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Southern Africa and the Challenge of the Congo, 27 June

Centre for Civil Society Seminar: Southern Africa and the Challenge of the Congo
Speaker: Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja
Date: Thursday 27 June, 2013
Time: 12:30-14:00
Venue: CCS Seminar Room, 602, 6th Floor, MTB Tower, Howard College

Except for the relative stability of the 1980s, Congo-Kinshasa has gone from crisis to crisis since its independence in 1960, to become "the sick man of Africa." Two of the largest peacekeeping operations in the history of the United Nations have taken place there, between 1960 and 1964, and since 1999. An inter-African war for the resources of the Congo involving eight to ten countries took place between 1998 and 2003, and now an Intervention Brigade by three SADC countries (South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi) is being assembled to re-establish peace and security in Eastern Congo, by suppressing armed militias that have been looting the country's natural resources, raping women and girls, and maintaining a reign of terror over innocent civilians. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a failed state. The roots of this failure lie deep in its history, and include the brutal exploitative regime of King Leopold II, the counter-revolution against African liberation by mining companies, white settlers and their anti-communist backers in the West, and the new neoliberal partnership between imperialism and African leaders. Is Southern Africa capable of dealing successfully with the challenge of the Congo? Given the predatory roles of many neighbouring state and corporate elites, what role for civil society solidarity?

Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja is Professor of African Studies in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and past president of the African Studies Association (ASA) of the United States. He has also served in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as senior adviser for governance to the Federal Government of Nigeria, as director of the Oslo Governance Centre in Oslo, Norway, and as facilitator for establishing the African Governance Institute (AGI), an independent pan-African think tank based in Dakar, Senegal. He has published extensively on African politics. His major work, The Congo from Leopold to Kabila: A People's History, won the 2004 Best Book Award of the African Politics Conference Group (APCG), an organization of American political scientists specializing on Africa.


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