Blog

Placing People at the Heart of African Economics

capeIn January 2016, Greive Chelwa joined the Harvard University Center for African Studies as an African Studies Postdoctoral Fellow. An economist by trade, Chelwa explores the importance of putting people at the heart of his work in the piece below:

It’s common for economists to describe their work as falling into one type of economics. There are "industrial economists”, “labor economists”, “macroeconomists”, “behavioral economists”, “trade economists”, “development economists”, “growth economists”, “health economists" and so on. Whereas demarcating terrain in this way is understandable — for instance in stressing different types of methodological approaches — it can and has caused economists to lose sight of the forest for the trees.

Texts, Knowledge, Practice: The Meaning of Scholarship in Muslim Africa

Sitting at the intersection of African, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies, Islam in Africa has long suffered from a crisis of disciplinary identity. Neither strictly area nor religious studies, Islam in Africa has only recently received attention within the academy. The shift is long overdue; Africa has influenced scholarship throughout the Islamic World for more than a millennium. With the spread of Arabic literacy, African scholars developed a rich tradition of debate over orthodoxy and meaning in Islam.

Spatializing Social Research: Locating Peace after Mass Violence

Delia Wendel, Lecturer in Landscape Architecture at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design, combines spatial and social research strategies in her work in post-genocide Rwanda. Wendel’s contribution critically analyzes Rwanda’s villagization policy as part of its peacebuilding efforts after a devastating civil war. Below, Wendel discusses her work, in a blog that originally appeared as a post on Items, The Social Science Research Council blog: 

Building African Cities through Smart Infrastructure Planning

John MacomberRapidly growing cities in Africa and around the world are constrained by the funding and delivery of basic infrastructure, including water, transit, power, and communications. New technologies, new business models, public-private partnerships, and increasing interest from financial investors should be able to mitigate some of these constraints, help individuals to improve their lives, and provide attractive business and investing opportunities. In theory, well-matched finance, appropriate design, and capable execution in addressing these components of cities can help urban areas to be more competitive with other cities, more environmentally friendly, and better able to provide opportunity for residents.

Harvard Business School’s Africa Business Club Pursues a More Inclusive Africa

While the story of Africa's economic growth has been amply celebrated in recent years, the Harvard Business School’s Africa Business Club (HBS ABC) saw a gap in inclusivity and sustainable progress in Africa’s story. Defining inclusivity in terms of socioeconomic segments, industries, gender, and sectors, HBS ABC sees an opportunity to promote growth that cuts across sectors, will generate multiplier effects in the African economy and will promote political stability --led by the private sector.

Islam in Africa Lecture Series Explores Sociocultural Experiences of Muslims

djenne_great_mud_mosqueThe historical legacy of Islamic culture in Africa is rich and diverse. This culture is also impacted and transformed by a rapidly modernizing and globalizing African continent. To explore the nexus between Islamic tradition and the modern experience of Muslims in Africa, The Center for African Studies held the first session of the Islam in Africa Seminar Series, co-hosted with the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University.

Workshopping Innovation and Cooperative Research in Global Law and Policy

"As you travel across Africa, you observe one thing about how Africa is growing: graceless poverty, sitting beside unbelievable wealth. I think the idea of inclusive growth should be front and center in policy discussions in Africa and regulatory mechanisms to promote it must be enacted throughout the continent,” Nigerian native, Chilenye Nwapi, representing the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Law in Canada, raised the issues around how to promote inclusive growth in Africa and the world during the pilot initiative of the Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP).

Lessons in African Entrepreneurialism with Aliko Dangote

Lagos-based Dangote Group represents one of Africa’s most successful conglomerates, with diversified activities in flour, sugar, cement, steel, and numerous other sectors. The Group’s business activities span over a dozen African countries like Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, and Zambia, with projects in Asia also being explored. Founder of the organization Aliko Dangote has spearheaded a multi-million dollar charitable foundation that has provided post-famine aid to Niger, contributed to flood relief in Pakistan, and encouraged leadership training in Nigeria.