Re-engaging Africa, con Sean Jacobs, de The New School

8 de marzo de 2023 - 42 min escuchar

En la Cumbre de Líderes EE.UU.-África celebrada en diciembre, el Presidente Joe Biden señaló que "el éxito de África es el éxito del mundo" y prometió visitas de sus altos cargos, entre ellos la más reciente, la Primera Dama Jill Biden, que viajó a Namibia y Kenia en un viaje de cinco días. Con 1.400 millones de habitantes, el 43% de los cuales vive en centros urbanos, y una media de edad de 19 años, África acoge una inversión creciente, una riqueza privada en aumento y sectores tecnológicos y de servicios innovadores. Sean Jacobs, de la New School, fundador y editor de Africa is a Country, se une a los copresentadores de Doorstep, Nick Gvosdev y Tatiana Serafin, para analizar lo que está ocurriendo sobre el terreno y la importancia de que Estados Unidos vuelva a comprometerse con África a medida que se redefine el papel de los BRICS en la próxima década.

Re-engaging Africa Doorstep podcast Spotify link Re-engaging Africa Doorstep Apple Podcast link

NIKOLAS GVOSDEV: Welcome, everyone, to this edition of The Doorstep podcast. I am your co-host, senior fellow at Carnegie Council Nick Gvosdev.

TATIANA SERAFIN: And I am Tatiana Serafin, also a senior fellow here at Carnegie Council, welcoming you all today on this International Women's Day and Holi, which is the Indian first day of spring. We never had winter here in New York, so I am excited for spring, I guess.

I am even more excited today to welcome Sean Jacobs, associate professor of international affairs at The New School, who is the founder and editor of Africa is a Country and who I have been wanting to speak with because we have been hearing so much coverage about the Nigerian elections. Some of us may have read about Jill Biden's visit to Africa, and I think it is important for us today to look at how Africa connects to us here at the doorstep, so many different countries and different priorities, and we are going to get to them today.

Again, happy International Women's Day!

Thank you so much for joining us today, Sean, on this International Women's Day, which I love personally. I think there is so much to talk about on what is happening across Africa in terms of women's rights. One of the things we will be talking about later this month is feminist foreign policy. I was reading that the African Union has adopted a gender strategy and that women are more represented in politics than they were a few years ago across the continent.

I would like to start there and then move on to the great youth movements across Africa. These are the two powerful forces that I think are going to be transformative over the next decade. I am so excited to have you here to talk us through what this means, not only across the continent but also what this means for us back home here in the United States and why we need to pay more attention to Africa.

Before I throw that pitch to you, I want to say that Jill Biden recently went to Africa. It was beautiful. There was a beautiful story in the Post talking about how across the continent everybody knew that Jill Biden was there, and there was so much media coverage. Guess how much media coverage there was here in the United States? Nothing. The headline that I read that bothered me the most from the Post when Jill Biden went to Africa was that her comment about 2024 stole all the attention.

Why? Why is that? Let's change the narrative today with you and talk about what I think Jill Biden was really there to do also, which was to support women and all of the activity around micro-lending and women's rights that is happening right now. On this International Women's Day let's talk more about that.

SEAN JACOBS: Let me start by saying this. I am not mad that Americans wanted to ask her, "Is your husband running for president," because that is the big question here. I think he is 80 years old, and I think somebody said by the time he would be inaugurated he would be 82. I am asking that from that Washington Post article actually.

I understand why that is the story, and that is not unusual. That always happens. If an American president is traveling somewhere, the U.S. press corps that travels with him asks him about domestic politics. I think the people in the room who are not American obviously look—if you are a journalist or an observer in the country where the president or the first lady or second lady is visiting, I think you are wondering, Hey, you are in our home, let's talk about us. So I do understand that. I am not going to entirely hate on that. That is my first response.

I don't want to be naïve. Obviously Joe Biden had that big summit in December in Washington. He did make it clear that a number of senior people from his administration would be visiting the continent. I think he said at least eight people would go.

Now Jill Biden has gone, and the context of course is two things. One is, he is aware and the United States is aware of China's growing influence, and they are trying to counter it. That is what that summit was all about. Secondly, there is a war going on in Ukraine that is having a direct effect in Africa on food supplies, countries' access to energy supplies, oil, et cetera.

I think Joe Biden actually while he was in Europe sort of said, "Jill is going there to say something"—I can't remember the exact quote, but it was in reference to rebuking Putin and that some African countries are supporting Russia. That is also happening.

It is definitely geopolitics, and I think Jill Biden is an emissary of Joe Biden's in trying to convince Africans, who at this point—I don't think it is necessarily ideological; I think it is just pure strategic politics—"Why shouldn't we get involved in the war in Ukraine if we need to secure"—whether it is energy, as I said, or food supplies from Russia. I don't think we need a war like this. There is an element of that going on.

To get to your point, obviously there are major problems on the African continent—patriarchy and questions around gender violence. I think Jill Biden spent much or some of her efforts in Namibia. She first visited Namibia, then she visited Kenya and gave a number of speeches where I think she made it explicit to talk about gender violence and to talk about empowerment, and I think she mentioned at some point that the United States is one of the major donors in the Horn of Africa, where there is also a food crisis.

Obviously we would like for the trip during International Women's Month to be framed in that way, but unfortunately you can't. Of course, women are also affected by these larger questions around the war in Ukraine. There are the kinds of values that I think China also wants to spread through its institutes in many of these countries. It supports broadcast television. China Central Television (CCTV), which is now known as China Global Television Network (CGTN), I think has a bureau in Nairobi. I don't know if one of the major American networks or even the equivalent of a public network or what people call "public diplomacy network"—the American one, the UA, I don't think it has even a massive bureau like the one that the Chinese have in Nairobi. So there is a lot at play in these visits, which on the face of it seem to be about one thing, but I think there is always something else going on.

NIKOLAS GVOSDEV: I want to pick up on some of the points that you raised there and tie them in as well with the emergence of new leaders, next-generation leaders, across the continent. As we have seen over the last few weeks, there is a growing move for African leaders to be much more frank in their discussions particularly with Europeans coming in, raising the colonial past and saying, "You, the West, are only interested now because China is here, and if China was not here you would not be interested," and so on.

Is there a sense that you are getting as you are looking that new leaders are emerging across the continent and that they are prepared to reposition the relationship that the continent has with the West to try to change the basis from in the past where there has been a sense that leaders have come asking for aid and asking for development, and now it is more, "We want to be partners, and if you are not going to partner with us, we have new options with China, with India, and with other parts of the rising Global South"? Is there a sense that we are at a fork in the road where perhaps the older ways that the United States has had in dealing with the continent may be changing because of a generational change in leadership, the role of China, and the emergence of new political forces across the continent?

SEAN JACOBS: Again, I think there is a simple and a complicated answer. My complicated answer would be, I would argue that there are interesting political developments outside of the state, outside of power, what people might refer to as "civil society." I think Tatiana mentioned young people, the youth.

You will see interesting developments in social movements, the End Special Anti-Robbery Squad (End SARS)—I know we will talk about Nigeria—in Nigeria, which was specifically about police brutality by a unit of the police that set out to criminalize and target young people just for having dreadlocks or something and then torturing people. In South Africa you have #FeesMustFall and #RhodesMustFall, which started on university campuses and seemed to be about free public higher education and specific to Africa monuments and curriculums that in the words of the students were just perpetuating white supremacy. We can talk about the Arab Spring, but outside the state I think there are these interesting political movements where people are demanding something else. They are demanding a different relationship with the west.

One other quick point: The one place where explicitly that is being articulated is around restitution of art, which sounds obscure and does not feel like it has anything to do with regular people because it is about museums and about negotiating sometimes with European governments. France in the end released a report saying, "We will now release all this art." In the end as we learned they did not do much, but in any case this debate is out there. So what may seem like an obscure debate is actually about much more. This is about a new autonomy of Africans wanting to govern their own resources in their language on their own terms.

I remember a quote I saw where an art curator said: "If they return our art, we don't want any conditions. If I want to burn it, I want to burn it. If I want to bury it, I am going to bury it." I feel like there is a little bit of that, but I think that is another outside issue.

I did see a press conference in the last week that is going viral, where Félix Tshisekedi, who is the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and he is turning toward Macron and saying, "Stop lecturing us."

My friends say, "Well, I think he said that some people did it on social media."

I said, "No, no, that's your foreign minister."

So yes, there is that kind of confrontation on camera in public, but when I say I think it is a complex answer—I am not going to be too optimistic—we have gone through this kind of moment before of, "There is going to be this new class of leader; they are going to be different." I don't have to remind you there was Meles Zenawi and Museveni. This was like Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton had this whole thing about all these new people who are coming. It turns out they were all authoritarians interestingly. Mandela was old, so they didn't see Mandela as a new leader, although it was a completely new country.

South Africa at that time actually had a different kind of foreign policy. It was I would say one of the best at that time in the world. Remember Mandela went after the then-president of Nigeria Abacha, and they were not allowed at the commonwealth meetings and couldn't play in sports tournaments. I don't think South Africa at that point had people who could talk in that way. Instead it was Meles, Museveni, Obasanjo, and a few others, and these people were all authoritarians.

If you speak to young Africans now there is a lot of admiration for Paul Kagame, who is basically some people might call a "neoliberal authoritarian," and it is because people look at him and go, "He is offering Internet, the streets are clean, and it is efficient." I don't think Kagame is necessarily close to China, but that is where the Chinese model that is authoritarian but that delivers seems to be more attractive to people.

I want to say one other quick thing. Peter Obi, who is a candidate in Nigeria who just ran—again it was like the young people coming out of End SARS, their political hope is to him as an outsider, but if you look closely at him until recently he was the vice presidential candidate in the last election with Atiku Abubakar, who is a businessman but was the vice president of Obasanjo, and then Peter Obi actually was going to run on that party ticket again. He did not get it, so he went to another political party and became their candidate. He is also in the Pandora Papers. So what is new and what is different, I think these things are always up for grabs.

But you are right; there is a sense that there are all kinds of political developments that can change things. I know that Lula is now back in Brazil. Lula believes in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS), but it's not the same BRICS. It is now Modi and Putin, and then you have South Africa and Brazil. Then they want to bring in a bunch of other countries into this reconfigured BRICS, I think Algeria and a few other countries. That is where change might develop from.

The thing with China is that the China story has stalled. Everybody thought that China was going to start having not the upper hand in the relationship with Africa although what the United States and what the European Union had, but now China is stalling on the repayment of loans. That is now changing also the game again with China.

TATIANA SERAFIN: I think that is so interesting. I want to remind our audience who we are talking about. You have a beautiful site—I so enjoyed reading it—Africa is a Country, that talks about politics and culture, all the things that we have addressed in our talk so far today. Also I want to mention that it has a Creative Commons license, so any student of mine is going to be able to read that and use that in their student newspaper.

One of the things that strikes me is this idea—and I want to remind our audience—is that 70 percent of the population of the continent is under 30. In fact the median age is 19.7 in the latest UN figures; 43 percent are urban. If you are looking at those figures as someone wanting to run for office or create a business, wow. Target market, hello! Young people in urban areas? I would say that everybody on the planet wants to be part of that. I want to make sure we tell that story.

Maybe they did not get their candidate in in Nigeria, but it is the youth vote—and you also mentioned it—that is changing what is demanded of political leadership, what is demanded of government, what is demanded of civil society, and also in terms of business.

My background—I come from Forbes, who are billionaires, where I covered Nigeria, where I covered Dangote, who happens to be the richest African currently. Currently there are 46 known billionaires from the African continent. I say "known" because a lot is unknown—you mentioned the Pandora Papers.

I think it is important to understand this urbanization for our audience and this private wealth that is being generated because sometimes so often we do not hear that story. I think for us in the United States, for marketers, and for politicians looking at Africa, there is huge potential again looking forward to the next decade. I see it as a huge decade of change. What do you think? Am I being too Pollyannish?

SEAN JACOBS: Not necessarily. I am going to get into the politics in a minute or two. I think this week I saw that NBC/Universal is signing a deal with MultiChoice, a South African company that basically dominates satellite broadcasting in the rest of the continent—entertainment, sports, etc.—and they have their own streaming service called Showmax, the equivalent of a Hulu or something. They just signed a deal with NBC/Universal that people in African can get access to their streaming service Peacock and that content, HBO, etc.

When I read the story I think in The Hollywood Reporter it said something like the African market, everybody knows now that there is money there. If you google it, search on YouTube—google is now a verb—if you just type in something like "Afrochella," which is just happening in Ghana where you have every Christmas planeloads of the children of the diaspora—in other words, their parents migrated to Western Europe and the United States or North America, they come back for this month-long jamboree of hanging out in Ghana, going to parties, spending their money, and investing—so there is money. This is true.

I just wrote a blog post the other day for the London Review of Books about the murder of a South African rap star, AKA. He is top of the charts in South Africa, but the interesting part of his story was that at his memorial service what became clear was that there was this whole new generation of Black South Africans who all went to private schools and who are making money.

The general take is like: "You are accumulating wealth through the state, and if you are not accumulating wealth through the state, you are accumulating it like Dangote or what Motsepe in South Africa—mining, manufacturing, etc." No. They are doing it in entertainment, service industries, computing, and programming. I think I saw a story a while back about Apple and Microsoft wanting to go to Nigeria. Facebook is putting up a huge office in Kenya. Young people as a phenomenon is definitely a new and growing market. They are connected to the rest of the world. It is a kind of cosmopolitan class.

At the same time I think the Nigerian elections again show you that there is a difference between politics on social media and actual politics. A lot of the complaints after elections say, "We got robbed, we got robbed." But there have been articles that basically show you that the turnout was something like 29 percent of registered voters. So less than a third of registered voters turned out, and I think Tinubu won with something like a percentage in the high 30s of that registered vote.

Before the election all you got was this impression that Obi was riding the wave of something called the Obivians—what a name!—and that they were going to turn up at the polls and change Nigerian elections because there is this echo chamber of Twitter and social media. But they did not register to vote. They did not turn up to vote.

I would venture to say I think that is what happened in South Africa also. #FeesMustFall and #RhodesMustFall fundamentally I think challenged the political deal of 1994 and questioned how that political deal came about, its consequences for generations after that, that they couldn't really change the economy, and that in a country that is racially unequal, that has this legacy, you could not change it because you had certain rules in place. They said, "We need to change this," and make the government serious when they say: "If we want to deracialize education, we have to provide free education before that." But then, when that was over, the talk was like, "Will they turn that into some kind of an electoral base?"

As an aside I can mention what happened in Chile. The people in government in Chile now were leading those protests about a decade ago about education. That did not happen in South Africa.

I love the energy of youth. I was young once. It is hard being young, but it also ends. The whole thing with the university students who won in South Africa, once election season was over some of them graduated and went to another place in their life. Some people keep doing this stuff and remain politically engaged, but I think it often happens that people end up doing something else.

In some countries unfortunately the political establishment is so entrenched—if you think of someplace like Uganda, if you closely look at Ugandan politics and some of the people who have written on our website about this country will argue this, that for some Ugandans the presidency and Museveni, they don't debate that. That is like, "Okay, that's just there." You can change who becomes Members of Parliament. Like Bobi Wine you could become a Member of Parliament and change politics through the electoral system.

In some instances in the ruling party—and not only in Uganda—you have basically competitive primaries. That is essentially like the general election already. Then there is the National Resistance Movement (NRM), which is the ruling party, but there is also an NRM Independent that sits in parliament, that publicly caucuses against the party, but they are members of the same party. So there are lots of little maneuvers people are doing.

I don't know if I arrived at a conclusion here. I think I have probably made it more difficult.

TATIANA SERAFIN: I think the conclusion is that we need to watch Africa more closely because changes are happening.

NIKOLAS GVOSDEV: I was struck by the fact that what happens in many countries in Africa also happens here, the question of the youth energy that does not translate into people actually turning up at the polls and, as you also said, the echo chamber of social media skewing the on-the-ground politics. In that sense I think there are trends in both the United States and in many sub-Saharan African states where you can see the parallel.

You mentioned the diaspora, and you had this example of Ghanian diasporans returning during the holiday season. That got me thinking about what we have seen with other countries, where a diaspora returns and jumpstarts the economy and develops ties—we saw it with Ireland, Estonia, and India—where you have immigration and then the children decide they are going to bridge back and forth.

Are we seeing something similar in places like Ghana and other countries in West Africa that have large professional diasporas in the United States, saying, "We're going to go back, we're going to build these business ties" and these other ties, and is there a sense too about how the diaspora is received when it comes back? Again, from the Eastern European experience we have seen that sometimes diasporans are welcomed, and in other cases they are not welcome. The children and grandchildren are essentially, "You left and we don't want you back."

Is there anything we can draw yet? Are we talking about a Ghanian "economic miracle" the way we talked about Ireland with the diaspora that came back and returned and invested and paved the way for Ireland's remarkable jump in the 1980s and 1990s? Are we seeing any trends like that where the diaspora comes back and integrates the "old country" with the United States or whatever the new country is?

SEAN JACOBS: Before I answer that I just want to make clear so that people who listen do not think I said the only reason Obi did not win was because young people did not register. As you said, it is like Twitter versus "real" politics. There were also what a lot of voting-monitoring organizations call "voting irregularities." People do not much trust in the independent electoral commission of Nigeria. There was voter intimidation. I did read about people being attacked by thugs who belonged to one party and said to people, "You can't vote for other candidates," and then tried to beat them up.

Of course, there was also widespread vote buying. Nigeria, it is certainly a shame, but it's politics. There is a lot of cash. I read something like the primaries for the presidential candidates in the two big parties—the way people the United States spends money on a campaign for president—the amount of money that was spent just to become the candidate there was quite astronomical.

To your question, then, about the diaspora, there are multiple ways that I think this is playing out. I will give the one that I think is the most interesting in a formal sense.

I remember when I got my first job at Michigan, and I did a dissertation defense, and the Ph.D. student presented about something called the "global nation-state," which is this idea that the diaspora actually has a say in national politics with a seat or seats in the national legislature. The presidential candidates actually actively go out to campaign in the diaspora. I think Mexico does it. Poland does that.

In Africa at that time—and of course this has been updated since then I am assuming—I know Senegal does that. Senegal has a formal process by which the large diasporas in the East Coast of the United States and Western Europe have some representation in the national parliament.

The model there of course—I don't want to get too deep in the woods—is we know that France did this with the Departments within their weird colonial system. They had representation for people from Senegal and Côte d'Ivoire to sit in the Assembly. So it is not totally a new thing, but I think it is an interesting development in these postcolonial states. Senegal I think had 30 representatives. I think Cape Verde has it. It means there is an equal understanding about the role of the diaspora. It is not like, "They have money, they have influence." It is not that level, but it is more that they have a direct say.

In some instances you have people in the diaspora who are very successful who then return and often run for office. I think that was the case in Togo or one of the countries in West Africa where somebody ran like that. In Congo that was the case, but he lost the election. The rumor was that he had won, but he unfortunately lost the election. So that does happen.

The second version of this is—you have referred to the Ghanian example. The Ghanian example is slightly more complex because the year of return, which is supposed to be 400 years since slavery—that was the policy of the incumbent government promoting this idea that people should come back because Ghana has a lot of slave forts which they preserve so visitors come from the diaspora and make that part of the trip. There are also attempts by people who feel alienated and discriminated against in the West to go back there to affirm themselves. There is an official government investment in this kind of program, but if you read media accounts of this there are two things.

One is, Ghana is going through an economic crisis where it is looking for a bailout from the International Monetary Fund. Economic governance is kind of dismal. The president is highly unpopular. So a lot of the debate in Ghana is that this is diversion politics: "You want to make us focus on these people who come in every Christmas so that we don't focus on the inequalities that we are experiencing."

I think the other point people often make is that it creates a kind of parallel economy which is even more inaccessible to local people, like restaurants and hotels that are very expensive. Local people cannot enjoy any of this.

The consequence is, while it sounds like a great idea, in this kind of instance where it is not formalized at a level of broad government policy and people are just coming and going, it creates, like it does in Portugal with the housing thing, pressure on the housing market and it makes things more unaffordable, so it often plays out like that.

In general my sense—and I am also an immigrant, if you want, living in New York City—is that it depends on the country. In my own case, South Africa does not have a long history of emigration by black South Africans in particular. With white South Africans there is a long history of emigration to the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia. There were a lot of connections even during apartheid. Black South Africans—unless they went into political exile, were politically involved, or went to study, in which case they left—in most cases would return because South Africa is a relatively wealthy country although now it is going to try to sell its electricity and so on, but it does not have that same kind of history. So it does depend on where you are and what country you go to.

I think the two main responses to your point is that mostly there is a very formal political process—I think that seems to be the best model—and then this arbitrary model, which is often tied to one or another administration. So it is not a national program; it is a program that people associate with a particular political party or political orientation, and I think when that party goes out of power that ends, so it means we can see how that plays out.

TATIANA SERAFIN: I would like to take us back to my first question on how the media covers Africa and ask you: Aside from Africa is a Country, which I think is a fabulous site that everybody needs to read, who else is covering Africa in a thoughtful and insightful way that we can tell our audience about? What we are trying to do here at The Doorstep is make sure that we connect global issues to domestic concerns. What do you read? What would you recommend for our audience?

SEAN JACOBS: My general answer is that I actually think Western media is covering Africa better. Two things: One is, there is the established media, the ones that spend resources, the ones that set public agendas and that are read by elites. I think that media over time is doing a better job. There is a good study by Toussaint Nothias, who is at Stanford University. He did a great study of how many of the very crude stereotypes that we used to associate with coverage of Africa in the West, the ones that Binyavanga Wainaina complained about in "How to Write about Africa," and the ones in Africa is a Country used to write about in its initial stages, and much of that does not exist anymore.

There are reasons for that. One is that in some instances Western publications have employed Africans as correspondents. The New York Times' East Africa correspondent (Abdi Latif Dahir) is of Somali/Kenyan origin. That is an interesting; the bureau chief is. So that changes.

Also in South Africa I know they use some South African reporters as part of their team, so when they report a story you will see the name of the foreign correspondent working with the local reporter. The media around there reporting, they will put those people also near the front. So the role of the foreign correspondent has changed. You just don't write anymore for your audience back home. Your story goes on the internet. So the people you are writing about are reading it also.

I am pointing out many of the factors that I think have improved the coverage, so in general I think the coverage has gotten better, and I am talking, as I said, about the elite media with lots of resources—The New York Times, The Washington Post. Even The Wall Street Journal does great coverage on Africa. I think people who report on them are good. Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, many of these older publications that people would not have read on Africa and African affairs I think now are all doing much better. This is why you might also notice that Africa is a Country writes more opinion and analysis. If we write a story now about Nigeria, we are writing about what just happened here rather than, "Oh, how is this covered by The New York Times?" I think the coverage has improved, and we know many of those reporters through our work with Africa is a Country. They have done better, so I am pleased with what I am seeing.

Next to that there are also a lot of podcasts coming out. I can recommend a number of them, some that are run by academics. Some of them are located on the platforms of news organizations, so if you go to something like Foreign Policy of course, but if you go to Times Live, which is a South African publication, News24. There is also one we are partnered with called The Nigerian Scam out of Lagos. I would recommend them. One of them is actually a contributing editor to Africa is a Country, Sa'eed Husaini, who is a political scientist.

I think there is a podcast world, and if people tweet at me I will be happy to make a list if people are interested.


SEAN JACOBS: YouTube is also interesting. For instance, somebody is traveling somewhere and makes a diary of something. Some of it is, "Oh, look at me just eating food." Others have somebody walking into neighborhoods and just speaking to people, and you get a very definite read.

I also read other languages. I can read Dutch, I can read a little bit of German, and I think sometimes there is in those—and Google Translate is also your friend, the artificial intelligence translator.

I think the diversity of media that people can access about Africa is not the same as when I started Africa is a Country in 2009. It is a much bigger world—Twitter, Facebook. You can form your own discussion group or whatever, and through that you can get all kinds of different articles. I think the environment for media has improved from my perspective.

TATIANA SERAFIN: I am always talking about the power of social media, so I totally agree.

On The Doorstep we do Book Talk, and I want to know what is on your nightstand? What are you reading right now, for our audience?

SEAN JACOBS: That is a good question. I am currently on Nigeria because I have to write something about it, but I am obsessed with the 1970s in Africa, particularly in West Africa. I have to write something about Fela Kuti, and I decided that I am not going to write the usual, "Fela Kuti made some music, had 29 wives," the sort of "Water No Get Enemy" with no clothes on. No, actually what I think is interesting is that Fela Kuti's most productive period as a musician and as a social critic coincides with a very interesting moment in Nigeria in which there were lots of debates about Nigeria's political system, its state, and that it had to deliver substantive good to its people.

Mostly from the left in Nigeria, there was a university called Ahmadu Bello, and there were many professors from there. The government started taking advice from them. At the end of the 1980s, when Fela was tapering off—remember he got AIDS in the end—at that point the then-military ruler Babangida called for a public commission where he asked these academics to write up a proposal for, "What kind of Nigeria would you like to see here?" When they sent in the report saying, "We want more public investment, we want more accountability," he fired all of them, et cetera. The point is I am obsessed currently with articles, books, and so on about that.

Of course I read a lot about South Africa. I am always reading books about South Africa.

TATIANA SERAFIN: Wonderful. Thank you so much for those recommendations and for a lovely discussion today. Happy International Women's Day.

SEAN JACOBS: Thank you very much. Thanks for having me.

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Carnegie Council para la Ética en los Asuntos Internacionales es una organización independiente y no partidista sin ánimo de lucro. Las opiniones expresadas en este podcast son las de los ponentes y no reflejan necesariamente la posición de Carnegie Council.

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APR 20, 2022 - Podcast

The Doorstep: Definir el papel de Estados Unidos en la escena mundial

Guerra mundial, inflación y un resurgimiento del COVID-19: el equipo Biden/Harris se ha puesto a la defensiva para los dos primeros trimestres de 2022. Esta semana, los copresentadores de "Doorstep" ...