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

Rethinking African Development: Beyond Impasse, Towards Alternatives

11th CODESRIA General Assembly: 6–10 December, 2005, Maputo, Mozambique,

Number of visits: 17082

The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa
(CODESRIA) announces its 11th General Assembly which is scheduled to
hold in Maputo, Mozambique, from 06 – 10 December, 2005. The theme
that has been selected for the Assembly is: "Rethinking African
Development: Beyond Impasse, Towards Alternatives." The Assembly is
expected to attract the participation of up to 500 researchers drawn
from different disciplinary backgrounds, coming from across Africa and
the Diaspora, and actively engaged in reflections on the development
alternatives that could enable the African continent both to overcome its
underdevelopment and transcend the current impasse associated with
the continued application of problematic developmental models. The
proceedings of the Assembly will be conducted in English, French and

CODESRIA was established in 1973 as an initiative of the African social
research community. It was given a specific mandate to extend the
frontiers of knowledge production on and about the African continent.
The specific goals for which the Council was set up and which are stated
in its Charter arose directly from the aspiration of the peoples of Africa
to achieve all-round socio-economic and political development that
would qualitatively uplift the human condition in Africa. The CODESRIA
General Assembly is the supreme organ of the Council; its triennial
meetings have also become the most significant gathering of intellectuals
on the African continent. Every General Assembly of the Council is
organized around an intellectual theme to which the African social
research community is invited to respond and from which an intellectual
agenda is fashioned out for the next three years. The 11th General
Assembly is conceived to break new grounds by concentrating the
attention of the research community on the developmental alternatives
available to Africa at a time of a widely acknowledge impasse in
development thinking and in the face of the equally widely recognized
inefficacies of the dominant neo-liberal paradigms that have informed
policy-making on the continent for at least two decades.

The theme of development is one which has been central to African
social research in the period since the end of the Second World War;
indeed, it was also integral to the birth of pan-Africanism, the national
liberation project, and the post-independence social contract which the
nationalists attempted to construct. The body of work which has been
generated on the theme has spanned virtually all spheres of human
endeavour, with insights drawn from various disciplines and in most cases
mirroring different aspects of the international scholarly and policy
discussions of the day. The issues that have been covered have been as
varied as the kinds of debates that have taken place. By and large,
they are issues which have remained an abiding part of the quest for
African development and which will be revisited extensively by
participants in the 11th General Assembly at the different plenary and
parallel sessions that will be held. The pertinence and urgency of the
theme of the Assembly is underscored not only by the crises in
development thinking today but also by the huge costs which over two
decades of neo-liberal maladjustment has exacted, the many discontents
associated with the current phase of globalization, and the necessity for
Africa to regain the policy initiative in the shaping of its destiny. The
African academy has historically been in the forefront of the contestation
of much of the received wisdom that has underpinned the dominant
development policies implemented by governments in the period since
the end of the Second World War. No where has this been more
evident than in the critique that was offered of the dependency of postindependence African countries in the 1960s and 1970s, the structural
adjustment policies of the 1980s and 1990s, and the Poverty Reduction
Strategy Papers (PRSPs) on the basis of which current policies are being
constructed. The continuing failure of thinkers and practitioners to
historicize African development, the inappropriateness of the dominant
paradigms to the African cultural milieu, the persistent resort to unilinear
models, and the glorification of technicist notions of development bereft
of power relations constitute challenges to which responses need to be

In Maputo, the research community will be called upon to carry its
critique of post-independence Africa development and the mode of
insertion of Africa into the global system one step further by presenting
alternatives that are both detailed in content and holistic in approach
and relevance. Among some of the subjects that the research community
is invited to address are:

- New Perspectives on the Concept of Development;
- Alternative Models of Accumulation for African Development;
- Reinventing the African State and Redefining its Role in
- Interfacing the State and the Market for African Development;
- Mobilising Citizen Participation in the Development Process;
- Non-State Actors in the Development Process;
- Engendering African Development;
- A New Social Contract between State and Society in Africa;
- Political Regimes and Socio-Economic Development in Africa;
- Culture, Tradition and Custom in African Development;
- Indigenous Languages in the Development Process;
- Social Policies for Sustained African Economic Development;
- Trade and Industrial Policies for Sustained Development in Africa;
- Agricultural Sector Strategies for African Development;
- Sustainable Uses of African Natural Resources for Development;
- New Approaches to the Mobilisation of Savings and Investments;
- The Diaspora Factor in African Development;
- Science and Technology Policies for African Development;
- A Conducive Intellectual Property Rights Regime for African
- Achieving Environmental Sustainability in the Development Process;
- Law in the Political Economy of African Development;
- Alternative Legal-Constitutional Frames for African Development;
- The Media in the Development Process;
- Strategies of Regional Cooperation and Integration for African
- Transport and Transportation Systems for the Integrated
Development of Africa;
- Forging Self-Reliance in the Age of Globalisation;
- New Global Partnerships for African Development;
- An International Financial Architecture for African Development;
- Higher Education in African Development;
- A New Philosophical Ethos for an African Renaissance.

To see papers delivered at the General Assembly, please click here.

December 30 2005