Jon is the chairman and founder of Cross-border Information. He is a political scientist with a deep knowledge of the politics and economies of Africa and the Middle East, based on more than 30 years of travel, study and curiosity about the post-colonial world.
In addition to his internationally recognised work in policy and corporate circles as an expert analyst on North Africa, Jon takes a lead role in CbI’s business development and strategy.
The founding editor of African Energy, which he set up in 1998 under the banner of the Financial Times’ former FT Energy subsidiary, Jon is author of several books and academic papers on North African history, politics and security, as well as on various aspects of finance and business – notably on issues associated with national energy industries and approaches towards debt.
A fluent French speaker, Jon carried out doctoral research on Algeria’s Mozabite community at University of London’s School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), which included fieldwork in Algeria. He has a Masters degree in African Government & Politics from the London School of Economics and read politics at the University of Kent at Canterbury.
Jon is an Associate Fellow of the London-based Royal Institute of International Affairs' (Chatham House) Middle East North Africa Programme.
Specialist interests include:
The Maghreb: Jon has a long-standing interest in the failure of – and potentials for – regional economic and political integration in the Maghreb region, and how to unleash the potentials of the southern Mediterranean’s big populations and natural resources to build a more stable, prosperous future for the majority. He is currently looking closely at elements the Western Sahara dispute, which he has followed since the 1980s.
Algeria: From the development of the nationalist movement to contemporary shifts in ideology and factional balance, Algeria has been at the centre of Jon’s work and life. Interests include Saharan political sociology, Houari Boumedienne and Algerian football.
Morocco: Buoyed up by a long relationship with the business daily L’Economiste, Jon has a deep interest in this most complex polity. He also spends considerable time following events in Tunisia.
Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo: Jon has done substantial work in Sub-Saharan Africa. In these countries he is particularly interested in how business elites operate in these difficult governance environments, and how national wealth can be put to better use for the majority.
South Africa and Tanzania: Jon has written over many years on how South Africa’s diverse political groupings and factions impact on economic performance (with a focus on the electricity industry). Tanzania is among the Sub-Saharan countries where he has examined the politics of gas and other energy industries.