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September 12, 2018

MARK THE DATE: Open Forum – UNGA 73, The UN and Global Powers in Africa at Wits University, 16 October 2018

The Africa-China Reporting Project, the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa, and the African Centre for the Study of the United States at the University of the Witwatersrand invite you to:

Open Forum: UNGA 73 – The UN and Global Powers in Africa

Tuesday 16 October 2018, 09:00 – 13:00
Senate Room, Solomon Mahlangu House, Second floor
University of the Witwatersrand, Braamfontein East Campus

To attend please RSVP to Bongiwe Tutu at

Beginning on 18 September 2018, the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 73) will commence at the United Nations (UN) in New York. Deliberations and resolutions at the UNGA 73 are of great interest to Africa in view of the large footprint the global governing body has on the socio-economic development of the continent. Because of a wide range of challenges, some of them existential, Africa has come to rely on the UN and its agencies as an ameliorative factor. While the UN has risen to occasion in addressing challenges ranging from peace and security, the spectre of hunger, the impact of climate change and general impoverishment, among others, the global body has also been criticised for sins of omission and commission.

Against the background of UNGA 73, centres and projects dedicated to area studies at Wits University are coming together to convene a forum on the UN from an essentially African perspective. The entities, the Africa-China Reporting Project (ACRP), the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (CISA), and the African Centre for the Study of the United States (ACSUS), bring on board African interests in the UN from their specialised geopolitical and disciplinary areas of interest and practice. Moreover India, China and the United States are pivotal players not just in the UN but also in Africa.

The objectives of the Open Forum include an assessment of the positions taken by China, India and the United States on any number of issues in the past but with sharper focus on UNGA 73. A key question is whether the interests of these global powers are in agreement with or diverge from Africa’s interests. Going beyond the global powers, the Open Forum will discuss Africa’s fortunes in the apex UN agency, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). This is a timely topic because South Africa has been elected to serve in the UNSC for the term 2019-2020 as a non-permanent member. Will South Africa’s interests coalesce with those of Africa?

The Open Forum will also discuss the potential for partnership between global powers and Africa in the pursuit of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union’s Agenda 2063. The Open Forum comes at a time when the world is mourning the passing of Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary General eulogised as “a man of peace”. The Open Forum will however go beyond celebration of Annan to critically examine the performance of the UN under his watch.

Here is a full preliminary programme for the event as well as details on the venue and directions (or download full document as PDF):

To attend please RSVP to Bongiwe Tutu at

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