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Expert on Africa Presents Senior Fellows Talk

The big story of the 21st century will be Africa, according to international policy expert Kate Almquist Knopf, who spoke Feb. 6 as part of the Senior Fellows Speaker Series at UCLA Luskin. “If we look at demographic growth rates, Africa’s population is projected to more than double between now and 2050, when 25 percent — a quarter of the world’s population — will be African,” she said. Knopf works for the U.S. Department of Defense as the director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, which aims to be an objective source of strategic analysis on issues in Africa. The audience for her presentation, which was co-hosted by Global Public Affairs, included local civic and business professionals who serve as mentors for UCLA Luskin students as part of the Senior Fellows Leadership program. The talk focused not only on demography but also on issues related to climate, economics, governance and security. Knopf cited statistics that show how issues such as poverty and authoritarianism contribute to violence and humanitarian crises in African countries such as South Sudan. “The violent conflict that we are seeing — and the violent extremism — I think portends the possibility of quite significant state collapse on the continent,” Knopf said. Some encouraging signs are evident, however. Because the youth of the continent are increasingly making their voices heard, “all is not lost,” she said. “It’s really fragile change at this point … but the great hope is that the youth across the continent want governments that work … and they are out there fighting for it — nonviolently, peacefully — and making a difference in big, profound ways.”

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Africa Expert Gives Sr. Fellows Talk