The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) is an independent, pan-African, non-governmental research organisation founded in 1973 by African researchers.
Its establishment was driven by a desire to build an autonomous Pan-African scientific community capable of interpreting realities in Africa and contributing to scholarly, public and policy debates on African and global issues. Research and knowledge production are key to Africa’s transformation. The participation of Africans in these activities is indispensable for shaping narratives that will benefit Africa and its peoples.
CODESRIA, therefore, is about building a strong and vibrant African social science and humanities research community. It serves to mobilise a greater understanding of the challenges facing Africa and the world in order to overcome these challenges. To do so, CODESRIA facilitates and supports social science and humanities research by scholars in Africa and the African diaspora across the world through a variety of programmes.
CODESRIA is headquartered in Dakar, Senegal and is accredited with diplomatic status in Senegal, a status that grants various immunities to support effective intellectual engagement.
Two key documents formalise the Council’s establishment and identify its intellectual and institutional development and priorities: the CODESRIA Charter and the CODESRIA Strategic Plan.
The CODESRIA Charter is the core institutional document that formalises the establishment of the Council, outlines its objectives and functions, and expounds on its composition and membership.
Revised and adopted by the 14th General Assembly of CODESRIA held in Dakar, Senegal in 2015, it tasks the Council with the following eight objectives:
1) Develop the social sciences in Africa by mobilising the African social science community to undertake fundamental policy-oriented research from a perspective that is relevant to the demands of the African people.
2) Encourage and support comparative research with a continental perspective expressing the specificity of development processes in Africa.
3) Promote the publication and distribution of the research output of African scholars.
4) Promote an African network for the dissemination of information in the social sciences.
5) Promote and defend the principle of independent thought and research and the liberty of researchers.
6) Encourage co-operation and collaboration between African universities and social science research, training and publishing organisations.
7) Promote contacts and develop interaction between CODESRIA and similar international organisations.
8) Promote balanced gender, generational, sub-regional, linguistic and disciplinary representation and participation in its activities.
These objectives are to be achieved through:
a) Exchanging and disseminating information relating to research, training and publishing activities.
b) Promoting translation into African languages, as the case may be, of important social science publications and documents.
c) Reinforcing the research and training capacity of African universities, through the provision of fellowships and grants.
d) Organising working groups, seminars and conferences.
e) Promoting the exchange of academic staff between African universities and research institutes.
f) Issuing and disseminating publications relevant to the activities of the Council.
To view the full CODESRIA Charter click here
To ensure that it meets the current needs and priorities of the continental and diasporic community, the Council formulates a Strategic Plan every five years. Its goal is to elaborate a programme of action within the broad ambit of the Charter. The five-year planning cycle is a recent development; previous cycles ran from between three to four years only.
Strategic planning has been part of CODESRIA’s institutional culture for at least three decades. It is an acknowledgement that a dynamic continental and global environment may require us to periodically rethink how we accomplish our objectives. The planning processes allow this rethinking to happen in consultation with the African intellectual community.
Strategic Plan 2023 – 2027
The General Assembly
The General Assembly is the highest decision-making organ of CODESRIA and consists of the members of CODESRIA’s community. The Assembly meets once every three years around a scientific theme.
Discussions held during the Assembly form the nucleus around which the intellectual agenda of the Council is developed. The President, the Vice-President and Members of the Executive Committee are elected during the General Assembly.
While participation in the General Assembly is open to all CODESRIA members, only institutional and individual members who have paid their membership dues and are in good standing are entitled to vote.
The Executive Committee
The Executive Committee is the second-highest governing organ of CODESRIA after the General Assembly. It provides strategic leadership to the Council and exercises oversight over the Council’s overall activities that are implemented by the Executive Secretariat. The Committee is elected by the General Assembly and has 10 members, with equal representation from the five sub-regions of the continent: Southern Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, North Africa and West Africa.
The Committee meets at least twice a year to assess programme implementation and approve the annual budget and work plan of the Council.
The Committee is accountable to the General Assembly and is chaired by the President, with the Executive Secretary as an ex-officio member.
Members of the current Executive Committee were elected at the 15th General Assembly held in 2018 in Dakar, Senegal. They include:
President: Isabel Maria Casimiro
Vice-President: Rokhaya Fall
Learn more about our Executive Committee here >
The Scientific Committee
The Scientific Committee is a more recent organ of the Council. It is an advisory committee that counsels the Executive Committee and Executive Secretariat on scientific matters. It is also responsible for the scientific evaluation of CODESRIA’s programmes and contributes to the development of the Council’s scientific agenda. It is made up of 12 members appointed by the Executive Committee. The Executive Secretary serves as an ex-officio member.
Chair: Adebayo Olukoshi
Vice-Chair: Marema Toure
Jean-Christophe Boungou Bazika
Learn more about our Scientific Committee here >
The Executive Secretariat
The Executive Secretariat is based in Dakar, Senegal. It is responsible for implementing the programmes and activities that are set out in the Strategic Plan and approved annually by the Executive Committee. The Secretariat works in close collaboration with the Executive Committee and the Scientific Committee.
The Secretariat is organised around the three scientific programmes of the Council and an administration and finance department. These programmes and the Department of Administration and Finance are overseen by the Office of the Executive Secretary, which includes the office of the Deputy Executive Secretary.
At the helm of the Secretariat is the Executive Secretary. The primary responsibility of this role is to represent the Council externally and provide overall leadership in the management of the Council and in the formulation and implementation of its intellectual agenda.
The Council has two general categories of partnership. These include Funding Partners and Programme Implementation Partners.
Currently CODESRIA is funded by:
Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)
Open Society Foundations (OSFs)
Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)
The Council would like to express its gratitude to our funding partners for supporting research, training and publication programmes.
PROGRAMME IMPLEMENTATION PARTNERS
The Council has additional partners whose key engagement with the Council helps in programme implementation. These partners include:
Arab Council for the Social Sciences
Centre for African Studies Basel
Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (CLACSO)
Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS)
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)