The ARC Insider

A podcast series of Africa-focused conversations, launched in March 2020.

We wanted to sit down with a broad range of trailblazers in African affairs and shine a spotlight on political, economic, social, technological and cultural news across the continent.

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About the ARC Insider Podcast

Former BBC correspondent Karen Allen and Tara O’Connor, the founder of Africa Risk Consulting, co-produce and co-host the 30-minute podcast. Both have spent most of their lives living and working across the continent and live and breathe African affairs.

The ARC Insider is the only regular podcast which provides an informed, independent analysis of frontier African markets that synthesises political risks and commercial opportunities.

Guests have included: Professor Thuli Madonsela – former Public Protector of South Africa and current Chair of Social Justice in the Law Faculty of Stellenbosch University, Emma Wade-Smith – the UK’s trade commissioner for Africa, Lord Peter Hain who held several senior cabinet posts over 12 years, now an anti-corruption champion and Kenyan political cartoonist Patrick Gathara, University of the Witwatersrand’s Professor Helen Rees and Kenya’s former anti-corruption Tsar John Githongo.

The ARC Insider has attracted a wide-ranging audience including businesspeople with existing interests on the continent, emerging African entrepreneurs, investors, travelers, students and public sector workers. To date there have been over 2000 downloads. 

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Meet our guests

Lord Hain has 12 years of senior United Kingdom (UK) cabinet and government experience including chairing the United Nations (UN) Security Council. Born in Nairobi (Kenya) and brought up in apartheid South Africa, Lord Hain was instrumental in leading Britain’s anti-apartheid movement.

Emma is Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner (HMTC) for Africa. Emma has lived and worked in South Africa since February 2016, following her appointment as the UK’s Trade Director for Southern Africa. She created, and has led, the Department for International Trade’s (DIT) pan-African regional trade team since April 2017.

John is a journalist and former correspondent for The Economist, and is widely recognised as one of the most courageous leaders in the struggle to combat corruption and improve governance in Kenya.

Professor Madonsela is a South African advocate and professor of law, holding a chair in social justice at Stellenbosch University since January 2018. She served as the Public Protector of South Africa from 19 October 2009 to 14 October 2016. In 1996, she helped draft the final constitution of South Africa promulgated by then-President Nelson Mandela.

Professor Rees is Founder and Executive Director of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute (WRHI), University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg (South Africa).She is also Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at University of Witwatersrand and Honorary Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Honorary Fellow at Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge and Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science (Medicine) from the University of London.

Maya is a venture capital investor and entrepreneur. She founded Ingressive Capital, a $5 Million venture fund focused on early stage African tech, and Ingressive, a tech integration company that provides market entry services and tech research for corporates and investors, and operates their Africa strategy over time.

Professor Lokko is a Ghanaian-Scottish architect, academic, and novelist. From 2019 to 2020 she was a professor and served as Dean of The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture City College of New York. In 2015, she established the Graduate School of Architecture (GSA) at University of Johannesburg – the first and only African school dedicated to postgraduate architecture education. 

Patrick is a Kenyan journalist, cartoonist, blogger, and author. He is also a regularly published commentator on regional and international affairs. His work has appeared in multiple publications, including The Washington Post, Al Jazeera, and The Star.