The Council on African Security and Development (CASADE) is a non-profit research-driven collectivity of experts and academics dedicated to a holistic advancement of Africa and its inhabitants. It serves as a reservoir of experts that African ministries, agencies, universities, and international organizations may confidently and readily access for specific projects, guidance, and counsel. Its vision for Africa is multi-faceted: to see an end to ethnic and religious tensions that lead to civil strife, violence and instability with the potential to disable and discourage sustained human and economic development; to bring to an end pervasive hunger and privation that have singularly defined the lots of individuals and groups in the continent; and ultimately to witness an African renaissance with its own brand of democracy in which human rights and dignity are advanced and protected, and its economies are less dependent on primary commodities and natural resources. Given these preferred visions for Africa, the means to them must equally be multi-faceted.
While countries in Europe, Asia, and North America have benefited immensely from the Industrial and Green Revolutions, those in Africa remain trapped in debilitating poverty, inadequate or non-existent infrastructures, and poor healthcare delivery systems. Received wisdom amongst development experts is that Africa, while unfortunate, is perhaps destined to remain in this state of social and economic affairs so long as enabling domestic institutions are not re-aligned with best practices, and do not self-correct. Evidence that inhabitants of Africa have fared very poorly since the late 1980s is incontestable; but it is also in evidence that certain African countries have shown remarkable social and economic improvements in subsequent years. But what are the causes of the positive experiences some African countries have enjoyed so far? Can these experiences be repeated elsewhere in Africa, and if so, to what extent are the causes transmittable, and sustained in the continent?
These questions, in substance, implicate the following public policy issues: are observable improvements in some African countries in the areas of finance, telecommunication, agriculture, and low-scale manufacturing isolated instances or harbingers of a broader process in place that may, with proper stewardship of natural resources, reduction of civil conflicts, transparency in public finances, improvements in the supply of electricity and healthcare services lead to sustained economic development and security?
To these ends, the Council engages the expertise of internationally recognized academics, policy analysts, and scientists in innovative research and discovery of new knowledge that liberate and inform public policy and its implementation. Through partnerships and alliances with universities and development-oriented centers in Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America, the Council would enhance its technical abilities to deliver beneficent blends of high research and policy analysis. The acquired knowledge generated by the council would be consistently disseminated to governmental agencies, policy makers, and social actors in the fields of development and security through seminars, international conferences, and publications. One of the primary objectives of the Council is to provide linkages between scholars and researchers whose professional interests are in African development and security. Such effort would necessarily lead to active collaborative scholarship between African and non-African experts and specialists with the singular goal of making African issues part of mainstream international concern and attention.
The Council’s philosophical leaning is largely defined by the belief, informed by evidence and scholarship, that all social and economic problems in any country cannot be solved by governments alone. Contrary to received and pervasive practices in many modern African societies, the government’s role in public and private affairs should be limited but robust enough to address its primary institutional responsibilities such as national security, formulation and implementation of effective laws and policies that govern behavior, protect human rights, the right to religious worship, and enforcement of legal contracts. These provisions, in conjunction with sound fiscal and monetary policies, create enabling environments in which the private sector may flourish and nourish its entrepreneurial spirit.
It is for this reason that the Council calls for institutional shifts and re-alignments that place more emphasis on industrialization, and market-led development strategies that rely less on governments, and revenues derived from primary commodities and natural resources. For, with advances in economic development countries tend to enjoy stability and security, and these in turn beget further advances in economic and social welfare. The establishment of enduring institutions for creative economic and public policy dynamics that propel growth in national economies is at the core of the council’s overarching objectives for an emerging Africa.