Richard Dowden is director of the Royal African Society in London.
The Royal African Society was founded as a study organisation in 1897 but has in the last six years broadened its remit and acts now as a national body on African issues for academics, politicians, NGOs, and various African diasporas.
He first went to Africa as a teacher in 1971, and then as a journalist in 1983, working for The Times. In 1986, he became the Africa editor of the Independent, and in 1995 took up the post of the Africa editor for the Economist.
He has also made three television documentaries on Africa, for the BBC and Channel 4.