CODESRIA Bulletin Online

Published: August 1, 2022

CODESRIA Bulletin, No 2, 2022
No. 2 (2022)

This issue of the Bulletin comes out at a time when Africa’s approach to foreign relations in an increasingly multipolar world is under scrutiny. The Russia–Ukraine war, nearing its fourth month, has gripped the attention of the world. The future is, as a consequence, being discussed in terms of the outcome of the war and how this outcome will shape it. Western countries have done their best, through the Western media, to propagate a narrative of ‘good’ versus ‘evil’ about the war. This has been done in an attempt to mo- bilise the rest of the world to take sides and perceive the war through the lens of Euro-American hegemony. But the efforts at mobilisation have not been very successful. For Africa, in particular, the responses have been divided, with many countries voting in favour of Ukraine but certainly not buying the overall Western propaganda in which criticism of Russia is cast. Thus, the February vote at the UN General Assembly saw twenty-eight African countries voting in favour of the resolution to condemn the Russian invasion, but seventeen abstaining and one, Eritrea, voting in favour of Russia. It has not been lost to observers that some African countries did not take an outright position during the UN vote. A review of those who abstained shows that they are predominantly countries that Russia supported during the Cold War and in their wars of independence from white settler regimes and apartheid. Read the Full Editorial

Published: June 15, 2022

CODESRIA Bulletin, No 1, 2022
No. 1 (2022)

Over the last two years, political life in West Africa has been disrupted by what some have de- scribed as the ‘return of military coups in Africa’. Between 2020 and 2022, military-staged coups took place in Mali, Chad, Niger, Guinea, Sudan and Burkina Faso. To some observers, this was a return to familiar African ways. The period 2000 to 2020 appears to them to have been only an interlude that eventually had to give way to events in Africa that, by their very nature, test the promise of multiparty politics and neo- liberal economic reforms for democracy and development. The return of coups, especially in the West Africa region, suggests the failure of multipartyism and neo- liberal interventions to deliver on citizens’ expectations for democracy and economic development. Read the Full Editorial

Published: May 30, 2022

CODESRIA Bulletin, No 6, 2021
No. 6 (2021)

Over the last three decades or so, a number of scholars op- erating under the auspices of CODESRIA, and later UNRISD, have dedicated their energies and time to rescuing social policy in Af- rica from external policy manipula- tion and intellectual assault. The as- sault manifested itself in the form of reductionist neoliberal approaches that questioned the role of state in de- velopment generally and the idea and practice of social policy in particular. The external assault reduced the dis- course on development privileging market forces as the key to allocation of public goods. In this scenario, the broad meaning and context of social policy in a developmet context was emptied and reduced to a mere ‘social protection’ function. Read the Full Editorial 

Published: December 18, 2021

CODESRIA Bulletin, No 5, 2021
No. 5 (2021)

This issue of the Bulletin focuses on the West African region, and specifically on ongoing attempts by the political leadership of the countries of the region to establish a common curren- cy. The region presents both political and economic complexity, punctuated by cycles of turbulence manifesting, for example, in the form of extended periods of terror, inter- and intra-regional conflicts and, more recently, periodic public health challenges in the form of the Ebola epidemic and now the coronavirus pandemic. Some of this turbulence has historical origins, especially in the interrupted processes of state-building and subsequent legacies of colonial rule, that have either combined with or accentuated extreme ecological realities that periodically boil over to worsen matters. The region is indeed subject to climatic extremities, and emergencies resulting from this have affected not just everyday livelihoods but have also undermined key productive sectors in region. Read the Full Editorial

Published: December 8, 2021

CODESRIA Bulletin, No 4, 2021
No. 04 (2021)

The articles in this issue of the Bulletin engage with recent trends in politics and development in Africa. They are organised around three thematic concerns and a book symposium. The first theme, addressed in ’Funmi Olonisakin’s article, frames the Pan-African context of Africa’s recent democratisation, peace and security dynamics. The second focuses generally on African poli- tics, and includes articles by Peter Any- ang’ Nyong’o and Issa Shivji, the former discussing the role of political parties in democratisation and development and the latter examining the legacy of the just- ended regime of John Pombe Joseph Ma- gufuli in Tanzania. The third, represented by Jìmí O. Adésínà’s piece, looks at social policy and the potential transformative lessons that can be learned from the Co- vid-19 experience in Africa. The final part of this Bulletin, containing four pieces, is made up of essays that form a symposium on Mahmood Mamdani’s recent book, Neither Settler nor Native: The Making and Unmaking of Permanent Minorities. Each of these concerns deals with a spe- cific theme but collectively they reinforce the key argument about politics, identity and development that is advanced in this issue of the Bulletin. Read the Full Editorial

Published: August 30, 2021

CODESRIA Bulletin, Nos 2 & 3, 2021
No. 02 & 03 (2021)

The history and legacy of Pan-Africanism, as a movement for the emancipation of Africans, is alive and strong, having overcome numerous challenges. Rooted in the foundation laid by seminal actors, such as Marcus Garvey, W. E. B. Du Bois, Julius Nyerere and Kwame Nkrumah, the ideals of Pan- Africanism have remained open to embrace by successive generations. Evidence of the movement’s strength and regeneration emerges periodically across global Africa, when widely publicised grave abuse, violence or oppression of black people catalyses sustained protest. Often, the power of the response is evident in the fact that a plurality of people, in diverse and distant parts of the world, are galvanised into action to forge united rebuttals against such oppressive conditions through various means (including, in the present mo- ment, virtual platforms). Often, the result has been a tactical retreat of the oppressive forces, via miniscule reforms—a grudging acknowledgement of the wrongs against black peoples that is, however, generally followed by a return to life that is more or less the same. In other words, the status quo is maintained, and the cycle repeats over and over again. Read the Full Editorial

Published: June 15, 2021

CODESRIA Bulletin, No 1, 2021
No. 01 (2021)

This issue of CODESRIA Bulletin, the first for 2021, is released after a year that saw the global structures of knowledge production and dissemination disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Africa has so far defied the grim predictions that prophesied immense numbers of fatalities on the continent. The spectre of poor Africans dropping dead every- where has refused to materialise. However, the pandemic is not over yet, and we know that its adverse effects on socioeconomic and political life on the continent, as elsewhere, are already alarming and will be felt for some time to come. CODESRIA has not been spared the impact. The Council’s execution of its intellectual activities in 2020 was affected at the level of regular pro- gramming, especially given that higher education institutions, which are focal points for most of the Council’s activities, were shut across the continent and the cessation of travel allowed for little or no fieldwork for research. Read the Full Editorial

Published: April 3, 2021

CODESRIA Bulletin, Nos 5 & 6, 2020
No. 05 & 06 (2020)

This double issue focuses on the situation in Mali, a country that has faced decades of violence and instability since gaining independence from France in 1960. Since January 2020, Mali has witnessed a series of attacks by various “Jihadists” groups and internal political instability that finally led to a coup and the overthrow of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta in August 2020. The decades of violence and instability in Mali have often drawn the intervention of external actors in ways that have raised the significant question of the nature of the state in Africa and its social contract with citizens. This is of concern not only to Mali. The articles in this Bulletin clearly illustrate that in a world that is increasingly interconnected, where an eruption in one corner easily becomes a reverberating disruption elsewhere, we cannot but see the recent coup in Mali as a national crisis with wider regional consequences. By far the most important dimension to this is that Mali has been a playground of numerous foreign interests that at times trump those of regional and local actors. The contentions between European powers on the one hand and ECOWAS and AU on the other hand is a case in point. Read the Full Editorial

Published: December 16, 2020

CODESRIA Bulletin, No 4, 2020
No. 04 (2020)

This issue of CODESRIA Bulletin is divided into two; the first, a completely thematic cluster two essays on inequality and inclusive development (Jimi Adesina) and the final article on “Mandela- wash” that discusses how the statue of South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, has been used to excuse, rationalise or simply clean up abhorrent acts of abuse, injustice and plunder associated with legacies of apartheid (Robin Cohen). The first cluster of essays is key to the Council’s research agenda. These articles pick up the discussion initiated in CODESRIA Bulletin No. 1, 2020 on Randomised Control Trials and Development Research in Africa. That issue of the Bulletin elicited enormous attention and triggered conversations on different platforms from the CODESRIA community and beyond and through private communication from partner institutions. The Council continues to receive correspondence from other organisations in the global South seeking to partner in conducting extended research on RCTs and the appropriateness and applicability of the methodology to development planning in the global South. We get the sense at CODESRIA that there is a desire from our community and partners engaged in development research in the global South to launch a research program on RCTs that constitutes a front for the liberation and/or protection of the social sciences in the global South from the ravages of unethical experimentation. One pathway to realising this is contained in the call for papers on pages 22 and 28 of this Bulletin. Read the Full Editorial

Published: October 8, 2020

CODESRIA Bulletin, Nos 2 & 3, 2020
No. 02 & 03 (2020)

Special Issue / Tributes to Thandika Mkandawire (1940-2020)

Published: August 19, 2020

CODESRIA Bulletin, No 1, 2020
No. 01 (2020)

This issue of the Bulletin returns to ongoing work theorizing Africa’s economic development. It zeros in on the debate on Randomised Control Trials (RCTs) in the design of development interven- tions for and in Africa. A resurgent area of western in- tellectual curiosity and policy initiative, RCTs recently attracted renewed attention and unexpected validation with the award of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics to Esther Duflo, Abijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer. This trio was awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize for their work in adapting the experimental method of RCTs to the design of development interventions in Africa, and was lauded by the Nobel Committee for thus making a major contribution to poverty alleviation. This catalysed vibrant debates and rebuttal amongst academics, development practitioners and public policy experts that continues to date, including on social media platforms. The debates centred around the merits of applying RCTs to development thinking in the continent. Consistently, interlocuters have sought to contextualise the literature on RCTs within the historical sociology of knowledge production and dissemination, with an emphasis also being placed on the impact on development outcomes. Read the Full Editorial

Published: August 18, 2020

CODESRIA Bulletin, Nos 3 & 4, 2019
No. 03 & 04 (2019)

The year 2019 began with reflections on the 15th CODESRIA General Assembly held in Dakar in December 2018 and explored in Issues Nos 1&2, 2019 of the Bulletin. This double issue of the Bulletin picks up where those reflection in the latter issue ended. It follows up on some of the debates discussed at the plenary and parallel sessions of the Assembly, which explored the gains and losses, opportunities, and challenges of globalisation for the continent under the theme “Africa and the Crisis of Globalisation”. Read the Full Editorial

Published: July 16, 2020

CODESRIA Bulletin, Nos 1 & 2, 2019
No. 01 & 02 (2019)

In 2018, the Council set out to address three scientific and administrative operations after an challenges. This was on top of organising the 15th internal reform process spearheaded by the Executive General Assembly. The first was to consolidate Committee. The second was to complete a smooth leadership transition with the arrival of a new Executive Secretary in mid-2017. The third, and perhaps most pressing, was to reaffirm relations with partners and enter into new partnerships as a strategy of scaling up funding for our scientific programmes. These tasks were all achieved. Read the Full Executive Secretary's Note

Published: April 20, 2020

CODESRIA Bulletin, Nos 3 & 4, 2018
No. 03 & 04 (2018)

The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) learned with immense shock and sadness of the passing on of Professor Samir Amin on Sunday, 12th August 2018. Subsequently, Prof. Samir Amin’s body was interned at Père Lachaise in Paris on 1st September 2018 at a site provided by the French Communist Party. The Council was represented at the burial by Prof. Fatow Sow and Dr. Cherif Sy; two members of the CODESRIA community who have worked with Samir Amin for a while. Read the Full Editorial

Published: January 15, 2019

CODESRIA Bulletin, No 2, 2018
No. 02 (2018)

Early this year, Africa was embroiled in a debate about the description of the continent as ‘shithole.’ Around the same period, thousands of African ‘dreamers’ faced deportation and criminalisation in Israel, following government’s decision to ask them to accept 3500USD and relocate to a third country, return to their home countries or face the threat of incarceration. This law was later suspended in April after protests, an international outcry and legal recourse in Israel. As this happened, in April, a scandal over the citizenship status of mainly Caribbean peoples broke in the UK that mimics similar developments in the US and Israel. This followed a change in immigration law in 2012 that framed the presence of the ‘windrush’ generation as illegal forcing them either to regularise their stay or be deported. Read the Full Editorial

Published: January 15, 2019

CODESRIA Bulletin, No 1, 2018
No. 01 (2018)

This edition of the Bulletin is published on the backdrop of celebrations marking the birth of the Council. This year, CODESRIA turned forty-five, a remarkable achievement for an organisation that started in the 1960s as the Council of Directors of Economic and Social Research Institutes in Africa. In 1973, it was formally established as an independent panAfrican research organisation with Samir Amin as first Executive Secretary. February has therefore become a special month for the Council. Read the Full Editorial 

Published: January 15, 2019

CODESRIA Bulletin, Nos 3 & 4, 2017
No. 03 & 04 (2017)

The theme for this edition of the CODESRIA Bulletin is curled from the thematic priorities of the 2017-2021 Strategic Plan. These are: ‘Democratic processes, governance, citizenship and security in Africa’ and ‘Ecologies, Economies and Societies in Africa.’ The Bulletin addresses two important sets of questions. The first focuses on how Africa, along with all the changes and transformations that define it today, is and should be governed. That includes issues of statehood, democratization, the rule of law and human rights, security and violence, transitional justice, and other attendant governance processes and mechanisms at local, national, regional and international levels. These continue to constitute some of the most important issues of concern in many African countries that, naturally, also orient the work of the Council. The second explores aspects of the Anthropocene in Africa, the forms it takes, its histories and trajectories and impact on a broad set of sectors including the continent’s burgeoning economies. This theme provokes important questions related to land, food security and poverty that persistently dominate public debate and remain of global concern. Africa continues to be challenged by the contradictions and complexities of ‘development’, climate change and population growth, especially in cities. The evolving nature of rural and urban centres, particularly propelled by the growing purchasing power of new elites, coupled with the expanding wealth gap are redefining and creating new dynamics for cohabitation. Insecurity, uncertainty and undignified living constitute key challenges for a continent that continues to struggle with the global capitalist system. Read the Full Editorial

Published: January 15, 2019

CODESRIA Bulletin, Nos 1 & 2, 2017
No. 01 & 02 (2017)

This issue of the CODESRIA Bulletin is produced at the end of the 2013–2016 programme cycle, and therefore at the beginning of a new programatic cycle and strategic plan. The 2017–2021 programme cycle has been entrusted with: “Reaching New Frontiers in Social Science Research and Knowledge Production for African Transformation and Development.” The new strategic plan builds on the recommendations of major comprehensive internal reviews aimed at sharpening the council’s mandate to develop the social sciences and humanities in Africa for better transformation and development within the context of continual global changes. These include: review of the intellectual agenda, membership, governance and management. The new strategic plan builds on the achievements of the past strategic cycle, ensuring consolidation and renewal, and ushering innovations in programme delivery and management; deeply emphasising the importance of basic research, and its relevance for policy, as well as community and civil society engagements. The new strategic plan prioritises three key thematic areas: democratic processes, governance, citizenship and security; ecologies, economies and societies; and higher education dynamics in a changing Africa. In addition to these three thematic priorities, a set of six crosscutting themes meant to suffuse all CODESRIA research; training and publications have been set. These include: gender; generations; alternatives and futures; inequality, rurality and urbanity; and memory and history. Most notable is a re-imagination and narrowing of research vehicles such as the traditional National Working Groups, Comparative Research Networks, and Multinational Working Groups which have now been collapsed under one vehicle – the Meaning-Making Research Initiative (MRI) to offer researchers the space to carryout and produce deeper empirical but also much more theoretically grounded and policy relevant basic research. Read the Full Editorial

Published: June 22, 2018

CODESRIA Bulletin, Nos 3 & 4, 2016
No. 03 & 04 (2016)

Ours is the era of the anthropocene; the age in which the human factor is, it is agreed, probably more determining in almost everything than it has ever been. The very first question that this raises is how to understand this era, and finding answers to that question requires the full mobilization of the humanities and social sciences. It also calls for a repositioning of the disciplines in order to make them speak to each other in ways that could make multidisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity truly meaningful. Another question that arises is that of how to build a new ‘civilization’, which, after all, is what ‘development’ according to one of the founders of CODESRIA, Professor Samir Amin, should be about. The new civilization will be ecological and characterized by all the good things that make our societies, economies and governance systems, and our world more inclusive, just, and accommodating; in short: democratic and ‘developing’. It would certainly not be ‘dreamland’ or nirvana, but one where the ‘good life’ for the individual and collective would not seem totally unrealizable. Read the Full Editorial

Published: December 21, 2016