Updates from the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa

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Leonard Wantchekon

We are delighted to welcome Professor Leonard Wantchekon to the FLCA  centre 

Leonard Wantchekon is a Centennial Chair at LSE for 2018-2019 academic year. He is a Professor of Politics and International Affairs and associated faculty in the Economics department at Princeton University.  His research is broadly focused on political and economic development, particularly in Africa.   His specific interests include institutions and governance, education and human capital externalities, democratization, clientelism and redistributive politics and the long-term social impact of historical events. 

 He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the founder the African School of Economics (ASE), which opened in Benin in September 2014.

For a full profile of Professor Wantchekon, please visit the IMF website for a Finance & Development article entitled “Ground Breaker.”



Africa Summit Team 2018

LSE Africa Summit is recuiting

Be part of the team that will be delivering LSE Africa Summit 2019! There is a wide range of exciting roles being advertised.

Apply Now



Africa At LSE blog competition

Africa at LSE launches Blog Competition

The Africa at LSE blog has launched a competition for undergraduate and masters student inviting them to explore the influences and contribution of the African Diaspora to the world. 

The competition opens on 1 October 2018 and closes at midnight on Friday 9 November 2018. All blogs should be no more than 1,000 words and submitted via email to and accompanied by your name and degree programme at LSE. 

A judging panel will assess submissions and select a winner based on the following criteria: originality (25%), creativity (25%), use of language (25%), and appropriateness to the theme of the contest (25%).

The Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa will compile a shortlist on 10 blogs with the judging panel choosing the winner and two runners-up. All shortlisted blogs will be published on the Africa at LSE blog.

The winner of the competition will receive a £50 voucher. Two runners-up will each receive a £25 voucher. All shortlisted writers will receive a free ticket for the 2019 LSE Africa Summit. 

For more information and TCs click here





Second LSE PFAL Forum for Aspiring African Leaders

The second LSE Programme for African Leadership (PfAL) Forum took place from 6-8 September 2018 in Mombasa Kenya. Over 100 delegates from the four corners of the continent were gathered at the Serena Beach Resort and Spa for a closed conference with the theme, Working Together to Shape Our Future.

Over the four days of the conference, delegates were inspired and empowered to take on the biggest challenges in their communities, countries and continent through a succession of keynote addresses by distinguished speakers and workshops. Among the speakers were Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Irungu Houghton, Executive Director, of Amnesty International Kenya.




News Archive

Summer Term


LSEIQ website

Visiting Professor shares expertise in LSE IQ Podcast

FLCA Visiting Professor Dr Grace Akello recently participated in LSE IQ's monthly podcast. Aired on 3 July 2018, Episode 16, Do we need to rethink foreign aid? discusses the politics of foreign aid.

The episode examines the role of humanitarian and development assistance despite an increasingly sceptical political environment. Dr Duncan Green, an Investigator on our CPAID research project, is also featured, alongside Rafat Ali Al-Akhali and Dr Ryan Jablonski.

Listen to the segment.




Profile photo of Dr Laura Mann

Assistant Professor presents new ESRC Research in Mumbai

On June 15 and 16, a network of global researchers met in Mumbai, India, to take part in a workshop organised by the Indian organisation, ITforChange, that explored the implications of digital platforms for economic and social development. Participants included researchers from Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Canada, Belgium, Wales, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, India, the Philippines, China, Indonesia and Thailand discussing topics ranging from the impacts of platformisation on financial inclusion, cultural representation and production, worker security and livelihoods, sovereignty and exploitation, among many other topics.

As part of the workshop, Laura Mann, from the LSE ID/FLCA presented her new ESRC research project on the digitization of agriculture within the US and Kenya. She emphasised the need to understand the impacts of digital technologies and platforms through the lens of competitive knowledge production.




CPAID researcher 's work featured in ICR study and New York Times 

The Roots of Restraint in War—a study that updates the 2004 Roots of Behaviour in War by the ICR—was launched in June 2018 in Geneva.

 Naomi Pendle's research on community-embedded armed group in South Sudan was featured in this study  and quoted in a New York Times article.



LSE Visiting Fellow, Michael Amoah

Visiting Fellow provides expert analysis on Burundi referendum 

FLCA Visiting Fellow Dr Michael Amoah was interviewed on Al Jazeera on 17 May 2018 as votes were cast in Burundi on a referendum to extend presidential term limits.  

During the segment, Dr Amoah discussed the political motivations behind the referendum and the ‘intimidation and fear’ some citizens are under to go out and vote.   

The results of the referendum have been announced since, with Burundi approving constitutional amendments to extend presidential term limits.  

Watch the segment



A pile of research papers

South Sudanese researchers invited to apply for Writing Workshop in July 2018

South Sudanese early career researchers have been invited to apply for the Writing Workshop which will take place in Kenya during 10-22 July 2018.

Funded by the British Academy, the workshop is being organised in partnership between the Institute of Peace, Development and Security (University of Juba)  and the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa (LSE).

The workshop will provide invaluable training to South Sudanese early career researchers looking to write-up and publish their original empirical research.

Attendees will also receive additional support to facilitate the submission of their resulting articles (8,000 words approx.) to an international, peer-reviewed journal before November 2018. 

Applications close on the 18th May 2018.

Find out how to apply



Africa Summit Team 2018

The LSE Africa Summit 2018 

The  LSE Africa Summit took place on 20 and 21 April 2018. The theme of this year's conference is Africa at Work: Educated. Employed. Empowered

President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo of Ghana delivered the opening keynote address on the second day of the annual student-led conference.

Other speakers at the conference included Mosun Belo-Olusoga, Chair of Access Bank PLC, Nigeria and Dr Lindiwe Sibanda, VP Policy and Partnerships, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

Visit the website to find out more about the Summit



CPAID researcher Grace Akello

New Visiting Professor at the Centre for Africa

The Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa welcomes Dr Grace Akello, Ruth Glass Memorial Fellow in the Department of International Development and FLCA Visiting Professor.

She will spend the next four months at LSE working as part of research team in the Centre for Public Authority and International Development.

Dr Akello is a medical anthropologist and an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Gulu University in Uganda where she convenes that master of medical anthropology course.

Her research interests focus on the interplay between culture, health and illness particularly during conflict, complex emergencies and natural disasters. Her work has been published in a range of journals including Social Science and Medicine and Intervention. 

She can be contacted on


Lent Term 2018


Profile Photo of Professor Catherine Boone

New ESRC-funded project launched at LSE

Starting in March 2018 and running for 3.5 years, Professor Catherine Boone will lead an ESRC-funded project on Spatial Inequalities in the Political Economy of Africa.This project is a collaborative effort between scholars in the UK, US, and Kenya. 


The project will culminate in a series of co-authored scholarly publications and research workshops at the British Institute in Eastern Africa in Nairobi and at the LSE in Spring 2019, 2020, and 2021.  


LSE Visiting Fellow, Michael Amoah

FLCA academic provides expert analysis on Zuma resignation

FLCA Visiting Fellow Dr Michael Amoah was interviewed on BBC World Business Report following the resignation of South Africa President Jacob Zuma on 14 February 2018.

During the segment, Dr Amoah discussed the economic and business impact of Mr Zuma’s departure and the priorities of incoming leader Cyril Ramaphosa

Watch the news segment



Panel of speakers at the launch of the Disasters Special Issue

Special Issue of Disasters Journal edited by LSE academics launched

A roundtable workshop launching the Disasters Journal special issue: Gender, Sexuality and Violence in Humanitarian Crises was held on Tuesday 13 February 2018 at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

This special issue was co-edited by LSE Research Fellow Holly Porter, LSE Visiting Professor Dorothea Hilhorst and independent researcher Rachel Gordon.

The publication, open access for all of 2018, is a joint initiative of the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) and the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa.



Front page of brochure for the 2018 July School

Applications are now open for the 2018 LSE-UCT July School

The 2018 LSE-UCT July School will take place from 25 June – 6th July at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. 

It provides the highest calibre students, graduates and professionals from across the globe with an exciting opportunity to study important social science issues relevant to Africa today across subject areas as diverse as international relations, economics, government, geography, and social policy.

An ‘Early Bird’ discount of £150 is available for all fully completed applications received by April 15



news-NPR Naomi Pendle Cow Econ

LSE's Naomi Pendle discusses Cow-Economies in South Sudan on NPR

Dr Naomi Pendle, Research Officer in the LSE CPAID and South Sudan expert, was interviewed on National Public Radio (NPR) documentary, War and Peace and Cows about the role of cows in the economy of South Sudan.

After the 2013 war that erupted in South Sudan, many communities experienced displacement, village rampages and militia invasions. As South Sudan officially became its own country in the summer of 2011, it also faced instability and transformation. In light of this change, NPR investigated the security that cattle have brought South Sudanese populations as a type of currency rooted in their socio-cultural, political, and economic lives. 



LSE Africa square

The Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa Annual Report is now out

You can read about all our activities during the 2016/17 academic year in our Annual Report. It is available in print format and pdf.



Patricia Stys headshot

CPAID researcher presents to Australia’s Department of Defence

In December 2017, Patrcyja Stys was invited to present her research to Australia’s Department of Defence, by the Defence, Science and Technology Group.

Dr Stys, alongside Dr Johan Koskinen of University of Manchester discussed transborder trade networks, historical migration patterns, and networked conflict dynamics in Africa’s Great Lakes Region.  

The presentation attempted to redirect Australian DoD’s focus on material resources as the cause of conflict by emphasising unresolved, historically-rooted tensions and their political instrumentalisation in context – linking what has been coined as ’the local’ to wider national and regional developments.

Dr Stys, Dr Koskinen, and present colleagues then discussed the comparability of the Central African case and its dynamics to those of Timore Leste and Indonesia, DoD’s primary concern.




Renewal of the The Beacon Equity Trust scholarship

LSE is pleased to announce the renewal of the The Beacon Equity Trust scholarship.

There will be one award of £20,000 per session for an applicant from Kenya, Tanzania or Uganda. More information on candidate eligibility can be found here. All of LSE's undergraduate programmes are applicable.

This information sheet, provided by the Beacon Trust, covers all aspects of the scholarship.  




Winning team of the 2018 PfAL project competition

SeXYZ is the Winner of 2017/2018 LSE PfAL Group Project 

The Programme for African Leadership is proud to announce the winner of this year’s group project competition, SeXYZ. Out of the ten groups that took part , SeXYZ was voted the winner by the PfAL 7 students for their idea to “empowerment for education through sex conversation”. This initiative aimns to educate young people on sexual health and reproduction and the influences it can have on their future education prospects.

The group members: Atem de Kuek, Munashe Musuka, Nomonde Ndwalaza, Landry Geoffroy Kabore, Hiral Chudasama, Claudia Atsufui Hihetah and Emily Van der Merwe aim to raise awareness of this issue through visual learning and relatable themes to encourage young people to learn and speak about sex education.

The Programme for African Leadership (PfAL) Group Project was designed  to help the PfAL participants develop confidence in presenting their ideas, working as part of a collaborative team to deliver common goals and think about how to develop and implement realistic strategies to address African challenges.

The winners of last year’s group project were the D4Dignity campaign that rolled out a campaign to provide sanitary products to internally displaced people in Nigeria. 



Former Zimbabwe President, Robert Mugabe

LSE Academics on the news about #Zimbabwecoup

The past couple of weeks have been quite busy for our academics with Robert Mugabe's exit from the presidency.

LSE researcher McDonald Lewanika was quoted in several news outlets such as the Al JazeeraForeign Policy, the Zimbabwean. Read his take on the military coup in our Africa at LSE blog.

LSE Assistant Professor Dr. Wendy Willems was interviewed for Al Jazeera's 'Zimbabwe: Mugabe's Media Legacy' and 'Mugabe's downfall: A new era for Zimbabwe's media?'. Both programmes examined  Mugabe's media tactics and the recent events leading to his fall.



Abebe Selassie, Director of IMF Africa Department

IMF Africa Director Abebe Aemro Selassie visits LSE

On Monday 6 November  2017, Abebe Aemro Selassie, Director of the IMF’s Africa department and LSE alumnus, delivered a public lecture entitled Growth in sub-Saharan Africa: drawing on the past, looking to the future.

In a event hosted by the International Growth Centre and the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa, Selassie delivered an insightful talk on the necessary policy reforms to address the challenges facing sub-Saharan Africa.

Read the transcipt of Abebe Aemro Selassie's lecture



A soldier on the watch in Bukava

New Report Partnerships in Conflict launched at LSE

A new report from Oxfam and International Alert was launched at LSE on Tuesday 31 October 2017. Partnerships in Conflict explores the impact of violent conflict on civil society organisations (CSOs) and the implications for international actors who partner with them.

Hosted by the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa, 130 people were in attendance as Summer Brown, Gerard Howe, Jawed Nadar, Danny Sriskandarajah and Yoma Winder debates some of the reports findings and conclusions.

Watch the event and Read the report




Meet our new PfAL Scholars

We are thrilled to welcome the seventh PfAL cohort for the 2017-2018 academic year

The Programme for African Leadership ( PfAL) was established at LSE to empower a new generation of African leaders who will promote best practices of economic and social development in their organisations and countries.

More information



LSE Visiting Fellow, Michael Amoah

LSE Visiting Fellow provides expert analysis on Kenya elections

Ahead of the 2017 Kenya general elections, Dr Michael Amoah, Visiting Fellow at the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa was interviewed on the BBC and Al Jazeera about Kenya's general elections which took place on 8 August 2017. While the BBC discussion centred around general aspects of the elections, the Al Jazeera interview focused on the reasons why it is difficult to hold fair elections in some African countries.

Listen to the Al Jazeera Interview


 ESRC awards LSE £5 million for new centre looking at successful models of government in fragile African countries

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has awarded LSE a five-year grant to research governance in fragile, conflict-affected, and impoverished areas in Africa. Launched on 1 April 2017, the Centre for Public Authority and International Development (CPAID) will be led by Professor Tim Allen and hosted at the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa. Its aim is to produce high-quality research and evidence that can help to generate informed and successful international development policies.  

The research will look at how families, clans, religious leaders, aid agencies, civil society, rebel militia and vigilante groups contribute to governance, by sharing the experiences of affected populations particularly marginalised and excluded groups.

The funding of the centre forms part of ESRC’s contribution to the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), a £1.5 billion UK Government investment to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries.

Read more about CPAID 


Students graduate from PfAL 2016-17 programme

Students participating in the 2016-17 Programme for African Leadership completed the programme on Monday 12 June in a full-day event at LSE.

The students gathered together to discuss their ideas of how they can respond to current issues in their home countries and the African Continent. One of the sessions welcomed PfAL alumna Navalayo Osembo-Ombati, Co-founder of Enda Athletic, Inc., to share about her own LSE journey and the experience of founding a company that aimed to make the first Kenyan running shoes.

Dr Kumi Naidoo, Launch Director of Africans Rising and former Executive Director of Greenpeace International, delivered the keynote address: 'The role of the African graduate in a turbulent and unjust world'.

The event - and the 2016-17 programme - concluded with commencement addresses from current PfAL students Efua Kumea Asibon and Muna Ngenda, who reflected on the cohort's past year and the responsibility that was now in their hands. Professor Paul Kelly, Pro-Director of Teaching and Learning at LSE, presented PfAL certificates to the students in a certification ceremony that saw the 52 students join the PfAL Alumni Network.


Ibukun Awosika delivers inspiring closing keynote at the 2017 LSE Africa Summit

A successful fourth LSE Africa Summit, led by students, concluded on Saturday 1 April with a rousing address by the Chairman of the First Bank of Nigeria, Ibukun Awosika who urged the students in the audience to actively engage in solving the issues facing Africa today.

Awosika’s keynote underlined the theme of this year’s Summit, Built for Africa: African Solutions to African Issues. Although Africa has problems, young Africans can use their education to think constructively and strategically about how to solve these problems, she said, as she urged students to think of themselves as leaders of today, not tomorrow.

Ghanaian undercover investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas gave a spirited defence of what he called “results-based journalism” in the closing keynote of the research conference on Friday 31 March.

Professor Muhammadou Kah, Vice Rector For Technology & Innovations at the ADA University in Baku, Azerbaijan, also emphasised the importance of the diaspora’s contribution to developing African countries.

Security, education and financing were also among the topics debated at the research and business conferences.

Watch video of the 2017 LSE Africa Summit

Applications deadline fast approaching for LSE-UCT MSc Global Media and Communications scholarships

If you fancy being part of the first class of students to enrol in the new MSc Global Media and Communications double degree from LSE and UCT, time is running out to apply.

There are two scholarship opportunities for African applicants for this degree, but in order to be considered, it is recommended that you apply by 31 March.  If an offer is received, holders must then complete the LSE Graduate Financial Support Application form by 5pm GMT on 26 April 2017.

Find out more about the degree and how to apply

Discover more scholarships available to African students applying to LSE.

Mauritius Vice President will deliver the opening keynote at the fourth LSE Africa Summit

HE Mr Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory, Vice President of Mauritius, will give the opening address on the first day of the 2017 LSE Africa Summit on Friday 31 March. Mr Vyapoory is a former High Commissioner to South Africa and a former academic.

The theme of this year’s two-day conference is Built for Africa: African Solutions for African Issues.

Applications open for MSc African Development at LSE

If you are looking for Masters programme which can provide you with a high quality academic introduction to the study of politics, economic development and economic policy in Africa, then you may be interested in applying for the LSE MSc African Development programme.

Find out more about the programme

D4Dignity launch their campaign
The winner of the PfAL projects campaign, D4Dignity have launched their fundraising campaign to provide menstrual products to women and girls in a refugee camp in Maiduguri, Nigeria.

The group of six postgraduate LSE students aim to raise £10,000 which will be used to acheive their goal of providing menstrual hygiene kits for 1400 women and girls in the Maiduguri camp.

Find out more about the campaign on the website and the GoGetFunding page.

Apply to attend the 2017 LSE-UCT July School

The fifth LSE-UCT July School will take place from 17-28 July 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa.

This innovative and prestigious two-week ‘summer school’ style programme provides the highest calibre students, graduates and professionals from across the globe with an exciting opportunity to study important social science issues relevant to Africa today across subject areas as diverse as international relations, economics, management, government, geography, law, media and social policy.

Find out how to apply for the 2017 LSE/UCT July School


Women Leaders on Global Stage: lessons for Africa

To commemorate International Women’s Day 2017, the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa gathered three notable women, Fadumo Dayib, Nemata Majeks-Walker and Joice Mujuru, at LSE on Tuesday 7 March to share their personal challenges and successes in securing political office and campaigning to increase women’s representation in government.

The following day, Dayib, Majeks-Walker and Mujuru had the opportunity to speak to an intimate audience at the UK Parliament at an event hosted by Maria Miller MP, Chair of the Women’s and Equalities Select Committee.

Watch the video of the event and discover how the event unfolded on social media with Storify


African Revolutions: From the streets to the written word

As part of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2017, the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa held an event African Revolutions: From the streets to the written word which explored the impact of the Arab Spring on the literature of the region.
Yasmine El Rashidi, Samar Samir Mezghanni and Nii Ayikwei Parkes shared personal reflections on how the popular revolutions in North Africa since 2011 continue to inspire their work and those of their colleagues.

Listen to a podcast of this event

Professor Tim Allen Gives Evidence at The Hague

Professor Tim Allen, Director of the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa and head of the Department for International Development at LSE, was the first witness of the prosecution at the ongoing trial of the former Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) leader Dominic Ongwen at the Hague on 16 and 17 January 2017.

The LRA sprung up in Uganda in the 1980s when Professor Allen, then a young academic, was living and conducting research in Uganda. In his testimony, he explained the origins of the LRA and gave some insight into how the LRA leader Joseph Kony inducted junior recruits into his army.


Nigerian Scholar and Diplomat Ibrahim Gambari visits LSE

A LSE special session with Professor Ibrahim Gambari was hosted by the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa on 12 December 2016.

Professor Gambari, who has had a distinguished career with the United Nations, discussed the relationship between Africa and the UN, tackling various aspects including the outlining of an agenda for peace, security and human rights.

This interactive session also opened up a discussion about the implications for Africa of the increasing wave of nativism and protectionism in Western societies, while stressing the importance of African leaders taking action so as to generate responses from the UN.

D4Dignity wins PfAL Projects Competition

In the 2016 Michaelmas Term, students in the Programme for African Leadership (PfAL) worked in groups to create campaigns that addressed political, economic and social issues in Africa.

Campaigns covered a wide range of topics, including mental health awareness in Tanzania; increasing the distribution of children’s books in indigenous languages/content; and getting people to get involved with their local food assistance programme, to name a few.

Each of the 10 groups gave a presentation to a panel of judges, who selected four groups to continue on to the final stage: a vote from the PfAL cohort on Wednesday 7 December 2016.

After four outstanding presentations and a very close race, the cohort voted for the group D4Dignity, which proposed a fundraising campaign to provide menstrual silicone cups to women and girls in the refugee camp in Maidiguri, Nigeria.
D4Dignity not only won the first place prize, they will receive funding to execute their campaign.

Keep your eyes peeled to find out how ‘one cup can save someone’s life’!

Professor Bandiera elected as Fellow of the Econometrics Society 

Congratulations to Professor Oriana Bandiera who has been elected as Fellow of the Econometrics Society.

Professor Bandiera is Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics and Director of STICERD. Alongside these roles, she also co-directs the State Capabilities programme at the International Growth Centre.

The Econometric Society is an international society for the advancement of economic theory in its relation to statistics and mathematics

Deborah James wins the inaugural Fage & Oliver prize

Congratulations to Professor Deborah James of the LSE's Department of Anthropology who has been named as one of the winners of the inaugural Fage & Oliver prize.

The prize has been established in honour of the two founders of African Studies in the UK, John Donnelly Fage and Roland Oliver and was awarded for a book published in 2014 or 2015.

Professor James received the award for her book Money from Nothing: indebtedness and aspiration in South Africa.

Read a review of this book.

Catherine Boone wins 2016 Luebbert Book Award for Property and Political Order in Africa

Congratulations to Professor Catherine Boone of the Departments of Government and International Development who has received  the American Political Science Association’s prestigious Gregory Luebbert Book Award for the best book in Comparative Politics published in the last two years.

The book has been widely acclaimed, also winning APSA’s African Politics Conference Group Best Book Award 2014, receiving an Honourable Mention for the African Studies Association’s 2015 Herskovits Best Book Award, and gaining praise from experts in the field.

Read an interview in which Professor Boone discusses Property and Political Order in Africa.

PfAL students visit the UK Houses of Parliament

Lord Paul Boateng hosted a group of Programme for African Leadership (PfAL) students on Monday 10 October 2016 at the Houses of Parliament. After a tour, the students engaged in a lively conversation with the former Cabinet Minister and British Ambassdor to South Africa, discussing a number of issues including the importance of having a young generation of emerging African leaders.

LSE Director Julia Black, Firoz Lalji and Tim Allen celebrate landmark gift in London

A special dinner was held in London to mark the establishment of the Firoz Lalji Centre of Africa and the gift by LSE alumnus Firoz Lalji. The LSE Director Professor Julia Black and the Director of the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa Professor Tim Allen were among the attendees celebrating the generous £13 million gift from the long-term LSE supporter.