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The topic of the inaugural event of this year's Africa Week is intended to open the door to interrogation of what Africa’s agency is all about, outside the tight intellectual prism in which it is currently held. It will also discuss how the opportunity of the UN Summit of the future might be seized to reframe African agency.

The event is co-hosted by the Kenyan High Commission in London and the African Leadership Centre at King's.

  • Welcome note: Dr Eka Ikpe, Director of the African Leadership Centre;
  • Opening keynotes: HE Ambassador Manoa Esipisu, EBS, the High Commissioner of Kenya to the UK, and Professor ‘Funmi Olonisakin, Vice-President International, Engagement and Service at King’s;

    Responses to the keynote: 
    • Ambassador Macenje Mazoka, H.E The High Commissioner for the Republic of Zambia;

    • Ambassador Linda Scott, H.E The High Commissioner of the Republic of Namibia (TBC);

    • Shuvai Busuman Nyoni, Executive Director of the African Leadership Centre, Nairobi, Kenya;
    • Professor Youssef Mahmoud, Visiting Professor at the African Leadership Centre;
    • Dr John Kayode Fayemi, Visiting Professor at the African Leadership Centre.

The keynotes and panellists will open a debate by critically discussing how Africa’s agency can be reconsidered, what it will take to deploy this agency in the bid to redefine and establish Africa’s place in the world as a pillar of global action.

This is a hybrid event; participants can register to attend in-person or online. To join the webinar online, please use the following link:

This event is part of the African Leadership Centre's Africa Week 2024 celebrations taking place 4-8 March 2024.


HE Ambassador Manoah Esipisu, EBS

Amb. Manoah Esipisu EBS is the High Commissioner Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kenya to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization. He is also Kenya's chief diplomat to the Commonwealth intergovernmental family of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Commonwealth Foundation and the Commonwealth of Learning.

As Kenya's top diplomat in the UK, he leads a team dedicated to strengthening bilateral relations around the key pillars of security and defence; mutual prosperity encompassing trade, investment, climate change; Sustainable Development; People-to-people relations covering tourism, health and social care, education and Diaspora Affairs.

Amb. Esipisu has overseen a significant upturn of Kenya’s fortunates to become the go-to country in sub-Saharan Africa and a significant player in UK-based intergovernmental communities. Prior to his current role Amb. Esipisu served as Head of Communications and Spokesperson to the President, leading a team of nearly 100 professionals responsible for Presidency and government communications.

Amb. Esipisu, one of Kenya’s best known media public figures, has had a long and distinguished career first as a journalist, journalism trainer and mentor, before growing into an astute Communications and Public Affairs personality and diplomat as an international public servant. He also served as special Assistant to the President of the African Development Bank.

Amb. Esipisu started his public life with the Standard Group, where he worked before joining the global news and information group Reuters, covering the African continent and working in bureaus in Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa interacting with African financial and political figures.

As a Commonwealth Deputy Spokesperson he worked directly with Presidents or Prime Ministers, to successfully deliver the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings in Uganda, Trinidad and Tobago, and Australia; and with former leaders on Commonwealth Observer Groups at a numbers of general elections.

Throughout his career, Mr. Esipisu has been a formidable mentor of journalists and public servants on the African continent and beyond and is credited with the training of some of Kenya's best known business journalists.

Having travelled to more than 80 countries in his various roles, Mr. Esipisu is an acquaintance of many African and global leaders and has leveraged this to lift the image of Kenya and its leadership throughout the continent and the world.

Amb. Esipisu is a frequent speaker on global issues and the author of “Eyes of Democracy: the media in elections”, which chronicles the experiences of journalists and observers in covering elections. In 2022, Kenyan President HE Dr William Ruto CGH bestowed on Amb Esipisu the civilian honour of Elder of the Order of the Burning Spear EBS for his distinguished services to Public Affairs and Diplomacy.

Professor 'Funmi Olonisakin, FKC

Professor ’Funmi Olonisakin is Vice-President International, Engagement and Service (IES) at King’s College London. She is also Professor of Security, Leadership and Development at the African Leadership Centre in the School of Global Affairs at King’s. In her role as Vice-President IES, Professor Olonisakin seeks to facilitate the deployment of King’s assets (including knowledge, scholarship and talent in service of society) locally, nationally and internationally, to enable transformative and lasting impact. She is committed to building inter-disciplinary and intersectoral collaboration, and sustaining equitable partnerships to realise positive and lasting impact within and beyond King’s.

Producing knowledge that influences change beyond the academy has been at the heart of Professor Olonisakin’s research work and life as an academic. She has positioned her work to serve as a bridge between academia and the worlds of policy and practice. Her research has been shaped by her interest in deepening understanding of why civil wars relapse, and the drivers of youth vulnerability and exclusion in the developing world. More recently, she has sought to explore the interface between leadership, peace, and security as a basis to unpack and understand the big transnational problems that confront the world today. She has led a number of major research projects including most recently on “future peace, society and the state in Africa”, supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Professor Olonisakin founded the African Leadership Centre (ALC) both at King’s and in Kenya, as a collaboration between King’s and the University of Nairobi in 2010. The ALC aims to develop a new community of leaders generating cutting edge-knowledge for peace, security and development in Africa. Professor Olonisakin has focused on inclusive postgraduate research training at the ALC, combining field-building with community-building while working with inter-generational research teams to translate knowledge generated into multiple forms of collaborative engagement regionally in Africa, and globally.

Previously, Professor Olonisakin worked in the United Nations Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in New York, between 1999 and 2003. From 2003 until 2013, she was Director of the Conflict Security and Development Group at King’s College London.

In January 2015, United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, appointed Professor Olonisakin as one of seven members of the Advisory Group of Experts (AGE) on the Review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture; and in 2016, as a member of the Advisory Group of Experts for the United Nations Progress Study on Youth, Peace, and Security. In 2018, she was appointed to the Council of the United Nations University, on which she currently serves as Chair. She was awarded the Fellowship of King’s College in 2020.

University of Pretoria (UP), where she was appointed as an Extra-Ordinary Professor in 2016, conferred the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (honoris causa) on Professor Olonisakin in May 2022 in recognition of her significant contributions to the promotion of peace, security, justice, and international solidarity in Africa, with special reference to women and youth.

Professor Olonisakin was educated at the University of Ife, Nigeria (now Obafemi Awolowo University) and King’s College London, graduating with a BSc. Honours in Political Science (Ife, 1984) and MSc and PhD in War Studies (King’s 1996) respectively. She was a post-doctoral Fellow at the Department of Political Sciences in UP in 1998, and was awarded a McArthur Foundation post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of War Studies from 1998-1999.

Dr Eka Ikpe

Eka is Director and Reader (Development Economics in Africa) at the African Leadership Centre at King's. Her research offers a critical understanding of socio-economic transformation processes which advances concept-building that centres spaces in Africa and parts of the Global South across the fields of economic development and peace and security. Current themes of interest include, developmentalism, industrial development and structural transformation, peacebuilding, post-conflict reconstruction and the economic costs of conflict and creative economies.

Dr John Kayode Fayemi

John was appointed Visiting Professor at the African Leadership Centre in 2023. He received his doctorate degree from the Department of War Studies at King’s College London in 1994, specialising in civil-military relations after receiving degrees in History, Politics and International Relations from the Universities of Lagos and Ife, Nigeria. His research and policy interests include democratisation, constitutionalism, security sector governance, and regionalism in the global. He was technical expert to ECOWAS on small arms and light weapons and to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa on governance issues.

John completed his second term as Governor of Ekiti State in Southwest Nigeria in October 2022. He was also the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors' Forum (NGF) and President of the Forum of Règions of Africa. He was Nigeria’s Minister of Mines and Steel Development in the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari between 2015 and 2018.

Professor Youssef Mahmoud

Youssef was appointed as Visiting Professor at the African Leadership Centre in 2015. He is a leading practitioner on the Centre's Practice of Leadership programme. He is Senior Adviser at the International Peace Institute (IPI), supporting the sustainable development and peace operation programmes and serving as focal point on mediation and prevention policies and practices.

Youssef is a former UN Under-Secretary-General and has headed peace operations in Burundi, the Central African Republic and Chad. Prior to these assignments, he held other senior United Nations positions, notably as UN Resident Coordinator in Guyana, Director in the UN Department of Political Affairs, and Head of the Office of the Undersecretary-Secretary General for Political Affairs. In 2015, he served as member of the UN Secretary-General High Level Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) and simultaneously as a member of the High-Level Advisory Group for the Global Study on Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.

Shuvai Busuman Nyoni

Shuvai is the Executive Director of the African Leadership Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. She is also a Gender, Peace and Security researcher and practitioner. Prior to joining the Centre, Shuvai worked as the Director of Interventions and before that, as Regional Advocacy Specialist for the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) in Johannesburg, South Africa.

She has worked extensively with a range of regional and national policy makers, civil society actors and academics in post-conflict and transitional countries on the African continent. Shuvai has also served as a gender advisor and investigator for sexual and gender based violence as crimes in conflict in several Commissions of Inquiry including the Obasanjo led African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan and the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan.

HE Ambassador Macenje Mazoka

HE Macenje “Che Che” Mazoka has over 30 years’ experience in the communications sector in the areas of business development, executive leadership, strategy, partnerships, technical, education and on-air presenting. Her professional experience also encompasses strategic business negotiations, social justice/advocacy, NGO support, board leadership, team management and fundraising.

Prior to her diplomatic appointment, Mazoka managed Regional Communications and Stakeholder Relations for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) after having launched and led the Corporations Funding and Partnerships Department. Coupled with operational experience, Mazoka’s contribution to the SABC also extended to policy development and securing strategic business partnerships, both financial and otherwise.

Mazoka started her media career at the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) before moving to the USA where she worked for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) at affiliates in both Washington DC and New York City. Mazoka also served as a lecturer for 8 years teaching graduate courses in Media Literacy and Media Ethics.

In addition to media experience, Mazoka has served on numerous industry bodies, NGOs and boards across the globe to share, shape and keep abreast of trends and advise on policy enhancement related to communications, business operations and/or partnership development. Recent affiliations include the South African Audio Visual Forum (SAAVF), the African Tourism Board (ATB), and Develop Zambia Forum (DZF) to name a few.

Mazoka holds a BA degree in Broadcast Journalism from Howard University in Washington DC, a Masters in Media Management from The New School University in New York City and an Executive Management Development Programme Certificate from the University of Stellenbosch Business School in Cape Town, South Africa.

At this event

'Funmi  Olonisakin

Vice President (International, Engagement & Service)

Eka  Ikpe

Director, African Leadership Centre

Youssef Mahmoud

Visiting Professor

John Kayode Fayemi

Visiting Professor at the African Leadership Centre

ALC Nairobi staff

Event details

8th Floor
Bush House
Strand campus, 30 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4BG