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Call for papers: 2050 - Africa’s future on the horizon: Prospects and challenges for development

The Africa Institute of South Africa’s (AISA) Young Graduates  Scholars (AYGS) Conference will be held with the theme 2050 – Africa’s future on the horizon: Prospects and challenges for development from the 20th–22nd February 2013, at North West University (South Africa).  The conference aims at mobilizing young African graduate scholars around the most important challenges the continent is currently facing, including climate change, energy and water  supply security, governance, poverty,  development, peace and security. About the conference 2050 is a symbolic year for Africa. According to the Institute  for Security Studies’ African Futures Project 2050 report (2011), it is predicted that in less than forty years, almost one in four of the world’s people will live in Africa while the majority of Africans will be living in towns and cities, such that the continent may cease to be largely rural. At the global level, the world economic structure is slightly shifting from the classical western societies to the emerging countries, which shows the interest in the continent, particularly for natural resources.  Therefore thinking about Africa’s future requires placing the continent in such a bipolarized world, where internal economic, social and environmental changes request an implementation of  new policies and development programmes  and where the change of the  international nomenclature requires the continent to provide new strategies to address  thatinternational power shift.  Progress in articulating those two challenges will be vital in ensuring that the continent’s prospects are met in the  less than forty years to come before 2050. There seems to be positivity in describing Africa as being on the rise and on the move from many quarters including politicians, business, and investors, and international financial institutions such as the World Bank (WB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank (ADB). Africans have taken it upon themselves to make this description realisable in their actions as well as pronouncements from some of their political and business leaders. The Ethiopian Prime Minister Meless Zenawi recently affirmed that indeed “Africa is rising” and that the “African Renaissance has begun”.  President Jacob Zuma at an African business meeting in April 2012 also made the following instructive comments about the continent, “There is no doubt that over the past decade, Africa has come from being the so-called “hopeless Continent” to being a rising star... profound changes have taken place which have brought this turnaround... We can count the fact that Africa has come from being the notorious continent with 16 raging wars in 2002 to acontinent that is fast achieving peace and stability”. The IMF has predicted an average of 6% average growth for 2012. This ascendancy cuts across economic, social and political sectors as compared to two decades ago. This rise is being driven by this new found confidence in a new generation of leadership, in economic and social life, economic performance and political stability and driven by Africa’s abundance and unexploited natural resource base. There are new trends in productivity, partnerships, and cooperation with other countries such as China, India and Malaysia, including the western countries. Despite this aforementioned economic growth and opportunities, Africa has many challenges, such as persistent political instability, poverty and inequality, climate change, weakness of energy and water infrastructures, corruption, low intensity violence and warfare, disease, famine.  The challenges being faced by African countries should not undermine this new found optimism, but indeed propel the continent to seek more innovative ways to harness country-led development strategies, scientific-led and technological advancement. To address all those new challenges, new orientations should be found, in which the continent clearly identifies the strategies that would be mobilized and followed to address those challenges. The responses given in the last decade, through the various national economic development plans, did not provide positive  outcomes, since many African countries still remain underdeveloped and their economic growth is  still marginal.  Moreover the nature of the development that the continent needs should be sustainable, therefore combining economic prosperity with environmental sustainability and social satisfaction.  In this context, the continent should find internal combinations of political, economic and social institutions to promote sustainable development. At the same time new forms of governance structures should be promoted to deal with issues of accountability, transparency, corruption, skills development, improving employment, conditions and opportunities, raise health standards and promote sustainable production and consumption. The following five subthemes are in line with AISA’s research thrusts and we welcome papers that focus on these: Sustainable development: What strides have been made in addressing climate change in Africa and transitioning to a sustainable energy production at the local, national and regional levels? How new governance structures could be developed to promote sustainable development? How can various actors and institutions in Africa and the international community be mobilised towards tackling the multiple crises of food, energy, climate change, poverty and inequalities? What are the impacts of climate change on the agricultural sector? What types of energy, environmental and technology policies could be mobilised to promote a rise of a new sustainable energy paradigm? Peace and Security: A central aim of peacebuilding is to leverage resources to support and consolidate peaceful communities. While a relatively new concept, infrastructure for peace (I4P) is quickly gaining recognition for its importance as the standing infrastructure and capabilities for peace building and prevention. These can take many forms at different levels: community-based through local/national civil society (local peace committees, churches, etc.); state actors/governments (ministries and departments); and, regional and multilateral organizations (AU, SADC, ECOWAS, PSO, UN, EU, USAID, etc).This section on peace and security is especially interested in articles that explore how I4Ps function, drawing lessons from practical experiences which can contribute to improved policy and practice. It aims to advance thinking around the role, value and contribution of I4P to peacebuilding and conflict prevention in Africa. Science and Technology:  The awarding of two-thirds of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project to Africa opens a new era for the role Africa is going to play in Space Science.  In the midst of the euphoria and excitement this has generated, a number of questions that seek to develop an understanding of how Africa should capitalize on this opportunity have arisen.  Papers under this theme should seek to provide recommendations on the role Africa is going to play in Space Science through SKA. Knowledge Transfer and Skills Development:  Education is recognised as a catalyst for Africa’s sustainable development. Papers in this theme should consider, inter alia, what role can African knowledge systems play in mitigating and adapting to climate change and attaining sustainable development? Are 4 existing education systems in Africa relevant for achieving development that is sustainable? How can Africa boost its knowledge and skills to address the challenges that Africa faces? What is the role of local and national actors such as African scholars, civil society and regional bodies, like the African Union (AU), Regional Economic Communities, in addressing Africa’s challenges? With less than three (3) years to 2015, how can educational awareness contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa? Governance and Democracy:  Governance and democracy are processes of strategic importance in Africa’s developmental prospects and challenges. If the continent is to achieve a sustainable development, special attention should be paid by Africans to these processes nationally, regionally and continentally. What should be done to substantially improve governance and democracy of the African continent for the realisation of a better Africa in 2050?  How best to manage Africa’s human, natural and financial resources in the interest of the masses of the African people and their countries? How best to ensure that the socio-political and economic security of Africa is advanced against the threats the continent is facing from the outside powers and actors? The organisers invite papers that offer rigorous and innovative analysis of the above list of issues. Papers based on theoretical as well as empirical research are welcome. Post-graduate students are especially encouraged to participate. Instructions for Submission of Papers 6 July 2012 – Deadline for Abstracts Submit via email to: Dr Djiby Racine Thiam with your sub-theme and topic also in the subject line of your email. Abstracts should be between 250 and 300 words. 6 August 2012 – Notification of Accepted Abstracts 30 September 2012 – Submission of Full Papers When submitting your abstract, include your full contact details (email, tel/fax) as well as your country of nationality, country of domicile and institutional affiliation. Some papers presented at the conference will be selected and considered for publication.  Source: More information on this Link: Call for papers: 2050 - Africa’s future on the horizon: Prospects and challenges for development