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COVID-19 in Africa: leadership, inequality and resilience

Hosted by The Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa and the Institute of Global Affairs



Dr. Agnes Binagwaho

Dr. Agnes Binagwaho

Pediatrician and Vice Chancellor, University of Global Health Equity

Dr. David Luke

Dr. David Luke

Coordinator, African Trade Policy Centre at UNECA

Professor Leonard Wantchekon

Professor Leonard Wantchekon

President and Founder, African School of Economics


Professor Alcinda Honwana

Professor Alcinda Honwana

Strategic Director, Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa

It is simply too soon to understand the full impact of COVID-19 on the region of Africa, as it is impacting countries with varying levels of strength and vulnerabilities differently. With great uncertainty remaining around the effects of the pandemic in areas beyond health, the need for effective and trusted leadership is imperative. In partnership with the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa, this session aims to discuss actions varying African countries have already taken in response to the global pandemic and what is still needed from leaders, especially the next generation of leaders, to ensure the resilience of individual countries and the continent as a whole amid COVID-19.

Dr. Agnes Binagwaho (@agnesbinagwaho) is the Vice -Chancellor of the University of Global Health Equity. She co-founded the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE) as an initiative of Partners In Health. Professor Binagwaho currently serves as a Senior Advisor to the Director General of the World Health Organization, and as a member of multiple Advisory Board and Board of Directors including the Rockefeller Foundation Board. She is a member of a number of international working groups and task forces in global health for the United Nations and independent organizations and also sits on the Editorial Board of several scientific journals and serves on multiple scientific commissions.

Dr. David Luke (@DavidLukeTrade) is Coordinator of the African Trade Policy Centre at the UN Economic Commission for Africa with the rank of a director at the Commission. He is responsible for leading ECA’s research, policy advisory services, training and capacity development on inclusive trade policies and in particular the boosting intra-African trade and the continental free trade area initiatives. His portfolio also includes WTO, EPAs, Brexit, AGOA, Africa’s trade with emerging economies, and trade and cross-cutting policy areas such as trade, industrialization and structural transformation, trade and gender, trade and public health and trade and climate change.

Professor Leonard Wantchekon is the Founder and President of the African School of Economics. Prior to joining Princeton University, he was on the faculty of New York University (2001-2011), and Yale University (1995-2001). Professor Wantchekon is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He served as the Secretary of the American Political Science Association (2008-2009) and on the Ibrahim Index Technical Committee (2009-2013).  He is also a core partner director at the Afrobarometer Network. Most recently, he joined the Executive Committee of the International Economic Association. His research is broadly focused on Political and Economic Development, particularly in Africa. His specific interests include topics such as democratization, clientelism and redistributive politics, resource curse, and the long-term social impact of historical events. 

Professor Alcinda Honwana has been an Inter-regional Adviser on social development policy at the United Nations and a Program Director at the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) in New York. She taught anthropology at the New School of Social Research in New York and at the University of Cape Town. Alcinda has carried out extensive research on political conflict and politics of culture, the impact of war on children, youth and women, as well as on youth politics, social movements and political protest. Her most recent books include Youth and Revolution in Tunisia (2013) and The Time of Youth: Work, Social Change and Politics in Africa (2012). 

Awele Ajufo is the Student Leader for this geographic session. She is currently completing her Masters in Public Administration at LSE.

The Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa (FLCA) focuses on engagement with Africa through cutting-edge research, teaching and public events, strengthening LSE’s long-term commitment to placing Africa at the heart of understandings and debates on global issues.

The Institute of Global Affairs (@LSEIGA) aims to maximise the impact of LSE's leading expertise across the social sciences by shaping inclusive and locally-rooted responses to the most important and pressing global challenges.

This event is part of the Maryam Forum Launch: "From Rulership to Leadership: Early Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic".

View the full programme here.

The Maryam Forum is a new multi-year platform aiming to encourage the shift towards evidence-informed, transparent, accountable and inclusive leadership. Introduced on the global stage in Davos during the World Economic Forum (WEF) in January 2020, Maryam Forum is a collaboration between policy makers, academics, business leaders and media that engages the LSE across departments and disciplines. Together with our students – the leaders of tomorrow – we will convene Maryam Co-Labs, leading up to our first annual Global Conference in December. From climate change, health crises and other global emergencies, to industrial policy, populism and migration, these year-round working groups will tackle the most urgent challenges of our time - providing opportunities to exchange expertise and shape solutions, and unlocking the potential for inclusive and sustainable leadership across all regions of the world.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEMaryamForum

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