Section on African Public Administration (SAPA) Symposium

“Vision 2020 for Africa’s Development Transformation: Challenges & Opportunities”
Call for Proposals

The African continent experienced considerable economic growth in the past decade and this is projected to continue, and even outpace other regions of the world. Along the same lines, McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) not only describes Africa as a ‘continent on the move,' but also as ‘lions on the move’ (MGI, 2010). Furthermore, Barton and Leke (2016) highlighted that ‘Africa’s economic lions are still moving forward’ because of three trends which favor Africa’s future:
  1. Africa has a young population and a growing labor force which is a valuable asset in a world with an aging population
  2. Africa is still urbanizing and this has prospects for increasing consumer demand for goods and services by households and businesses
  3. Africa is ‘well positioned to benefit from rapidly accelerating technological change that can unlock growth and leapfrog the limitations and costs of physical infrastructure in important areas of economic life.’
Moreover, Chironga, Leke, Lund,and Van Wamelen contend that ‘In many ways Africa holds the same potential that China did 20 years ago’. Consequently, it is imperative that the rich resources (natural, human and capital) of the continent are managed in a sustainable and prudent manner for future generations. Unfortunately, while many African countries have seen steady economic growth, the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) claims that most countries have struggled to leverage that growth into sustainable development policies and plans.

The purpose of SAPA Symposium at ASPA National Conference 2020 is to bring to the same table scholars and practitioners from the African continent, the United States and other regions of the world to ponder over the continent's current development challenges and offer smart practices on how to move forward in respect to improving African countries' governance, management, infrastructure and financial capabilities while addressing the complex needs of their 1.2 billion population. At the heart of this pracademic discourse should be how to strengthen or perhaps tune in the current public administration, public policy and networked governance of African countries toward the increasingly complex and complicated needs of one of the World's largest and fast growing youth population, projected to increase by 50% by 2050.

The Symposium is divided into four interrelated tracks outlined below:

Track I: Transformative Leadership and Governance
  • Why is developing a new crop of public sector leadership in Africa critical?
  • What concrete strategies and policies African public sector institutions should implement to support their transformational development goals (in alignment with Africa’s 2063, UN SDGs, and grassroots-formulated development agendas)?
  • How can we strengthen accountability, transparency, professionalism and ethics in African public sector leadership and governance?
  • How could African decisionmakers tap into interdisciplinary partnerships focused on targeted transformational development issues?
  • What is the current state and outcomes of citizen engagement in African public governance and policy?
  • How can African youth be more empowered and engaged in their respective countries’ development governance?

Track II: Fostering Effective Development Policy and Management
  • How could elected officials and civil servants ensure that resources for transformational development are channeled and utilized effectively, efficiently and ethically?
  • How could African policy makers involve public, private, and civil society organizations in the design, formulation, implementation, and evaluation of national transformational development strategies?
  • What ought to be the role of citizen involvement in monitoring government performance?
  • What concrete strategies can be proposed to rally the stakes of political leaders, civil servants, policy makers and citizens around a more concerted collective vision of national development?
  • What ought to be the role of African Public Administration scholars and practitioners in promoting “transformational” while “adaptive” management and public policy systems?
  • What can be said about the current state of the African Third Sector interventions and performance in fostering transformational development?
  • Role of Higher Education Institutions in Africa's future human capital, knowledge and talent management
  • SAPA’s contribution in periodically tracking SDGs 2030 and Africa 2063 milestones: Benchmarking & Metrics; countering the challenges of tracking transformational development progress

Track III: African Infrastructure: Assessment of Gaps and Opportunities
  • What are the African continent’s immediate and acute infrastructure gaps?
  • What are the concrete strategies African government sectors can implement to close the infrastructure deficit?
  • What has been the public sector capacity in monitoring the role and performance of investors—domestic and foreign—in financing physical infrastructure assets such as roads, bridges, ports, airports, railway lines, toll roads, power stations, hospitals and information and communications technology (ICT)?
  • Have Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) delivered efficient and cost-effective infrastructure and services?
  • What can be said about the role of regional banks and foreign investment in financing African infrastructure?
  • What pragmatic solutions will support Africa’s infrastructure transformation?

Track IV: Public and Development Finance
  • What are the current and most urgent impediments to effective management and optimum utilization of financial resources/capacity in African countries (e.g.: revenue mobilization, budget allocation and execution, auditing, tax administration)?
  • What are some of the strategies and smart practices to prevent and combat illicit financial flows?
  • What have been the advantages and limitations of the “extractive development” model as a strategy to strengthen public finance capacity?
  • How could African leaders prioritize the effective management of extractives for development transformation?
  • Foreign aid, Foreign direct investment and Africa’s development: Lessons Learned
  • Self-Finance & Development: Comparative Lessons from the Third Sector
  • Youth involvement in entrepreneurship
  • Diaspora and Investment in Africa

Submission Protocol for Papers and Professional Presentation Proposals
SAPA Symposium program committee welcomes the submission of proposals for individual papers and fully formed panels in alignment with the aforementioned ASPA 2020 Annual Conference themes and tracks. Dissemination of high-quality conceptual, theoretical, empirical, policy- and practice-oriented research is strongly expected. All proposals should:
  1. briefly explain how the paper or panel connects to the overall Round Table theme
  2. note the individual conference track in which the proposal best fits
  3. include 3-4 keywords
  4. provide complete contact information for the corresponding individual

Proposals for individual papers and professional presentations should include an abstract of 250-400 words. Proposals for fully formed panels should consist of three to four complementary papers and include an abstract of 400-600 words.

Review of SAPA Symposium proposal submissions will begin on October 15, 2019 and continue through December 15, 2019. The program committee will review the proposals and notifications of decisions will be made via email on or before January 10, 2020. Proposals should be emailed to the program committee chair Dr. Simone Martin (