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The ARC Insider
A podcast series of Africa-focused conversations.
Aug 1, 2023
Finding the energy to be Green? We speak to one of the most dynamic women on South Africa’s renewable energy scene - Zanele Mbatha CEO of Bambini Energy. The ARC Insider No 49
Finding the energy to be Green? Karen Allen and Tara O'Connor speak to one of the most dynamic women on South Africa’s renewable energy scene - Zanele Mbatha CEO of Bambini Energy.
Jul 3, 2023
Wagner-in- Africa: what’s next for the mercenary group in the wake of the 24 June rebellion - a new ensemble or the same tune? The ARC Insider No 48
« Wagner-in- Africa: what’s next for the mercenary group in the wake of the 24 June rebellion - a new ensemble or the same tune? We’re in conversation with CBS News’ Deborah Patta »
Jun 7, 2023
Africa tech and tech in Africa: How to make Tech Companies more accountable - could the answer lie in ”Ubuntec”? The ARC Insider No 47
Africa tech and tech in Africa: How to make Tech Companies more accountable - could the answer lie in "Ubuntec”? In conversation with guest Nanjira Sambuli explains all as well as a canter through some news stories from across the continent - including Nigerian oil and South Africa’s muddled position on international justice and human rights with Tara O Connor and Karen Allen.
May 18, 2023
Taking the shame out of chocolate - We are in conversation with the ethical chocolate maker bringing ”Gentle Farming” to Ghana. The ARC Insider No 46
Taking the shame out of chocolate - We are in conversation with the ethical chocolate maker bringing "Gentle Farming" to Ghana
Apr 28, 2023
Major gold smuggling scam linking Zimbabwe to Dubai. The ARC Insider No 45
The inside story from a lead investigator on a major gold smuggling scam linking Zimbabwe to Dubai. Karen Allen and Tara O’Connor ask is it time for a Kimberly Process - which regulates so-called "blood diamonds" for "dirty" Gold?
Mar 16, 2023
Africa’s Russian Roulette. In conversation with Samantha de Bendern where we examine what’s driving the ’Russia-Africa relationship’. The ARC Insider No 44
Africa’s Russian Roulette. In conversation with Samantha de Bendern where we examine what’s driving the 'Russia-Africa relationship'. A round-up of news and current affairs from across the region, touching on elections, energy and shades of grey in the financial markets.
Feb 20, 2023
Nigeria’s election looks set to surprise! The ARC Insider No 43
In the first episode of 2023, the ARC Insider hosts, Karen Allen and Tara O’Connor discuss the upcoming Nigeria Elections, African altruism in the face of the Turkey Syria earthquake, and rolling electricity cuts in Zambia. This episode's special guest is energy analyst Najim Animashaun.
Dec 19, 2022
The ARC Insider, Episode 42 – Humanitarianism, hostage negotiations and holding governments to account
In the 42nd episode of the ARC Insider, hosts Karen Allen and Tara O'Connor discuss the recent resignation of Eskom's CEO, Nigeria's denial of a Reuters report on a state-sponsored mass abortion programme in the northeast, and recent parole of SACP leader Chris Hani's assassin. This episode's special guest is Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of the South Africa-based charity Gift of the Givers. He has orchestrated humanitarian efforts across the globe and negotiated the release of Stephen McGowan with Al-Qaeda in Mali.
Nov 4, 2022
ARC Insider, Episode 41: Kenneth Kaunda’s lessons in leadership...
In the 41st episode of the ARC Insider, hosts Karen Allen and Tara O'Connor discuss the recent extension of Chinese premier Xi Jinping's time in office, his choice of hardline cabinet, and the likely economic fallout for Southern African economies. This episode's special guest is Mundaula Kaunda, granddaughter of the late Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda and the marketing and events officer at the Trade and Development Bank (TDB). Mundaula shares her memories of her grandfather and reflects on his positive leadership.
Oct 11, 2022
ARC Insider, Episode 40 - Taking Africa’s Pulse
The polling outfit Afrobarometer has been been taking the pulse of Africa's people for decades. Now we go behind the scenes with its CEO Joseph Asunka, in conversation with hosts Karen Allen and Tara O'Connor. Asunka shares his experience runnings polls across Africa as well as his thoughts on the myths about democracy in Africa, the ramifications of failed delivery from governments, and the importance of reforms. Karen and Tara also discuss developments in West Africa with the recent military coup in Burkina Faso, as well as the electricity crisis in South Africa and Zambia's positive economic progress.
Sep 20, 2022
The ARC Insider, Episode 39: Does the Death of Queen Elizabeth II mark the demise of the Commonwealth?
In the 39th special episode of the ARC Insider, hosts Karen Allen and Tara O'Connor meet Uganda's Joel Kibazo to discuss the end of Queen Elizabeth II's reign, its consequences for the Commonwealth and whether this club of nations is still relevant to Africa.
Aug 25, 2022
The ARC Insider, Episode 38 - Angola goes to the polls
In the 38th episode of the ARC Insider, hosts Karen Allen and Tara O'Connor discuss the results of Kenya's presidential election and implications of a legal challenge launched by opposition leader Raila Odinga as well as Angola's election, where the incumbent MPLA will defend a majority established by former president José Eduardo Dos Santos who died in July. This episode's special guest is Rashid Abdi, chief analyst for the Horn of Africa and the Gulf at Sahan Research. Mr Abdi shares his insights on the recent Kenyan election, expertly summarises developments in the ongoing Ethiopian conflict as well analysing the impact of the Russia/Ukraine conflict on domestic rhetoric in the Horn of Africa.
Aug 1, 2022
Global Africa - Talking Kenya, France and Russia
In the 37th episode of the ARC Insider, hosts Karen Allen and Tara O'Connor discuss Macron's changing priorities as he visits West Africa at the beginning of his second term, as well as the resurgence in violence in Mali, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's tour of Africa in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. This episode's special guest is Paul Ilado, head of content at Radio Africa and a veteran Kenyan journalist at the Nairobi Star, who was forced into hiding following his reporting on violence following the 2007 Kenyan election. Mr Ilado shares his insights on the recent history of Kenyan electoral politics, discusses the candidates for president ahead of the upcoming 2022 general elections, and considers whether this election marks a decrease in tribal animosity in East Africa's powerhouse.
Jun 28, 2022
The Sky Is The Limit
In the 36th episode of the ARC Insider, hosts Karen Allen and Tara O’Connor share their thoughts on recent events in Africa including the final report of the Zondo Commission and President Ramaphosa's 'farmgate' controversy in South Africa, and the upcoming Russia-Africa Summit in Ethiopia. This episode's special guest is Forsyth Black, formerly CEO of global airlines services company John Menzies Plc which owns Menzies Aviation. Mr Black discusses how the African airline industry survived covid (or not), and shares his thoughts on the 'aeropolitical' priorities of governments and state airlines.
Jun 1, 2022
In the 35th episode of the ARC Insider, hosts Karen Allen and Tara O'Connor review the latest developments in the Nigerian presidential primaries, food exports from Russia and Ukraine, Somalia's new president, and important recent cases in the world of anti-corruption. This episode's special guest is Bolanle Austen-Peters, one of the continent's most influential women who traded law for the life of lights, camera, action and is making it big internationally on screen and stage.
May 17, 2022
In the 34th episode of the ARC Insider, hosts Karen Allen and Tara O'Connor discuss the key upcoming political events in Africa including consequential elections in Nigeria and Kenya, and opposition success in Zimbabwe as the country faces an economic crisis. This episode's special guest is Simon Allison, editor-in-chief of The Continent, an award-winning pan-African weekly newspaper delivered via WhatsApp. In an insightful conversation, Allison discusses the online future of African journalism, the 'infodemic' challenge, and why he took his newspaper on to WhatsApp.
Mar 30, 2022
The ARC Insider, Episode 33: Cape Town’s bold digital ambitions
Hosts Karen Allen and Tara O'Connor discuss the reaction in Africa to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with impacts on the role of Russia in African conflicts, higher food import prices, and the changing stance of China. Recorded in Cape Town, this episode's guest is Keet Van Zyl, partner and co-founder at Knife Capital, a venture capital company. Van Zyl discusses Africa's exploding tech scene, and why Cape Town is pushing to become one of the continent's main tech hubs.
Nov 17, 2021
The ARC Insider, Episode 32: On the road with Tara and Karen - the Business of Basketball in Africa
Hosts Karen Allen and Tara O'Connor discuss breaking news from across Africa, including the death of South Africa's last apartheid-era president F.W. de Klerk, Nigeria's launch of its digital currency, and the states of emergency in Ethiopia and Sudan. This episode, Karen and Tara are joined by Victor Williams, CEO of NBA Africa, who discusses how his career in investment banking led him to basketball and the opportunity to grow the sport on the continent. Williams also provides his insights into the successes of the inaugural season of the Basketball Africa League, the NBA's first professional basketball league outside North America, and how sport can fuel Africa's economic development.
Oct 27, 2021
The ARC Insider, Episode 31: Afraid of straddling - the electric vehicle revolution in Africa
Hosts Karen Allen and Tara O’Connor discuss breaking news stories from across the continent. This week, they are joined by Shantha Bloemen, the aid worker turned tech entrepreneur. As Managing director of Mobility for Africa, Shantha discusses her roadmap for a new mobility ecosystem.
Sep 14, 2021
The ARC Insider, Episode 30: From Prisoner to President: Hakainde Hichilema and Zambia’s new dawn
As we mark The ARC Insider’s 30th episode, hosts Karen Allen and Tara O’Connor discuss breaking news stories from across Africa, including Guinea’s future post-coup and former South African president Jacob Zuma’s early prison release on medical parole. ...As Zambia celebrates peaceful transfer of power after elections, Karen and Tara are joined by Trevor Simumba, a senior trade expert and economist. Simumba shares his insights on why Africa's newest President, Hakainde Hichilema, spells a new dawn for Zambia, sharing his outlook for the economy, in particular the mining sector, and Sino-Zambia relations.
Aug 2, 2021
The ARC Insider, Episode 29: Business Plans not CVs - The battle for Small Businesses in South Africa
Karen Allen and Tara O’Connor discuss breaking news stories from across Africa. This week, they are joined by Moipone Malefane, Moipone is the former political editor of The Sowetan who recently set up Vutivi Business News - a platform serving Small Medium Micro Enterprises in the form of writing stories. Moipone gives an insight into the impact of the recent violence in South Africa on small businesses and what can be done to improve their visibility, stability and growth....
Jul 6, 2021
The ARC Insider, Episode 28: South Africa's hidden hand in powering the continent - thoughts from Moeletsi Mbeki
Karen Allen and Tara O’Connor discuss breaking news stories from across the continent including former South African President Zuma’s arrest and Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry Bill. The hosts give a very personal tribute to Zambia’s founding president Kenneth Kaunda - who died last month at the age of 97. This week, Karen and Tara are joined by Moeletsi Mbeki - Deputy Chairman of the South African Institute for International Affairs, an independent think tank based at the University of the Witwatersrand. He is a frequent political commentator on African and South African affairs. After returning to South Africa from exile in 1990, he was appointed Head of Communication for the Congress of South Africa Trade Unions (COSATU) and Media Consultant to the African National Congress. Our guest delves into South Africa’s socio-political landscape, both past, present and future and looks at the country’s hidden hand in powering the continent...
Jun 15, 2021
The ARC Insider, Episode 27: A changing of the guard, new dynamics in Franco-African relations
Karen Allen and Tara O'Connor discuss news stories from across the continent, including Nigeria’s twitter ban, South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa’s lobbying on behalf of Africa to waive patents on Covid-19 vaccines and Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s early successes. This week’s special guest is ARC's own Leonard Mbulle-Nziege. Alongside being an ARC author, Leonard is completing his PhD at UCT looking at democratisation trends in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire since the advent of multiparty politics in the early 1990s. A Cameroon national - Leonard provides expert insight on shifting Franco-African relations.
May 25, 2021
The ARC Insider, Episode 26: The Future of Africa: In conversation with Dr Jakkie Cilliers
Karen Allen and Tara O'Connor discuss stories from across the continent, including the Kazungula Bridge project… a potential game changer for transporting people and goods across Southern Africa by linking Botswana and Zambia across the Zambezi river. This week, they are joined by Dr Jakkie Cilliers – formerly an artillery officer in the South African defence forces who was instrumental in helping to transform the military after the end of apartheid. Jakkie is the founder and former Executive Director of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and he currently serves as chair of the ISS Board of Trustees and head of the African Futures and Innovation Programme at the ISS. Jakkie discusses his most recent book - The Future of Africa: Challenges and Opportunities which takes a rigorous look at the continent as a whole.
Apr 27, 2021
The ARC Insider, Episode 25: Architecture, Race and Culture: In conversation with Professor Lesley Lokko
Hosts Karen Allen and Tara O'Connor cover the latest news and analysis from across Africa. This week’s guest is Professor Lesley Lokko - an architect, academic, and best-selling novelist. She was previously the founder and director of the Graduate School of Architecture (GSA) at the University of Johannesburg. She also set up an institute to help shape African futures and has published 11 novels, with her latest book, Soul Sisters, to be published in summer 2021. Discussions focus on the distinguishing features of race and architecture and how architecture and African architects are helping to shape and imagine the continent’s future.
Mar 26, 2021
The ARC Insider, Episode 24: Regional rifts and trade partnerships - In conversation with Sonal Sejpal, one of Kenya’s most notable figures in finance and trade.
Karen and Tara discuss recent socio-political developments from across Africa, including the announcement of the death of Tanzania’s President John Magufuli and the escalating unrest in Senegal. This week, the presenters are joined by a very special guest, Sonal Sejpal - a leading figure in the world of East African finance and trade. Sonal helped to establish East Africa’s largest legal practice, Anjarwalla & Khanna Advocates. She is a staunch advocate for women in the law and now chairs the British Chamber of Commerce in Kenya. Sonal joins the episode from Nairobi and conversations include an analysis of Kenya’s economic outlook, the country’s new trade deal with the UK and gender equality in law and business.
Feb 22, 2021
The ARC Insider, Episode 23: The good guys and the bad guys - Africa’s vaccine arms-race and the lessons learnt from HIV & Aids
It's a race against time to vaccinate the continent as Covid-19 mutates. This week, Karen Allen and Tara O'Connor speak with Professor Helen Rees - an internationally renowned scientist, recognised for her work on vaccines, HIV prevention and reproductive health. Professor Rees, “a doctor activist” long before she became a “doctor scientist”, talks about the moral and economic imperative of equalising access to coronavirus vaccines.
Feb 10, 2021
The ARC Insider, Episode 22: Fist fights, oil rights and the biggest shake up in Nigeria's energy sector in a generation.
Fist fights oil rights and the biggest shake up in Nigeria's energy sector in a generation. Join Karen Allen and Tara O'Connor in conversation with Energy Analyst Najim Animashaun on why it has taken more than a decade to get new legislation in place to break up the state owned petroleum giant.
Jan 25, 2021
The ARC Insider, Episode 21: Goodbye, Mr Trump - back to the business of Africa
Karen Allen and Tara O’Connor discuss key socio-political events from across the African continent from Uganda’s election to the impact the rollout of vaccines against Covid-19 could have on African economies. This week, Karen and Tara are joined by Benjamin Haley, partner in the Johannesburg office of Covington & Burling. Ben shares his insights on the impact of the US presidential election on Africa, the African companies going global and where to draw the line on client entertaining...
Dec 23, 2020
The ARC Insider, Episode 20: Food for Thought - How Digitisation is Disrupting Food Distribution in Kenya
For the last episode of the year, Tara and Karen give a whistle-stop tour of current news stories from across Africa. This week’s guest is a dynamic man from the world of food. A former East African Coca-Cola executive voted among the top 100 business leaders in Africa by Forbes Afrique, Peter Njonjo is the founder of Twiga Foods, the Kenya business-to-business food distribution platform which is disrupting the way small store holders in cities like Nairobi access produce from farms, bypassing the middleman and using the latest digital technology to force prices down.
Dec 7, 2020
The ARC Insider, Episode 19: “Getting stuff done” in Nigeria's tech sector. In conversation with Maya Horgan Famodu, Nigeria’s award winning entrepreneur venture capitalist
This week Tara O'Connor and Karen Allen speak with Nigeria’s award winning entrepreneur venture capitalist Maya Horgan Famodu. Maya's talent spotting led to an early investment in Paystack, now the subject of a $200m buyout.
Nov 15, 2020
'Tis the season to be voting... In conversation with Todd Moss, former US Deputy Assistant Head of State for Africa
This week Karen Allen and Tara O'Connor cover elections inside and outside of Africa with a particular focus on how the US election results might impact US-Africa relations. They are joined by Todd Moss, the former US Deputy Assistant Head of State for Africa and diplomatic thriller writer.
Oct 9, 2020
The ARC Insider, Episode 17 - The science of survival
The science of survival - Epidemiologist and Philosopher Alex Broadbent makes a return visit to The Arc Insider to offer Africa's scorecard on managing the Coronavirus Pandemic. Join this and our regular canter through African current affairs in The Arc Insider 17.
Sep 14, 2020
The ARC Insider, Episode 16 - It takes two to tango - in conversation with Lord Peter Hain
This week, Tara O'Connor and Karen Allen are joined by Lord Peter Hain; they discuss corporate corruption in Africa, his involvement in the Zondo Commission and the inspiration for his latest thriller on dirty money and Rhinos - The Rhino Conspiracy.
Aug 27, 2020
The ARC Insider, Episode 15 - Greed in the time of corona and fixing the world or fixing the party
This week Karen Allen and Tara O'Connor are joined by Ferial Haffajee - one of Africa's most formidable journalists. Ferial talks about greed and corruption in the time of corona.
Aug 14, 2020
The ARC Insider, Episode 14 - Zimbabwe - Still Backsliding. Life in the time of Corona
Zimbabwe has been at the forefront of the news with the arrest of prominent journalists, figures from the world of literature and other opposition voices as the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa tries to clamp down on opposition. On this week's podcast, Karen and Tara discuss Zimbabwe’s economic and humanitarian crisis with Dewa Mavhinga. Dewa is a long time human rights advocate and Southern Africa Director with the Africa Division at Human Rights Watch.
Aug 14, 2020
The ARC Insider, Episode 13 - Behind the scenes of Queen Sono - the spy who is kicking ass in Africa’s TV industry
This week Karen Allen and Tara O'Connor have prized the producers of Queen Sono away from their script writing to join them on the ARC Insider. Tamsin Anderson and Kagiso Lediga take us behind the scenes of the spy series that has taken the continent by storm.
Jul 15, 2020
The ARC Insider, Episode 12 - The "uberisation" of business in Africa
Karen Allen and Tara O’Connor discuss key business and political updates from across Africa. This week they speak to Yanesh Naidoo on how tech can create jobs in the sachet economy. Yanesh is Jendamark Automation’s director of digital strategy, selling African-designed, tech-driven production facilities to the global automotive sector.
Jul 2, 2020
The ARC Insider, Episode 11 - Trouble in Paradise
This week Karen Allen and Tara O'Connor are joined by Kevin Teeroovengadum. Kevin is the founder of PropTech and currently serves on numerous boards of companies in Mauritius. Discussions cover recent troubles in Mauritius, including the decision by the European Commission to add the Indian Ocean island to its "high-risk" list of countries because of inadequate money laundering controls.
Jun 19, 2020
The ARC Insider, Episode 10 - Life after Corruption busting - in conversation with South Africa's Thuli Madonsela
This week on the ARC Insider, Karen Allen and Tara O'Connor are joined by Professor Thuli Madonsela - the former Public Protector of South Africa and current Chair of Social Justice in the Law Faculty of Stellenbosch University.
Jun 3, 2020
The ARC Insider, Episode 9 - Making sense of the African car market in the Covid 19 era.
Making sense of the African car market in the Covid 19 era - the unique obstacles to going green in the future. This week on the ARC Insider, Karen Allen and Tara O'Connor are joined by Kia South Africa's Managing Director, Gary Scott.
May 26, 2020
The ARC Insider, Episode 8 - Coffee, Vultures and Wind farms
Coffee, Vultures and Wind farms - Private Equity in Africa in times of economic uncertainty in the Covid 19 era. This week, Karen Allen and ARC's Tara O'Connor are joined by Michael Turner - Managing Director of Actis, the global emerging markets investment firm.
May 13, 2020
The ARC Insider, Episode 7 - Is there a place for satire in the midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic?
This week Tara O'Connor and Karen Allen speak to Kenyan political cartoonist Patrick Gathara about lockdowns, payouts and Madagascan "Muti" or Medicine.
May 6, 2020
The ARC Insider, Episode 6 - Ambiverts, Virtual Trade Missions and Crisis Response
Today's podcast focuses on how the world is responding to the coronavirus pandemic and what it means for UK-Africa trade. This week's special guest is Emma Wade-Smith - the UK's trade commissioner for Africa.
Apr 28, 2020
The ARC Insider, Episode 5 - Conversations with a Former anti-Corruption Tsar - Corona virus, Corruption and Hair
Karen Allen and Tara O'Connor chat to Kenya's former anti-corruption tsar and human rights advocate John Githongo about the coronavirus in Africa, tough states, corruption and hair.
Apr 22, 2020
The ARC Insider, Episode 4 - African tech - lessons for the Covid 19 response
This week Tara O'Connor and Karen Allen look back on the news on the continent from the past 7 days and discuss the different COVID-19 responses. They are joined by guest speaker Abel Ekele from Trivoda, a Nigeria based tech company using bluetooth technology to trace COVID-19 cases.
Apr 14, 2020
The ARC Insider, Episode 3 - Moving Stuff Around in the Sachet Economy
Karen Allen and Tara O’Connor discuss the ongoing response of governments and businesses across Africa to the coronavirus COVID-19. This week’s special guest is Oghenetega Iortim, founder of gricd, a Nigeria based logistics company that specialises in transporting cold storage items -health products and food stuffs - around Nigeria.
Apr 8, 2020
The ARC Insider, Episode 2 - In conversation with Professor Alex Broadbent
Karen Allen and Tara O’Connor discuss how countries across the continent are curtailing the spread of the virus and the key political and security issues associated with COVID-19. This week's episode features guest speaker Professor Alex Broadbent,The Director of the Institute for the Future of Knowledge and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Johannesburg.
Mar 31, 2020
The ARC Insider - Pilot
The inaugural episode of the ARC Insider - a podcast series of Africa-focused conversations.