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Africa's Long March to 2063: Bradford lecture offers insight into continent’s future



Africa’s past, present and future will form the basis of the first Annual Lecture of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence on Wednesday March 29.

Delivering that lecture will be Ambassador Roeland van de Geer, a former staff member of the Free University of Amsterdam, the Dutch Foreign Ministry, and the European Union. 

He is attached to a range of African and European organisations, including think tanks, universities, and non-governmental organisations, working in the fields of governance, mediation, investment in sustainable development and conservation and community development.

Staff and students are invited to attend the First Annual Lecture of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, at the University of Bradford. The lecture will take place in the JSB Lecture Theatre, Richmond D4, from 2pm to 4pm - select this link to book your place.

Amb Roeland van der Geer

Amb. van der Geer, pictured above, said: "As a member of the Advisory Committee of Bradford's Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, I am delighted to respond to this invitation and deliver its first Annual Lecture." He added: “Together, Africa and Europe should be ambitious, be as united as possible and ready to cooperate, but above all willing to strengthen their relationship by reinforcing mutual trust while accepting differences in outlook and approach." 

Jean-Marc Trouille, who is Jean Monnet Professor and Director of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, launched in Bradford last year, said: “ Bradford is one of the European universities who have fully understood the speed of change on our neighbouring continent south of the Mediterranean. It is the aim of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, in cooperation with JEFCAS, to provide a forum to all interested in the future of Africa and promote cooperation between our two continents." Jean-Marc added: "Amb. Roeland van de Geer has dedicated his life to enhancing African-European cooperation. He is one of the best ambassadors of Africa in Europe."

The Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence exists to study regional integration in Africa, with a focus on East African integration, in a comparative perspective with Europe. 

Subject of the talk

On 25 May 1963, Africa united to create in Addis Ababa the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). Fifty years later, in 2013, its successor, the African Union (AU) presented Vision 2063, intended to lead the way towards an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa. 

The year 2023: 60 years on, 40 years to go. All over the world, also at the University of Bradford, the next generation of African leaders is preparing itself to guide the continent on its long march to attain the objectives laid down in Vision 2063. This new generation of African leaders will need to take a critical look at what has been achieved over the past six decades and which priorities will need to be set over the next four decades. 

This First Annual Lecture opens with a review of Sub Sahara Africa’s current main challenges in the political, social, economic and security fields. It will be argued that over the past 60 years, nation building, economic and social development, Africa’s place in the global system and in international economic relations and, increasingly, security considerations have dominated Sub Sahara’s political agenda at the national, regional and continental levels.

The presentation will provide an overview of what has been achieved in these 60 years and then assess where there is a need for enhanced and united action.

Finally, it will be underlined that African leaders both present and future - will need to build the capacity to continuously monitor, evaluate and adapt national, regional and continental policies - and their implementation - in order to achieve the best possible progress.