Who will fund Africa's Development?

The opening day of the OpenForum will focus on Money and will kick off with a critical debate about who will fund Africa's Development

Richard Lee's picture

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Strategic communications for WWF

May 6th, 2012

Following the keynote address from the President of the Open Society Foundations, Aryeh Neier, the opening day of the OpenForum on Money, Power and Sex: The Paradox of Unequal Growth will focus on Money – kicking off with a debate about who will fund Africa’s Development.

The opening plenary brings together a remarkable panel – Graca Machel, Professor Thandika Mkandawire, Charles Abugre, Neville Gabrielle and moderator, Joanna Kerr – to discuss Africa’s development trajectory over the next decade and seek to understand how it can be financed in light of the Eurozone crisis, the end of the Millennium Development Goals framework, the extractives-led economic boom in many parts of the continent, and the growing importance of China, India and Brazil as investors and development partners. 

Some of the key questions that the panellists will discuss, include:

  • What institutions fund and/or influence African development and how is this likely to shift in the next 5–10 years?
  • Who controls the development agendas pursued by most of the countries on the continent?
  • Are there particular countries that are getting it right in terms of development and how are they different from those that are getting it wrong?
  • Whose agendas are served when development goes wrong?
  • How can macro-economic policy, development funding, and trade agendas more meaningfully serve the interests of poor people, women, young people and marginalised communities?
  • Where are the movements and energies around the answers to these questions?

But there will be many more – from the audience in the auditorium at the International Cape Town Convention Centre and from further afield. Indeed, anyone can send a question on twitter to and the most thought-provoking will be put to the panellists on the day.

Speaking of which….

Graca Machel is a renowned international advocate for women and children’s rights and has been a social and political activist over many decades. She currently serves in various capacities in several organizations, among them the Elders, the Africa Progress Panel, and the UN Millennium Development Goals Advocates Panel. She is also an Eminent Person of the GAVI Alliance and the UN Foundation, Chair of the Board of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes and Chancellor of the University of Cape Town. She was just appointed President of the London School of Oriental and African Studies. She is the founder and President of the Graca Machel Trust.

Professor Thandika Mkandawire is the Professor of African Development at the London School of Economics. He is also the Olof Palme Professor for Peace with the Institute for Future Studies in Stockholm. Previously, he was the Director of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development and Director of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa as well as a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Development Research in Copenhagen. He has taught at the Universities of Stockholm and Zimbabwe. He has written extensively on development theory, economic policy and development and social policy in developing countries and political economy of development in Africa.

Charles Abugre is the Regional Director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign, based in Nairobi. He was previously, the Head of the Global Advocacy and Policy Division of Christian Aid (UK), the Executive Director of the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), Ghana, the African regional coordinator of the Third World Network and a lecturer at the University of Swansea. He is trained as a development economist. He is a Ghanaian by nationality.

Neville Gabrielle is the founding executive director of the Southern Africa Trust, an independent agency that supports deeper and wider policy engagement between governments and non-state actors to overcome poverty in southern Africa. He is also a trustee of OSISA and the African Forum on Debt and Development based in Harare, and a member of the founding steering committee of the African Grantmakers’ Network. Previously, Neville worked at Oxfam as its southern Africa regional media and advocacy coordinator and at the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference. He co-founded the Jubilee 2000 South Africa coalition for debt cancellation as part of the global Jubilee movement.

In 2010, Joanna Kerr became CEO of ActionAid International, an NGO with over 2800 staff working in over 40 countries with a mission to end poverty and injustice. Previously, she worked at Oxfam Canada and for seven years she was executive director of the Association of Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), which she transformed into an international, feminist membership organisation, mobilising almost 7000 people and 200 organisations. She has extensive experience of international governance and strategic links to international networks as well as many years of policy research experience focused on gender and economic reforms, particularly in Africa working with the North-South Institute in Canada.

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