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Evening Sessions

 

Evening Session: Gender and Social Inequalities: Local Solutions to a Global Issue

Social inequalities have received increasing attention in research and policy-making in recent years. Social and gender inclusion within and between different groups of people is crucial at various levels to people’s well-being and their ability to influence, participate in and benefit from social, economic and material change. 

• Which policies and forms of advocacy have most effectively empowered women?
• How do the challenges for gender equity differ across the Atlantic sub-regions and sectors?
• How has implementing these policies worked in practice?
• How can these strategies also be applied to other diversity factors such as race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status?

Evening Session: African Enterprise: Small Is Beautiful, Big Is Better?

Is bigger always better? Economists have long debated what size firms are more likely to drive business expansion and job creation. Many studies show that in industrial countries small (young) firms contribute most net job creation and account for a predominant share of innovation. In developing countries, by contrast, ‘big’ enterprises are often seen as the best providers of employment opportunities and new technologies.  

• Should African countries pay more attention to small enterprise development? How can they ensure that adequate financing is available to them? 
• How can African countries promote the growth of large enterprises, for example by lowering the costs of trading across Africa and with the world?
• How should they ensure that the appropriate type and quality of human resources are made available to small and large firms?

Evening Session: Building Democratic and Resilient Institutions: Where Do We Stand in Africa?

In recent years, many African countries have witnessed major political changes and reforms that – if pursued – will build stronger democratic institutions. Others are falling behind on this endeavor. Strong institutions and the rule of law are prerequisites for the state to carry out its role as arbiter and regulator of business activity. Checks and balances that restrain the powerful are an essential part of democratic institutions. 

• How would we characterize the state of democracy and governance across Africa? Are African states generally progressing in implementing good governance?
• How can states ensure that democratic rule becomes firmly established?
• What role can regional organizations play?
• Is there a role for development agencies?

Evening Session: African Diasporas and Africa's Development

Diasporas represent an important pool of human and financial capital, as well as of goodwill, that can help developing countries relieve poverty, trade, invest, and grow. For example, between 2007 and 2016, a 33% increase in migration from the African continent was accompanied by a 36% increase in remittances, which are now larger than foreign aid. Strengthening links with the Diaspora requires investment and reforms that facilitate circular migration, reduce the cost of remittances, and facilitate foreign trade and investment. 

• How do African countries view emigration and what are they doing to strengthen diaspora links? 
• Are African diasporas active in the development of their country of origin, where and how? 
• Do they contribute to governance and political reforms?

What more can be done to regularize migration and make it more productive for the country of origin as well as that of destination?

Evening Session: Asia’s new African horizons

The emergence of China, India and other Asian powers as important players in the twenty-first century’s global economy has had a great impact on world trade and international investment. Trade and investment links between Asia and Africa have intensified since the turn of the century, even as the industrialized countries traditionally active in Africa appear to be retreating. Asian nations have a vital interest in developing Africa’s natural resources, requiring infrastructure investment, and are also interested in delocalizing labor-intensive production to Africa. 

• How extensive is Asian involvement in Africa and where?
• How are Asian countries engaging with the African continent? Is their model different than that of traditional powers, and how?
• Are there risks as well as opportunities, and what are they?
• What more can be done to capitalize on Asia’s interest in Africa? 
• Are these issues viewed differently in Africa and Latin America?

Evening Session: History and Identity

This session will start with a documentary projection, “The History of Africa”. Zeinab Badawi delves into the history of Africa, and in this 9th and final episode, she travels to several countries and looks at the early continental spread of Islam. She shows how Arab culture came to influence a large part of the continent, highlighting the role Islam has played in shaping identities today.