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Breakout Dinners


Breakout Dinner: Is Development Aid to Africa Effective? (In French)

Some studies claim that development aid has only increased inequality, corruption, dependency and hurt competitiveness. Others argue that poverty would have been much greater without this international assistance and many countries would have grown more slowly without aid.   

• Does foreign aid accelerate or retard economic growth in Africa? 
• Do the poorest people benefit from this aid? 
• What are the most effective channels for delivering aid? And how can we make aid more effective in Africa?
• What is more important, money or policy advice?
• Is Africa now in a position to be an agent of its own progress?

Breakout Dinner: How Can Africa Adapt to Climate Change?

Important progress in achieving economic growth and development is likely to be slowed down or reversed by climate change. New threats are emerging on water and food security, agricultural production and public health. The far-ranging adverse impacts of climate change require resilient strategies that focus on adaptation and mitigation (reducing CO2 emissions). 

• How big a threat is climate change to Africa? What could be the implications of maladaptation? 
• What are the main ways that Africa can adapt?
• How can adaptation strategies help improve food, water and energy security?

Breakout Dinner: One Billion Youth by 2050 in Africa: The Implications

The African continent’s youth population is estimated to reach 1 Billion by 2050. Furthermore, projections indicate that by 2050, close to 40% of global births will be in Africa. This is potentially a huge opportunity for Africa and the world but also, if the youth do not find good jobs, a huge problem. 

• What are the implications for Africa and the world of the demographic tsunami?
• What policies in Africa to deal with the youth bulge should be considered of highest priority?
• What policies should be pursued in the migration sphere? 

Breakout Dinner: Migration: A Threat or an Opportunity for Europe?

Migration, both voluntary and forced, is an increasingly controversial phenomenon in Europe. Though many realize they need migration for economic reasons, concerns about identity, social cohesion, security – not to mention xenophobia and racism -  are prompting draconian measures to restrict it. Migration is sometimes seen as a major cause of the recent wave of nationalist and nativist political movements. 

• Does Europe need migration?
• Are concerns about identity and social cohesion justified? Does migration undermine security?
• Is migration the cause for the rise of the far-right movements?
• What can be done?

Breakout Dinner: How can African Academia, Media and Civil Society shape the Narrative of Africa?

The world’s perception of Africa is shaped disproportionately by the international media, which reflects predominantly a Western viewpoint of Africa. This often paints a negative picture of a continent which is undergoing profound change, and often in a good direction. Africans are increasingly educated and access to all the modern means of communication is now widespread. 

• Is the dominance of Western media in portraying Africa a problem?
• Does it, for example, deter investment?
• What would a realistic portrayal of Africa look like today?
• Is there a bigger role for African Academics and CSOs in conveying the reality of Africa? What is the role of African media?

Breakout Dinner: Can Africa Capitalize on its Natural Resources?

African countries are endowed with an abundance of renewable and non-renewable natural resources. The continent accounts for only about 2% of world GDP but about 7% of natural gas reserves, 7% of oil, 20% of land area, 9% of renewable water resources and 17% of forests. Natural resources are often described as a curse by economists, but it is a curse that many would like to have. Properly managed, the opportunities natural resources can afford are big, including the possibility of transforming them into higher value-added products. 

• Are Africa’s natural resources a curse or a blessing?
• How can the governance of natural resources be improved? 
• Is local transformation of resources achievable?
• How can the continent manage natural resource revenues to maximize its economic and social benefits in the long-run?

Breakout Dinner: Dealing with Transnational Crime and Violent Extremism

Crime, terrorism and extremism constitute a significant threat to Transatlantic security. Identifying and dealing with these threats requires collaboration across the Atlantic, as well as improved understanding of how American and European policies affect this space. 

• What are the threats? How serious are they?
• What is the state of the current Transatlantic security cooperation? What is the role of the NATO in this shifting environment? 
• Should new actors be included in the Transatlantic security dialogue?
• How can the southern Atlantic states play a constructive role in intelligence and enforcement?

Breakout Dinner: The Prospects for “Trumpism”

Trump’s nationalist and conservative agenda is not an isolated phenomenon. Trump is not simply an opportunistic showman but the expression of a fairly coherent right-wing agenda that finds resonance across the world. Trumpism is unlikely to end with Trump.

• What constitutes Trumpism?
• Is Trumpism a global movement or a temporary aberration?
• What risks does it entail? Is there a silver lining of Trumpism? 
• Will Trumpism succeed?

Breakout Dinner: Governance Imperatives for Doing Business in Sub Saharan Africa

Africa is regarded a high-risk environment for trade and investment. The risk perceptions may be exaggerated. Many African nations have succeeded in creating a more conducive environment for business and investment. The investment opportunities are considerable, especially in infrastructure, natural resources, and consumer goods. Foreign investors remain timid. 

• Are risk perceptions in Africa exaggerated? 
• How can potential investors be helped to see the opportunity?
• What strategies and mechanisms exist to limit risks? 
• Can public-private partnerships help?
• What governance reforms are most pressing? 

Breakout Dinner: Conflict resolution of African maritime borders?

Maritime resources can be as important as resources on land. But maritime borders are less well defined than land borders, and jurisdiction over them is complex and becoming more so. African nations are entering in numerous agreements designed to clarify maritime borders and to deal with border issues. However, of the 100 or so maritime boundaries identified in Africa, only 32 are thought to be resolved or uncontested.  

• Why is it important to define maritime boundaries? 
• How near is Africa to dealing with these issues and how does it compare to other developing and advanced regions? 
• What international mechanisms exist that can help clarify maritime borders, and which are likely to be of greatest help to Africa? 

Breakout Dinner: Counter-extremism: Preventive Tools and Modalities for Rehabilitations

In spite of all efforts engaged by international community in facing terrorism threats, violent extremism doctrines remain resilient. Efforts in field are facing today serious challenges on how to deal with both (i) implementing efficient approaches in protecting the society and to immunize potential candidates and (ii) disengaging violent extremists.

• What are the concrete steps to follow for the engineering of efficient tools to prevent against violent extremism?
• How to limit the flow of candidates?
• What are the good conducts to adopt for an inclusive approach in rehabilitation? But after all, is it possible to anticipate the violent extremism threats?
• How can we learn from recent experiences?