The political economy of urban reform in Africa: Call for papers

Feb 22, 2022

The African Cities Research Consortium (ACRC) will convene a panel at this year’s Development Studies Association Conference, exploring new research on the political economy of urban reform in African cities. The panel will have a dedicated focus on dealing with Covid-19 and on the role of coalitions in promoting more just and sustainable urban futures.

There is a call for papers ahead of the conference in July, with a deadline of 4 March for all proposals. ACRC welcomes proposals for papers using political economy analysis to unpack the challenges facing African cities and/or on how a new generation of politically feasible reforms aimed at tackling these challenges might emerge.

Convened by Sam Hickey, Diana Mitlin, Tim Kelsall and Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai, ACRC’s panel will showcase new work that uses a political economy perspective to understand both the challenges facing African cities and the prospects for interventions and reforms that can address them.

At least three sessions will be organised by ACRC, including:

> One or two sessions based on the use of political settlements analysis to help advance our understanding of the challenges facing African cities. A conceptual paper plus case studies drawn from Accra, Freetown, Harare, Lilongwe, Maiduguri, Mogadishu and Nairobi will be submitted in advance. Expert chairs will ensure that an active discussion is organised around key themes.

> A session on the politics of Covid-19, drawing both on top-down interventions and the remaking of bottom-up coalitions pressing for reform in Kampala, Lilongwe, Mogadishu and Nairobi. This will also examine urban management and governance under the stress of the pandemic.

> A roundtable session, focused on a paper exploring the role that reform coalitions can play in navigating the politics of African cities in pursuit of more just and sustainable solutions. The lead author is Diana Mitlin. ACRC will compose a panel of both academic and policy experts, from the global South and North, to discuss the paper and its implications for a new generation of reforms in African cities.

The online conference will take place from 6-8 July, with a central theme of just and sustainable futures in an urbanising and mobile world.

For more information about submitting a proposal for a paper, please visit the DSA Conference website.


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Header photo credit: Kwame Kwegyir-Addo / Getty Images. Aerial view of the Tetteh Quarshie to Aburi road in Accra, Ghana.

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