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CIC NCB Ottawa: The Wagner Group in Africa / Le Groupe Wagner en Afrique

October 17, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm EDT


The Africa Study Group (ASG) and the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA) present a round-table on:


17 October 2023, 12:00 pm EST (In-Person & Online)



Mercenaries have a long and inglorious history in Africa.

Today the Wagner Group has earned public attention because of its overt sponsorship by Russia and its strategy of linking military deployments with commercial benefits. Its varied military, economic, political presence in Africa particularly includes Libya, Mali, Burkina Faso, Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Madagascar and Zimbabwe.

The recent apparent death of the its founder and leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has put a question mark over the future of the Group in Africa.



The panelists will tackle the history and possibly the future of the Group from a variety of angles.

Douglas Scott Proudfoot joined the Department of External Affairs in 1987. At Headquarters, he was the Director of the Afghanistan Task Force from 2006 to 2007 and the Sudan Task Force from 2007 to 2011. Overseas, he served in Nairobi from 1988 to 1991, New Delhi from 1995 to 1998, Vienna from 2002 to 2006, London from 2011 to 2016, and Ramallah from 2016 to 2019 as representative of Canada to the Palestinian Authority. More recently he was Ambassador to South Sudan in 2019-2020, and before leaving the Canadian foreign service in 2022 served as temporary head of mission in Bamako in 2021. He holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of Toronto and an MA in Renaissance History from McGill University.

Leigh Sarty is an Adjunct Professor at the Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies and a Senior Fellow at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University.  He is also a Senior Fellow at the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary History at the University of Toronto.  HIs career at Global Affairs Canada included postings at the Canadian Embassy in Moscow (1996-1999; 2012-2016) and in Beijing, where he headed the Political Section from 2003 to 2007.  He was Director General for Europe (2016-2018) before serving as Global Affairs Scholar in Residence until his retirement in 2021.  He holds an M.A. from Carleton University (Soviet Studies 1985) and a PhD in Political Science (1991) from Columbia University.

Borges Nhamirre is a consultant to the Canadian bilateral development program in Mozambique. He is a journalist and researcher with over 15 years of experience in Mozambican politics and governance. Borges holds an International Relations and Diplomacy degree from Higher Institute of International Relations, Maputo; a Law degree from School of Law, Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo and an MSc in Security Studies at Universidade Joaquim Chissano, Maputo. His recent work experience includes as a research consultant with the Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria, as Mozambique’s correspondent to Bloomberg News and as researcher in Governance with Maputo-based Think Tank Center for Public Integrity.

Geoff York, Resource Person for the roundtable: After a 13-year career in bureaus and beats in Canada, he has worked in foreign bureaus since 1994, beginning in Moscow (1994 to 2002), then in Beijing (2002 to 2008) and then in Johannesburg (2009 to the present). He has won awards for his investigative reporting and for his coverage of Indigenous issues in Canada and abroad. He has covered wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Chechnya, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and elsewhere. He has written or co-written three books: The Dispossessed (about Indigenous issues in Canada); People of the Pines (about the Oka crisis); and The High Price of Health (about medical politics in Canada). He has received several journalistic awards, including a National Magazine Award and two National Newspaper Awards.

The Roundtable will be moderated by Dr. Marcia Burdette, the Deputy Chair of the Africa Study Group. With a PhD in the Political Science from Columbia University (New York, 1979), Marcia Burdette pursued an academic career followed by 25 years with Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She has a longstanding interest in Africa, in particular central southern Africa. Her book Zambia: Between Two Worlds and a series of articles focused on the major economic transition of the country when its new leaders embarked on the nationalization of the copper industry, the country’s main economic engine. Subsequent articles dealt with input industries for Zimbabwe’s agriculture sector in the 1980s and 1990s.



This session will be in hybrid format.

Registration link for online participation; after registering you will receive a Zoom link to join the webinar.

Register for in-person participation; after registering you will receive a confirmation email.

The event will be held at Carleton University, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA), Richcraft Hall 5320D, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6.



October 17, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm EDT
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Carleton University, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA)
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6 Canada
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CIC NCB Africa Study Group