Enterprise Development in Africa
| "Enterprise development in Africa over the years has been bedeviled with challenges," noted mr . Kwasi Abeasi. Without promoting any one miracle cure he concluded that "The causes are varied, but are gradually being surmounted."
The workshop Enterprise Development in Africa - Approaches, potentials, challenges, was organised in Oslo 27th May 2010, by cooperation between SINTEF and Africa Network Norway. The purpose was to facilitate dialogue between researchers, consultants, NGOs and Norwegian companies who are working with enterprise development in Africa. There was an interesting keynote by Kwasi Abeasi, former Chief Executive of the African Business Roundtable, who summarised key challenges to private sector development using his own country Ghana as a case. This was followed by presentations based on a variety of projects, ranging from research and development at CMI and SINTEF to consultancy by Norplan and Hartmark, to more practical business challenges encountered by companies such as Statoil, Yara and Trønder Energi, and a very useful overview of Norad's policies and concerns in this area.
Some of the identified and most important challenges/potential topic areas for further exchange were how to
- gather and develop more firm-specific info for African countries
- identify and learn more about the growth factors behind the positive investment atmosphere in Africa these days
- shift from focus on plans for private sector development, to why their implementation often tends to fail/fall short
- gain more knowledge about SME contraints
- study new approaches to private enterprise development that are developed locally
- how to understand and tackle corruption, as a complex, ever-present challenge
- facilitation of fruitful community relations (issues of involvement and participation)
- supplier development
- monitoring and evaluation of CSR activities
- entrepreneurship, human capital development
- how to understand and relate to local land issues
All are areas where the research community, consultants and Norwegian companies with African engagements may have something to learn from each other, so Africa Network Norway and SINTEF will try to follow up on some of this by organising more focused forums later on. Any input from our users on this (on which topic to prioritise, interesting potential keynote speakers, or other) will be greatly appreciated.
Dialogues with Mozambique
The AEGIS Thematic conference "Dialogues with Mozambique" was held at NTNU in Trondheim, March 5-6 2010. The conference was organised by Africa Network Norway and NTNU's Programme for African Studies, with guest researcher Sheila Khan as convenor. Our aim was to bring together researchers, practitioners, and students concerned with Mozambique's development and future challenges. Two main questions were addressed:
- What are the contemporary debates, reflections and research projects on Mozambican Studies?
- What can we learn from Mozambique as a democratic African country?
Professor Cabaco and Sheila Khan.
Professor Gentili and Ingrid Lehn, from the organising committee.
Invited keynote speakers José Luis Cabaco (Professor, Universidade Tècnica de Mocambique) and Anna Maria Gentili (Professor, University of Bologna) gave wonderful talks, and there were 25 paper presentations under 4 panel headings:
- State and democracy in Mozambique
- Narrating the nation
- Knowledge, science, and epistemology
- Mozambican Literature and Cultural Production
The full conference programme with abstracts is available here. There are plans to present the results in the form of a joint publication, and at the closing of the conference there was a call and apparent consensus that this should or could be the first in a series of annual or biannual conferences on Mozambican Studies, rotating among different countries and research institutions.
Dialogues - both in and between sessions!
Professor Signe Arnfred, Roskilde University.