royal College of Defence Studies, NATO’s Higher Defence College and the South African National Defence College. His most recent books are Why States Recover (Picador, 2014) and, with Jeffrey Herbst, How South Africa Works (Picador, 2015).

Olusegun Obasanjo is a former president of Nigeria. He had a distinguished military career, including serving in the 1957 UN Peacekeeping Mission to Congo and receiving the instrument of surrender on behalf of the Nigerian government from the opposing forces in the Nigerian Civil War in 1970. Having attended various educational institutions, including Abeokuta Baptist High School, the Indian Army School of Engineering and the Royal College of Defence Studies in London, he rose to the rank of general and became the Nigerian head of state after the assassination of the then military head of state in February 1976. He handed over to a democratically elected government in September 1979. He was jailed for his pro-democracy views for three and a half years until the death of General Sani Abacha in June 1998. On his release, he was democratically elected as president in 1999 and served two terms. With over 30 books in print covering a variety of topics, he pursues a passion for conflict resolution, mediation and development through a number of institutions, including his chairmanship of the Tana Forum and the Brenthurst Foundation. 

To register please click the 'Register Now' button. If you have any questions please email Sabrina Downey at Refreshments will be served from 1730.

Open to RUSI Members Only

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