From Impunity to Accountability: Africa's Development in the 21st Century

Join distinguished experts in discussing the challenges of development that face African countries as they work to combat poverty, improve the protection of human rights, increase government accountability, strengthen electoral systems, and manage foreign aid.

Our decision to devote an issue of Social Research: An International Quarterly and a conference to accountability for Africa's development in the 21st century is motivated by the fact that the region's growth has not made a notable dent on poverty on the continent. Performance in recent years on a range of measures of socioeconomic development and political stability is far from what one might hope it would be. For example, Africa will be the only region where the Millennium Development targets will not be met. Many parts of sub-Saharan Africa suffer from political instability. Economies remain fragile, only a heartbeat away from crisis instigated by natural or global shocks.

Many analysts have pointed out that the international community is more concerned about sub-Saharan Africa than its own political leadership is. While there may be some degree of exaggeration in such a claim, the region does in fact remain dependent on foreign aid. This is despite the fact that Africa, with rich natural resources and population approaching a billion, has the potential for high and sustained growth.

While the region's problems and constraints are varied, we believe the relationship between the people and their government to be one of the most critical. In many of these countries, governments remain unresponsive to the needs of their people, and are accountable to their own interests rather than their people. In the special issue of Social Research on which this proposed conference is based, we will bring the relationship between the governors and the governed into the spotlight once again. By bringing some of our authors together for frank discussion with each other and the public, we hope to generate a productive debate among social scientists and other experts that might serve to prod policy makers and the international community to take more appropriate actions than those they may be currently engaged in.

This conference is the 22nd in the Social Research conference series, founded by Arien Mack in 1988. For this conference, Dr. Arien Mack is collaborating with Dr. Befekadu Degefe, an eminent Ethiopian economist and the New School's first University in Exile Scholar-in-Residence. Dr. Mack is Alfred and Monette Marrow Professor of Psychology at The New School for Social Research and editor of Social Research since 1970. Social Research: An International Quarterly is the flagship journal of The New School for Social Research.

For a list of over 70 degree programs at The New School, please visit the degree programs site. For a list of other events at The New School, please visit the university calendar. For general information about The New School visit the quick facts page. For the history of the conference series, visit the Social Research conference series site.

This conference is made possible by generous support from the Ford Foundation, Institute of International Education (IIE), the integrated New School Graduate Program in International Affairs and Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy, and the Global Studies Program at The New School.

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