Workshop: Build a Vision and the strategic, political and the intellectual capacities required to rebuild a dynamic African economy

Build integrated communities and endogenous research networks focusing on African economies and societies

Africa’s poverty is fundamentally associated with a lack of endogenous reflection on African development and suitable ways of participating in the world economy. Seen in this light, the African crisis is first of all a crisis of the ‘pre-formatted’ African elites, the State and development partners who believe in a certain ‘duped modernity’ based on a technico-industrial and commercial rational. This modernity harms large portions of the population and destabilises their world view; it also fails to show its coherence and suitability to African realities. To prosper, African development strategies should be built on a different notion of the economy that is capable of taking into account the realities and basic values of African societies, as well as non-commercial and non-monetary factors in economic dynamics.

We must restore Africans’ confidence and capacity to construct solutions capable of meeting the continent’s development challenges. To achieve this goal, public and private institutions and endogenous research networks must be created –and existing ones reinforced – at all levels: local, national, sub-regional and continental. Knowledge, know-how and technologies focused on African needs and anchored in the realities of African society must subsequently be showcased, protected and encouraged.

Above and beyond a re-conceptualisation of African development, this endogenous research community should endeavour to rethink the African economy’s analysis tools, instruments and information systems to connect research more closely to real dynamics and thus strengthen the rational and scientific foundations of public decisions and private sector choices.

Train and mobilise high-quality human resources to serve the continent’s economy and development

Africa is immensely rich, but Africans are dramatically poor. This fact demonstrates that people are the most important development resource. Still colonised in their heads, and fascinated by models developed elsewhere for other realities, Africans continue to perpetuate educational and training institutions and systems that are entirely unsuited to their interests and needs. Because of this, Africa has since the outset produced and maintained an ‘un-rooted’ intelligentsia, a ‘cosmetic intellectual elite’ that has encouraged poor governance and been incapable of nurturing and inseminating the continent’s development potential. Nor has this elite been able to respond to populations’ legitimate aspirations, comfortable as they are in their collusion with foreign interests, and lacking the strength to pull themselves up to the rank of full-fledge actor in globalisation.

To profit from its natural resources and develop successfully, Africa must first recover full and complete sovereignty over its human resources, particularly by carrying out bold reforms to adapt education, training and research systems to the realities and needs of the African economy and African societies. Seen in this light, the citizenship crisis invites us to rethink education: as a basis for collective values encouraging the development of each individual in a spirit of respect for the meaning and goals of life in society, and as the ethical and political foundation of a “common commitment to life in common”. The structure and malfunctions of African economies, for their part, surely oblige us to raise and strengthen the access to and quality of scientific and technical education associated with the challenges and opportunities for development in Africa. Consequently, education must be reinvented so that it provides a solid foundation for a new type of African, as well as integrated training systems that are based on excellence and are at the service of African societies.