Talking Innovative Foreign Aid Strategy and Constructive Refugee Interventions with University of Oxford's Alexander Betts and SPARK's Yannick Du Pont

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This podcast is the first instalment of a seven-part series that African Tech Roundup is producing to shed light on the sheer resilience and ingenuity of displaced peoples. We're looking to gauge the progress being made in unlocking invaluable intellectual and entrepreneurial potential within vulnerable regions of Africa and the Middle East.

We will interrogate whether or not the financial means deployed by wealthy countries - in order to stimulate sustainable economic growth in fragile regions - is being dispensed sensibly. And, perhaps most crucially, we’ll deliver fascinating first-hand insights about the realities of building futures in difficult places.

In this relaxed three-way conversation, Alexander Betts, Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs and William Golding Senior Fellow in Politics at the University of Oxford's Brasenose College, and Yannick Du Pont, the Co-founder and Director of the Dutch NGO SPARK, join Andile Masuku to discuss the awkward state-of-play within the global foreign aid industry, reference instructive live case studies and attempt to define what “winning” at helping turbulent regions of the world navigate towards sustainable economic growth should look and feel like.

Alexander Betts is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader whose research at the University of Oxford centres on refugee assistance, with a focus on East Africa. He has authored ten books and co-authored Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System (Penguin Allen Lane and Oxford University Press, 2017) with Paul Collier— a book named by The Economist as one of the 'Best Books of 2017'. Alexander previously worked for the UNHCR and currently serves as a Councillor on the World Refugee Council while leading the IKEA Foundation-funded Refugee Economies Programme.

Yannick Du Pont has worked in the fields of higher education and economic development in post-conflict countries since 1994. He previously worked for the Netherlands Minister of Development Cooperation, the Dutch PAX, the Evert Vermeer Foundation and the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael. At SPARK, Yannick leads teams which run programmes that promote SME-growth and facilitate youth job creation in 15 fragile states, primarily in North and Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. In addition to his work at SPARK, Yannick also serves on the boards of the Max van der Stoel Foundation and the LittleBitz Foundation, the advisory board of the Center of Theory of Change and the steering board of the Knowledge Platform on Security and Rule of Law.

Editorial Disclaimer: SPARK is the presenting sponsor of this podcast, which is part of an African Tech Roundup miniseries focused on inclusive economic progress being made in vulnerable states. African Tech Roundup retains full editorial control over all published content. Opinions expressed by the host, Andile Masuku, and his guests, do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the presenting sponsor, SPARK.

This podcast series was taped at the fringes of SPARK’s 6th annual IGNITE Conference - a premier gathering of refugees, entrepreneurs, educators, private sector actors, government leaders, academics and NGOs.

Image credit: Alex Radelich