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International Workshop

Transforming Africa - Africa transforming?

24.-27. November 2015
Venue: STIAS, Stellenbosch (South Africa)

Sub-Saharan Africa has for long been associated with foreign extraction and appropriation of its natural resources, in particular mineral resources and land. Resulting from foreign, but also local, struggles over these resources the continent continues to face various environmental and social issues.

Starting with European colonialism, we addressed in three panels a number of historical, contemporary and future issues respectively. This offered the opportunity for a lively discussion about continuity and change in the context of Africa’s resources – including the role of foreign investment, local African dynamics, and the interactions between them.

The first panel „Past visions of the future. Ecological anxieties and land in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1870 – 1950“ brought together case studies on convictions of forest loss, anxieties about the rapid advance of desertification, desiccation and land degradation, as well as more recent concerns with climate change and declines in biodiversity.

The second panel „Foreign investment and sustainable development in contemporary African economies“ explored contemporary interactions between foreign investments and the African context in which these investments materialize.

The third panel „Transforming the future of Africa“ focused on future uses of resources in Africa with an emphasis on land. Contributors provided cases of competing claims to land and discussed questions of access to land and its resources.