Prospects for Secure Sustainable Development in Africa

RO0A5061What affects the development in Africa, and what lessons and insights on current patterns of development in the area of environment, public health, and security can scholars provide for policy practitioners and activists? Those questions guided one-day panel discussion at the Workshop “Africa in the 21st Century: Prospects for Secure Sustainable Development” on April 8, 2016. The workshop is a result of collaborative work of the Global Governance and Human Security PhD Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston, the Academy of International Business US-Northeast Chapter, and Educational Divide Reform.
The event covered a variety of issues which the regions throughout the world, not only in Africa, experience and have to address. The workshop brought together graduate, junior and senior scholars, civil society representatives, business and media within and outside the city of Boston interested in issues of security, environment and development in Africa. The distinguished scholars, visiting adjunct research professors from the University of Massachusetts Boston and the University of Ottawa Prof. Tim Shaw and Prof. Jane Parpart, as well as Prof. Craig Murphy from the University of Massachusetts Boston also joined the event.

The Security panel involved discussions of African Union’s approach to security in the region; issues around wildlife conservation governance in Africa and specifically in Kenya; questions around media and the role of its work in conflict transformation and peace processes in sub-Saharan Africa; conflict-charged governance of mining on the Congolese Copperbelt; and ways in which regional (African Union) and sub-regional institutions (ECOWAS, SADC, ECCAS) combat the human trafficking, and transnational organized crime in Africa. Environment and Natural Resources panel addressed political economy of natural resources governance in Ghana, Mali, and South Africa; climate change adaptation practices and challenges in Djibouti and Ethiopia, as well as offered alternative views on decentralization and participation in Extractive Natural Resource Governance.

Discussion panels on the role of international business, the role of global governance and human security in African development elicited a wide range of opinions from international scholars, who actively took an interdisciplinary and scholarly approach in their research.

While the current development of the African continent is partly defined by its colonial past, diverse cultural and physical environments, and the myriad of economic and sociopolitical challenges the continent faces, does not differ much from other parts of the world. Issues of environment, public health problems, and questions of justice and equality shape policy developments, business responses and individuals’ adjustments throughout the world. The workshop provided a timely opportunity for international scholars to engage in discussions of the role of governance, business and communities in those processes using telling African case-studies.

The event is aligned with the mission of Educational Divide Reform (EDR), which strives to create a global community where anyone can achieve his or her dream and live in harmony through education. The workshop is also a part of EDR’s ongoing Global Citizenship Education program.

The event was cosponsored by Educational Divide Reform and the Academy of International Business US-Northeast Chapter. Organizers of the event thank the Department of Conflict Resolution, Global Governance and Human Security and the Decanal Office at McCormack Graduate School at UMass Boston for providing both informational and academic support in preparation for the event.  PhD students in Global Governance and Human Security from the University of Massachusetts Boston, Abigail Kabandula, Jeremiah O Asaka, and Timothy Adivilah served as conveners of the event.