Africa in 2021: Covid, Climate and Democracy



4:00 pm - 6:00 pm




Donations welcome

The Royal African Society’s flagship event, delivered in partnership with the British Council and the Centre for African Studies, University of Edinburgh, to discuss and debate what 2021 holds in store for the continent


In 2020, Africa avoided the worst of COVID-19, thanks in part to quick government action and strong community health systems. Broad-based social movements like #EndSARS in Nigeria and pro-democracy campaigners in Malawi provided inspiring lessons for their international counterparts. And African writers, musicians, and innovators continued to assert themselves on the global stage.


At the same time, however, Africa faced a number of challenges which will need to be faced in 2021. The global economic fallout from the pandemic is set to hit hard, including through escalating debt problems. The threats to democratic progress from terrorism and authoritarian governments will continue. And as the climate crisis deepens, African countries will have to battle to be heard globally once again at the COP 26 conference in Glasgow.


‘Africa in 2021’ explores how African countries will handle the pandemic and its economic impact, how people are mobilising to change their political systems, how societies can respond to the climate crisis, and what creatives might have in store for the coming year.


Watch the Livestream HERE



Panel One:

  • Patrick Smith – Editor, Africa Confidential
  • Jean-Paul Adam – Director, Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources Management, UNECA
  • Nasreen Al-amin – Climate Justice Advocate and founder of Surge Africa
  • Rob Macdonald – Centre of African Studies, Edinburgh
  • Idayat Hassan – Director, Centre for Democracy and Development – West Africa

Artistic intervention:

Kyle Malanda – Malawian photographer and filmmaker

Panel Two:

  • Mohammed Abdulaziz – Medical Epidemiologist, Africa CDC, African Union
  • Professor Olayinka Olusola Omigbodun – Professor of Psychiatry, College of Medicine,

University of Ibadan

  • Geetha Tharmaratnam – CEO and Founding Partner, Aequalitas Capital Partners
  • Chiedza Madzima – Head of Operational Risk Research, Fitch Solutions
  • Kyle Malanda – Photographer & Filmmaker


Chair: Ruona J. Meyer


Image Credit: kyle Malanda – ABSENTIA, 2019 explores how the digital age is changing the ways we grieve through highlighting the artist’s deceased sister’s physical absence and immortalised digital presence.


Watch the video on Facebook