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Inequality in Africa: Economic Vulnerability, Environmental Risks, and Inequitable Access to Justice


The debate on inequality has become a true global phenomenon. Oxfam report (2015) warned that “the combined wealth of the richest 1% will overtake that of the other 99% of people next year unless the current trend of rising inequality is checked.” It estimates “that the lower half of the global population possesses barely 1% of global wealth, while the richest 10% of adults own 86% of all wealth, and the top 1% account for 46% of the total. " Business leaders at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos called it “one of the biggest threats to the world economy.”

The long-held belief of the ‘trickle-down economy’ has been questioned, as economic growth has not been translated into a reduction in inequality. The debate has gained momentum in Africa as well. Within the ‘Africa Rising’ euphoria, the sharp increases in inequality were momentarily downplayed in the assumption that economic growth would benefit the societies as a whole. The renewed debate has shown that poverty reduction cannot be taken as a natural outcome of economic growth. Higher GDP does not necessarily address the fundamental inequality within a given society. Poverty is now framed in light of deliberate exclusion and exploitation - a systematic denial of entitlements to resources and services and an exclusion to participate on equal terms in social, economic, political and cultural arenas. Inequality is a fundamental component of the distribution of worldwide resource use and its effect on the environment and climate change. In Africa, as anywhere else, inequality is seen as a destabilizing factor in societies.

As exclusion and inequality affects every section of society,  the proposed conference focuses on several  interconnected and interdisciplinary themes.

Growth, Inequality and Poverty

Papers analyzing the causes of inequality, linkages between inequality growth poverty and labor markets are welcome.

Regional Integration and Inequality

We welcome papers exploring the state of play, causes and consequences of trade, growth and developmental inequalities in Africa, with a particular focus on the role of regional integration.

Taxation, Natural Resources and Inequality

This sub-theme explores the inequality engendered by the ineffective capture of taxation from extractive operations. Papers exploring the causes, consequences, and solutions to inadequate resource capture from the extractive industries and the effect of ineffective taxation regimes on inequality are welcomed.

Access to Justice and Inequality

The ability to effectively assert rights and seek redress through the legal system is one of the biggest components of a free and just society. Papers tracing the evolution of regional access to justice programs and evaluating their impact on inequality are highly welcomed.

Access to information and Inequality

Access to information is one of the most effective ways inwhich ordinary citizens can hold their governments accountable. Under this theme, the inequities perpetuated in information black holes are explored. Papers examining the effects of information inequality are particularly welcome, as are papers reflecting on the advocacy efforts that have been undertaken in this area.

Theoretical and empirical papers, action research and case studies on the above theme using a range of scholarly approaches including qualitative, quantitative and critical methods with data-driven conclusions are welcomed.

Proposals must include the name, title, and institutional or organizational affiliation and full contact details of the person or persons submitting the document. All proposals should be no longer than 400 words, contain five key words, and sent to

Limited funding is available to assist presenters with travel costs.

The deadline for submission is March 30th, 2017.

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poster inequality