UNDP hosts inaugural conference of IGU Commission on African Studies
The objective of the conference is to promote African and Africanist research on related issues around the world and in Africa.
The University of Namibia (UNAM) in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) hosted the inaugural conference of the International Geographical Union (IGU) Commission on African Studies last week from May 17 to 18 at the Institute of Public Administration of Namibia.
It was the first annual conference of the African Studies Commission after a decision by the IGU to create a platform for Africans and experts in Africa to examine African challenges and attempt to provide African responses.
The objective of the conference is to promote African and Africanist research on related issues around the world and in Africa, from the social sciences to the natural sciences, but mainly informed by geographical, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives.
The Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Dr. Itah Kandjii-Murangi, made introductory remarks and emphasized the importance of ensuring that geography is taken into account to strengthen the understanding of human-physical relationships.
The Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP, Izumi Morota-Alakija, emphasized the need for sound research to understand the problems of poverty and inequality. In addition, he said that Namibia is one of the most unequal countries in the world with a Gini coefficient of 0.56 in 2016, although it is among the middle-income countries.
In addition, she said that one of the reasons for the slow decline of poverty rates in Africa is the limitation of decent employment opportunities because the growth of Africa has not created a demand for employment enough to satisfy the offer.
Kenneth Matengu, The Unam Pro-Vice Chancellor of Research, Innovation, and Development, read the welcome comments on behalf of Prof. Lazarus Hangula, vice-chancellor of the university. He stressed that Africa's response to global problems should be on the university's agenda because the problems of Africa and the world are closely related.