The Paradox of Unequal Growth

Looking back at the OpenForum

Richard Lee's picture

Author

Strategic communications for WWF

December 14th, 2012

OpenForum 2012 brought 674 activists, academics, artists, businesspeople and decision-makers to Cape Town to discuss the factors that will influence the African democracy and governance agenda over the next decade, debate the paradox of unequal growth and turn innovative ideas into action that promotes real change. Co-hosted by the four Africa Foundations of the Open Society, the inaugural OpenForum took place from May 22-24 under the theme of Money, Power and Sex: The paradox of unequal growth.

Within the broad overall theme, the OpenForum focussed on the roles of India, Brazil and China as drivers of growth on the continent but also increasingly as important actors in the political and social affairs of African countries. Layered on top of this, was an interest in how inequality – across money, power and sex – affects young people. In the shadow of the North African and Arab Spring revolutions, the OpenForum looked at who is being left behind as the race for resources plays itself out in Africa, and who – equally importantly – is being pushed aside.

The OpenForum provided space for a range of African actors – prominent and well known, as well as younger and newer voices – to take a critical look at the factors that will influence the African democracy and governance agenda over the next decade - as well as an opportunity for Brazilian, Russina, Indian and Chinese thinkers, policy-makers and activists to participate.

With a focus on poverty and inequality, and on the role of the BRICS countries in particular, the OpenForum also provided a much-needed opportunity for those engaged in questions of poverty and development to interact with those who work on human rights, justice and governance issues. 

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