The Next Chapter: Africa in the Global Context

According to the United Nations, in the 1990’s much of Africa’s industry stood at a very delicate position professionally, socially, and economically. The legacy of colonialism in many countries, the destabilizing influence of political events and civil wars, the devastating influence of World Bank policies on higher education in Africa, and the role of international agencies in exploiting Africa’s resources had left Africa behind, and kept it there.

Just two decades later, Africa has made enormous progress towards integrating itself into the global economy. Africa has been the second-fastest-growing region in the world over the past 10 years, with an average annual growth of 5.1 per cent. 31 million African households have joined the world’s consuming class, and African nations represent half of the world’s 20 fastest growing economies. Countries are also making great strides in other sectors, such as governance, education, health, and entertainment. Africa is on the rise. As the world continues to work towards global connectedness, it is important to take a look at the rewards and consequences of globalization of Africa.

While this increase in globalization on the continent might be propelling Africa onto the world stage, it also risks simultaneously marginalizing certain demographics and communities. The clear disparities between the rich and poor in global opportunities offered in trade, investment, and technology are signs of the negatively skewed effects of globalization. In light of this rapid globalization, it is crucial that we harness the diaspora and prevent the perpetuation of disparities by identifying our strengths and championing appropriate strategies for success.

This year’s conference will be aimed at assessing Africa’s social, economic, political, and cultural capital in a global context. We will take a look at Africa’s interactions and exchanges across all corners of the globe, what Africans are producing for the rest of the world, and the value of the African voice in international discourse. Our panels and break-out sessions will examine the socio-cultural and economic dynamics of Africa and Africans around the world and how these dynamics affect development and identity on the continent.

Together, as scholars, professionals, and global thinkers, we will conduct a thoughtful appraisal of Africa’s global presence in order to better understand the unique position in which Africa stands in the world today, and how this next chapter of globalization can lead us into an age of unity and prosperity.