Development Without Freedom? Africa Conference With Big Ethiopia Focus

A house in Rema, Ethiopia gets fitted with solar panels. (Photo: Stiftung Solarengie/IIED)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, March 31st 2015

New York (TADIAS) — An upcoming academic conference at the NYU Global Center in New York explores a timely question: Development Without Freedom? Justice, Human Rights, and Foreign Aid in Africa.

Presentations include a focus on elections in Ethiopia by Frehiwot Samuele entitled “Not What They Wanted to Hear: A Supreme Court Judge Investigates Post-Election Violence in Ethiopia,” as well as a talk by Soleyana Shimeles Gebremichael (Zone9 Blogging Group, Ethiopia) on “The Cost of Exercising Rights and Bringing Alternative Narration, The Case of Zone9 Bloggers.”

The conference, which takes place on Thursday, April 16th, 2015, is organized by DRI, the Bard College Human Rights Project, and the Rift Valley Institute.

A press release regarding the conference states: “The international community, mainly the OECD countries, have been providing project-specific foreign aid, investment and general budget support to the governments of African countries. This funding helped improve many development indicators on the continent, yet fundamental values of freedom and democracy that the giving nations profess are often dismissed. Government forces have imprisoned, tortured, exiled, and even taken the lives of their critics. In rural areas across Africa, people have been displaced, making way for development projects that often fail to bring promised benefits.”

The press release adds: “What are the consequences of these rights abuses for long-term development in Africa? What is the role of development agencies and foreign investors in ensuring that recipient governments make progress on human rights and justice? The conference will explore research findings on these questions and feature dissenting voices that do not often receive a hearing in international development forums.”

Additional confirmed speakers and topics include: Helen Epstein (Bard College Human Rights Project and DRI), Human Rights Problems in International Development Practices; David Pred (Inclusive Development International), Aiding and Abetting: How the World Bank Enabled Mass Forced Population Transfers in Ethiopia and Evaded Accountability; Stefan Dercon (University of Oxford), Barking Hyenas, Roaring Lions and Predatory Tigerfish: Aid in Troublesome Places; Jean Ensminger (California Institute of Technology), Aid Fraud: A Kenyan Case Study; Godber Tumushabe (Great Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies), The Tragedy of Aid in Quasi-Democracies: Case Study of the Peace, Reconciliation and Development Program in Northern Uganda; Mareike Schomerus (London School of Economics and Political Science), The Betrayal of ‘South Sudan’: Could Development Work without Imagining the State?; and Hugh Roberts, South Sudan: A Dream Deferred.

Moderators are William Easterly (DRI), Helen Epstein, Yaw Nyarko, and John Ryle (Rift Valley Institute)

If You Go:
Thursday April 16, 2015
8:30 AM to 4:30 PM EDT
The Grand Hall
238 Thompson St
NYU Global Center for Academic and Spiritual Life
5th Floor
New York, NY 10012
Click here to register

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