Theories of Development
There are various theories of economic development including classical, neoclassical, micro-finance, and Amartya Sen’s freedom as development theory. Most African nations have adopted more than one of these models at different times with limited success. This panel will explore current growth models and their application to African economies. Panelists will argue for the adoption of particular theories and explain how the theories will lead to development.
Despite the availability of high yield genetically engineered seeds, Africa is one of two continents that do not grow enough food to feed their populations. It is argued that negative public perception and politics have resulted in a slow uptake of new agricultural technologies that are necessary to increase food production in Africa. This panel will discuss the politics of food, the role of food security in development, and the arguments for and against scientific innovation in agriculture.
Business and Investment in Africa
Africa finds itself in competition for investment capital. It is argued that Africa’s legal and business conditions are deterring both domestic and foreign investors from investing in the continent. This panel will explore some key investment opportunities in Africa as well as the regulatory reforms African nations are making to assess whether conditions are ripe for increased investment in the post-economic crisis environment.
Africa is seeing the fastest rates of urbanization worldwide, yet many African city dwellers do not have access to basic resources such as clean water and electricity. As a result, African municipal governments face challenges including poverty and inequality, inadequate infrastructure, and poor sanitation. These problems are economic, architectural, legal, and socio- political. This panel will discuss the challenges of urbanization and the innovations cities can and are making.
Middle Income Status
Several African nations have attained middle income status, according to World Bank metrics, meaning they have a gross national income per capita between $996 and $12,195. Middle Income Countries’ successes in poverty reduction, and the sacrifices made to further such efforts, serve as learning tools for other nations. This panel will explore several African nations’ paths to middle income status and what achieving such status means for each country.
Educational Policy and Development
African countries have been acutely affected by the global drive to achieve Universal Primary Education by the year 2015. While education ministries push to educate each child, some observers are questioning the quality of education students receive, and the value of these initiatives given the dearth of post-primary education opportunities and long-term employment for graduates. This panel will examine the challenges and opportunities the education sector faces in the era of universal enrollment. Panelists will discuss options for improving school quality, means to balance educational investments with economic empowerment, and how to further employment opportunities for graduates.