Roundtable on "Strengthening the social and human sciences in Africa: intellectual and institutional issues"
The African Union has a strategy for science, technology and innovation in 2024 (STISA-2024), following the strategy which covered the period 2004-2013. Its mission is to accelerate the transition of Africa to an innovative economy based on knowledge.
Given these objectives, which are basically of social transformation, one might expect that the social sciences are, in this strategy, strongly present. But this is far from the case.
In this context, the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), in partnership with the UNESCO Office in Dakar, will hold, during its General Assembly (8-12 June 2015), a round table on the theme "Strengthening the social and human sciences in Africa: intellectual and institutional issues" on 9 June 2015.
The purpose of this meeting is to foster debate and generate the integration of a social sciences dimension in the African Union's strategy.
In this strategy, the social and human sciences are specifically mentioned in only one of the six impact areas around which it is built: the one on "Living together - build the community. Yet each of the other five areas - the elimination of hunger; disease control and promotion of well-being; the protection of spaces, particularly against environmental pressures; wealth creation - has an irreducibly social and human dimension that would call a strong contribution of social sciences and humanities.
The roundtable will generate reflection on these issues with a particular focus on the factors that oppose the projection of social and human sciences in Africa and the measures that could be considered to enable them to play their full role. Of these, it is important to take into consideration:
- Actions that could be undertaken by existing institutions, with their means to promote the role of social sciences and humanities in African development thinking;
- New initiatives that may be required to increase the capacity of social and human sciences in Africa, in terms of research, higher education, scientific cooperation and relationships between research and action;
- The paradigmatic changes that may be appropriate in light of the new challenges of a rapidly changing world, whether emerging objects, interdisciplinary requirements of innovative methods.