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Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa

The year 2012 marks the beginning of a new Strategic Plan and a new Programmatic Cycle, both of which cover the same period, 2012-2016, for the first time in the history of CODESRIA. The new Strategic Plan is the result of a long consultative process involving successive Executive and Scientific Committees, members of CODESRIA and officials of some of CODESRIA’s main funders that began in 2009. Key moments in that extensive consultative process were: a brainstorming workshop held in July 2009; a joint meeting of the Executive and Scientific Committee in July 2011; a Secretariat retreat in August 2011; CODESRIA’s 13th General Assembly held in Rabat in December 2011; and a strategic planning workshop held in Dakar in June 2012.

The directions in which CODESRIA ought to be moving in the coming years, the changes and consolidation required in terms of priorities for research, programme development, and programme management, were discussed in all these key moments. The report of the external evaluation carried out during the first quarter of 2012 also contained important recom-mendations that were taken into account in the drafting of the Strategic Plan. Some of the original think pieces from these various meetings are published in this issue of the Bulletin under the general heading “New Directions and Priorities for Research in Africa: Some Think Pieces”. Part of what makes the strength of CODESRIA is, we would argue, the active engagement of the community of scholars in reflections on the priorities for research in Africa, and for CODESRIA itself, and in the determining the best ways to respond to current challenges and anticipate new ones. The think pieces published in this issue are a good illustration of the not only the range of views expressed, but also the depth of the reflections and the commitment.

The 2007-2011 Strategic Plan was under the umbrella theme of Re-thinking Development and Reviving Development Thinking in Africa. As the presentation of the new Strategic Plan of CODESRIA in this issue of the Bulletin shows, “development is still a key concept in the thinking on social transformation that translates into greater freedom and enhanced well-being of the peoples of Africa.