Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa
Conseil pour le développement de la recherche en sciences sociales en Afrique
Conselho para o Desenvolvimento da Pesquisa em Ciências Sociais em África
مجلس تنمية البحوث الإجتماعية في أفريقيا

The African Union and New Strategies for Development in Africa

1–3 December 2003, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Number of visits: 7243

The Council for the Development of Social Science
Research in Africa (CODESRIA) and the Development
Policy Management Forum (DPMF) invite the scholarly
community and policy intellectuals to send in abstracts
of papers for consideration for presentation at an
international conference which will be hosted in Addis
Ababa, Ethiopia, from 1–3 December 2003. The theme
of the conference is designed to focus attention on
the African Union (AU) and the (new) strategies for
African development which have been pursued in
recent times. Within this broad umbrella theme,
participants will be invited to explore various aspects of
the challenges of development facing the African
continent, the role of continental structures like the AU
in rising to the challenges, and the alternatives which
are available for future action. For this purpose, a
number of research papers will be made available to
participants who will consist of a mixed group of
academics, policy makers, international civil servants
and civil society activists. A special session will also be
held at which the results from the 2002 CODESRIA
Governance Institute on Challenges to the Nation-State
in Africa will be presented.

From the time of its creation in 1963, the defunct
Organisation of African Unity (OAU) invested a
considerable amount of energy in the task of promoting
inter-state and cross-regional cooperation among
African countries in the fields of foreign policy, science
and technology, culture, education, and economic
affairs. It was, however, only in 1973 that economic
issues and broad development questions came to the
front burner following the adoption of the Declaration
on Cooperation, Development and Economic
Independence by the Summit of Heads of State and
Government. That declaration fully propelled the OAU
into the domain of African economic development, a
process which later set the stage for the adoption in
1980 of the bold, if still-born Lagos Plan of Action. The
OAU also worked with other international organisations,
most notably the United Nations, to focus attention on
the developmental challenges facing the countries of
the continent. Perhaps the most significant meeting
which emanated from this effort was the special session
of the United Nations which was devoted to a discussion
of Africa’s economic and developmental problems and
which culminated in the adoption of a number of
initiatives, including the Millennium Development Goals

More recently, a tremendous amount of energy has
been devoted to the promotion of the New Partnership
for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) which is presented as
a project of African heads of state and government for
the rapid transformation of the continent within the
overall ambit of the African Union. NEPAD, when it was
launched, was heralded as the most important
developmental initiative to emerge from the African
continent in at least two decades; its adoption occurred
at about the same time as the OAU was being
transformed into the AU. It was also heralded as part of
a new determination to extend the boundaries and
deepen the content of sub-regional cooperation on the
continent as part of a march towards a full African
economic union/common market in the course of the
first half of the 21st century. Furthermore, the strong
accent on the detrimental impact of conflicts on the
developmental prospects of Africa and the apparent
determination to turn the table of instability were key
underlying considerations in the design of the AU and
NEPAD. Clearly, the decade ahead promises to be
dominated as much by developmental questions as by
anything else and the AU is expected to play an
important frontline role. For this reason, it seems
appropriate, just as the AU is beginning to establish its
key structures following the July 2003 Maputo Summit,
that a stock-taking and prospective reflection should be
undertaken on continental strategies for promoting
development and the challenges which they pose.
Among the sub-themes for which abstracts for papers
are being invited are:

- Development Strategies
- Initiatives Promoted by the defunct OAU, 1963 – 2002;
- NEPAD: A New Strategy for African Development?;
- NEPAD and the AU: Synergies or Competition?;
- The Challenges of Managing African Development:
- Can Development be Managed at the Continental Level?;
- The Experience of Managing Development at the Sub-Regional
- Level through the Regional Economic Communities (RECs);
- The Challenges of Synchronising National Development with a Sub-
- Regional and Continental Strategy;
- Alternative Development Strategies available to the AU.


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