AfREC members contribute to new book on Africa and the SDGs


Eight members of AfREC have contributed to a new collaborative international book project exploring Africa’s interaction with the SDGs. The volume, Africa and the Sustainable Development Goals, will be published in Springer’s Sustainable Development Goals series in September 2019. The book’s foreword is written by Bience Gawanas, Special Adviser on Africa to the UN Secretary-General and former African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs.

The book draws upon the expertise and international research collaborations forged by the Worldwide Universities Network Global Africa Group to critically engage with the intersection, in theory and practice, of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Africa’s development agendas and needs. Further, it argues that – and demonstrates how – the SDGs should be understood as an aspirational blueprint for development with multiple meanings that are situated in dynamic and contested terrains. As the SDGs have substantial implications for development policy and resourcing at both the macro and micro levels, their relevance is not only context-specific but should also be assessed in terms of the aspirations and needs of ordinary citizens across the continent.

Drawing on analyses and evidence from both the natural and social sciences, the book demonstrates that progress towards the SDGs must meet demands for improving human well-being under diverse and challenging socio-economic, political and environmental conditions. Examples include those from the mining industry, public health, employment and the media. In closing, it highlights how international collaboration in the form of research networks can enhance the production of critical knowledge on and engagement with the SDGs in Africa.

The book is Co-Edited by AfREC Director Dr David Mickler and Professor Maano Ramutsindela, Dean of Science at the University of Cape Town and a member of the AfREC Advisory Board. Dr Mickler and Prof. Ramutsindela were Co-Chairs of the WUN Global Africa Group, 2015-18.

The book features some 81 contributing co-authors across 26 chapters. Contributions from AfREC members include the following:

  • AfREC Research Fellow Prof. Erika Techera is co-author of Chapter 21 “Achieving SDG 14 in the African Small Island Developing States of the Indian Ocean”

  • AfREC Advisory Board Member Dr Kathryn Sturman and AfREC Industry Coordinator Dr Muza Gondwe are among the co-authors of Chapter 6 “African Mining and the SDGs: From Vision to Reality?”

  • AfREC Postgraduate Coordinator Muhammad Dan Suleiman and AfREC Postgraduate Fellow Isaac Mensah are among the co-authors of Chapter 8 “Small-Scale Mining, the SDGs and Human Insecurity in Ghana”

  • Dr Mickler and Prof. Ramutsindela are co-authors of Chapter 1 “Global Goals and African Development”

  • Dr Mickler and AfREC Advisory Board Member Dr George Mukundi Wachira are co-authors of Chapter 5 “The AU’s African Governance Architecture and SDG 16: Examining Intersections”

  • Prof. Ramutsindela is co-author of Chapter 19 “Biodiversity, Wildlife and the Land Question in Africa”

The book project was launched at the WUN Global Africa Group Strategic Research Workshop at the University of Ghana in June 2017. A book authors’ workshop was then convened at the University of Cape Town, South Africa in December 2017 and a follow-up public panel discussion on “Africa and Sustainable Development Agendas” held at UWA on Africa Day 2018, before a WUN Global Africa Group Research Impact Workshop on “Implementing the SDGs in East Africa: Translating Collaborative Research into Policy Impact” was convened at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, in November 2018.

AfREC will convene a book launch later in the year to celebrate the publication of the volume.

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