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

Lusophonie in Africa: History, Democracy and Integration

28-30 April 2005, Luanda, Angola

Number of visits: 2811

As part of its strategy for reinforcing its research programmes
in the Portuguese-speaking countries of Africa,
CODESRIA is organizing an international colloquium from 28
to 30 April 2005 in Luanda, Angola. The theme of the colloquium
is:“Lusophonie” in Africa: History, Democracy and Integration"

History, democracy and integration are recurrent themes in
African social science research. Placed in the context of the
African countries that use Portuguese as their official language,
these themes develop a particular resonance which
suggests that they are not simply abstract questions. Their
essence results from a variety of contested specificities connected
to the experiences of these countries as site of some of
the most difficult moments in the recent history of Africa. The
Portuguese-speaking countries of Africa, with the kind of relations
that linked them to their former colonizer, have developed
an identity that goes beyond the simple use of a common
language; they have all been shaped by a long history
of rapacious external exploitation and domination. The slave
trade, colonial domination, the fascist administration, a system
of economic pillage and an aggressive assimilation policy are
some of the salient features of the “Lusophonie” in Africa.
These experiences have all fed into the contemporary modes
of expression that have been forged by the peoples of Angola,
Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique and Sao

The relationships of domination and exploitation that were
established during the colonial period were central to the
shaping of the state and the articulation of state-society relations.
The persistent political instability which many Lusophone
African countries have experienced is linked to the type of
colonization to which they were subjected. The civil wars in
Angola, Guinea Bissau and Mozambique, as well as the political
difficulties in Sao Tome were not only the results of contradictions
exacerbated during the post colonial period; they
are, in fact, closely linked to historical factors that go back to
the period before independence. Colonialism in Lusophone
Africa was founded on highly authoritarian modes of governance.
This heritage, which produced repressive political regimes
during the colonial and postcolonial periods, justifies
the popular demand for the establishment of democratic institutions
in these countries. This is all the more so as Cape
Verde that has followed the same colonial itinerary and experienced
a one-party regime has also in recent years enjoyed
a spectacular rate of development that is an example
for the rest of the continent. Yet, the wave of democratic transitions
that spread across Lusophone African countries during
the 1980s has encountered serious difficulties which, if they
are to be understood, must be located in the historical processes
that have helped to shape each of these countries.
The colloquium will be an opportunity to reflect on the link
between history and the dynamics of change in Lusophone
Africa in the context of the new challenges posed by the economic,
social and political transitions of the last twenty years.
Political liberalization plays an important role in this process
of change. Beyond the specificities that define them, it will
also be useful to reflect on the involvement of Lusophone African
countries in the political and ideological dynamics that
are shaping contemporary Africa. Among the Lusophone
countries themselves, local differences can be decisive. In this
collective movement, how does this Lusophone particularity
assert itself? How does it distinguish itself and how does it
connect with processes elsewhere? What, for instance, is the
common denominator between the political instability in
Guinea Bissau and the growth of Capeverdian democracy?
The colloquium will provide participants with an opportunity
to better understand the political reach of the transitions taking
place in Lusophone Africa, the connections that link them
and the specificities that separate them.

To discuss “Lusophonie” in Africa implies not only taking stock
of political dynamics, but also of the complex and related
economic problems that manifest themselves at the national,
regional, continental, and even global levels. The proximate
contexts of these problems are admittedly local, but they
cannot be separated from their regional contexts, which is
why it is important to pay attention to the dynamics of transborder
exchanges between Lusophone African countries and
their neighbours to better understand the individual and collective
actions of the actors. It is also important to assess the
modalities for the assertion of “Lusophonie” in relation to the
strengthening of regional integration. Will cooperation
among Lusophone countries be an essential stage towards a
financial and economic cooperation at the international level?
Will membership of this “Lusophonie” give birth to a new political
community that is able to act as one in the international
political system? How will the Lusophone African world participate
in the collective response of African countries to the
challenges of globalisation?

Social researchers, whether Lusophone or not, are invited to
reflect on the various analytical issues generated by the experiences
of the Portuguese-speaking countries of Africa. In
light of the objective of the colloquium, which is essentially to
identify the links between history, democracy and integration,
CODESRIA is inviting contributions on the following subthemes:

1- Perspectives on the Historical Heritage of Lusophone African

2- Political and Social Mutations in Lusophone African Countries
and in the Context of the African Democratic Project;

3- “Lusophonie” and African integration.

January 5 2010