The papers in this panel examine how the transformation of African private and financial sectors towards sustainability can be achieved. The panel welcomes both theoretical and empirical contributions on this question.
This panel examines the potential and challenges of transformative research on economic development in Africa. The view is gaining ground in the public and among funding organisations that research should be transformative, that is aiming at achieving societal impact and informing policymakers about how to advance transformations to sustainability in its economic, social and ecologic dimensions. However, extant research on economic development in Africa has largely maintained its traditional focus on structural transformation, examining the drivers and obstacles to economic growth, productivity, structural diversification and upgrading of enterprises. The papers in this panel seek to contribute to filling this gap by examining how the transformation of African private and financial sectors towards sustainability can be achieved. Particular questions to be addressed include: How can African governments simultaneously achieve structural change and sustainable economic development? How and why does this vary across countries? How do international organisations shape the decisions of African governments to promote the transformation of African private and financial sectors towards sustainability? What are the policy dilemmas and trade-offs that governments face in promoting structural transformation and the transformation towards sustainability simultaneously? How are governments resolving such tradeoffs? The panel also welcomes theoretical and empirical contributions that examine the pros and cons of transformative, sustainability-oriented research on economic development in Africa, potentially contrasting it with the traditional research focus on structural transformation in Africa.