Richard Dowden is the President of the Royal African Society. He was previously the African Editor of The Economist. Ten years ago his magazine published an article he had written on the state of affairs on the African conitnent titled "The heart of the matter". However, the cover of the magazine carried the extremely judgemental headline; "The Hopeless Continent". I remember vividly the furore caused by this headline as the continet responded to the views of The Economist that appeared to sterotype us all as being without hope!
At TEDxEuston, Richard speaks about this experience for the first time.
But he also speaks about a lot more....from his reaction to the typical stereotyes on Africa, through the growing influence of China to his analysis of how generations of Africans have changed since his engagement started. You cannot help but admire Richard's knowledge and honesty about the continet.
Watch the talk again HERE.
Richard Dowden first worked in Africa as a volunteer teacher at a bush school in Uganda in the early 1970s. On his return to Britain he was employed by a peace organisation in Northern Ireland and then became a journalist, and was made Editor of The Catholic Herald in 1976.
After joining The Times foreign desk in 1980, he reported from the Middle East and Africa, before being appointed Africa Editor at The Independent when it was founded in 1986. During the next nine years he visited almost every country in sub Saharan Africa. He later became Diplomatic Editor. In 1995 he was invited to join The Economist as Africa Editor continued to travel regularly to Africa. He left The Economist in 2001 and a year later, began working as a freelance journalist and writer. In November 2002 he was appointed Director of the Royal African Society.
In addition to writing extensively about Africa, he has made three full length documentaries on Africa for Channel 4 and the BBC as well as several shorter films. He also continues to write on African issues and appears frequently as a commentator on African affairs on the BBC, CNN, Sky News and other broadcast media. His book: Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles was published by Portobello Books in September 2008 .