The Institute hosts debates on Pan-African political,
socio-economic, and cultural issues.

African/European Union Migration Project

Since its inception, the IPATC has established itself as one of the leading Institutes on Pan-African thought on the continent. It has particularly fostered its expertise in the area of Africa/European Union (EU) Migration in which it has engaged in research and policy development. In order to facilitate and shape the implementation of the 2018 United Nations (UN) Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration; IPATC, along with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) EU office in Brussels, and the Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) Group secretariat, convened a one-day policy dialogue in the Belgian capital in October 2018 two months before the UN Global Compact on Migration was agreed in Marrakesh. IPATC received funding from the German Federal Foreign Office for a 6-month project on “Implementation of the UN Global Compact: Conflict, Governance, and Migration in Africa/EU Relations” which was implemented through the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (IFA) between July and December 2019. In order further to consolidate the impact of this work, IPATC has been implementing a 9-month project (May-December 2020) funded by the German Foreign Office through IFA titled “Implementation of the UN Global Compact: Building a Community of Practice in Addressing Conflict, Governance, and Migration in Africa/EU Relations.”

IPATC’s project on Africa/EU Migration project has three main key goals:

  1. To enhance dialogue and engagement between African and European policymakers, experts, and civil society on the challenges of African migration to the EU;
  2. To offer concrete solutions to policymakers for the effective management of migration and protection of vulnerable African migrants; and
  3. To engage and inform African and European publics about issues of migration and implementing the 2018 UN Global Compact on Migration.

A fundamental purpose of this project has thus been to establish a CoP on implementing the 2018 UN Global Compact on Migration. The informal group consists of African and European government officials, EU and African regional bodies, policy experts, and civil society activists from both continents. This goal was partly achieved through organising a two-day policy dialogue in Johannesburg in October 2019 with African and European actors to assess ways of implementing the UN Global Compact. This 2019 policy dialogue was built on an October 2018 policy meeting in Brussels which the Institute had co-hosted with the then ACP Group secretariat and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) office, both in Belgium. This latter meeting helped shape the ACP’s policy positions in its negotiations of a new trade accord with the EU, while its policy brief helped to inform government delegates who participated in the Marrakesh meeting two months later at which the UN Global Compact was finalised.

The five key identifiable results of the project were:

  1. Creating an African and European network and Community of Practice (CoP) that is continuously shaping policy and enhancing dialogue in this critical area;
  2. Using the recommendations from these initiatives for policy development by African and European governments, as well as by regional bodies on both continents;
  3. Strengthening the weak policy development and research capacity of African governments and regional bodies;
  4. Bringing together policymakers, experts, and civil society from both continents to craft concrete solutions for implementing the 2018 UN Global Compact on Migration; and
  5. Sensitising general publics in Africa and Europe in understanding migration issues in order to contribute more effectively to these debates and reducing anti-xenophobic sentiments against African migrants in Europe.

The Africa/EU Migration project had five key policy outcomes:

  1. Building on the 2018 Brussels policy meeting, the Institute held the two-day October 2019 policy seminar on “Implementation of The United Nations (UN) Global Compact: Conflict, Governance & Migration in Africa/EU Relations”. This policy seminar was funded by the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (IFA). The primary goal of this policy seminar was to establish a policy group and community of practice on implementing the UN Global Compact on Migration. The policy seminar further sought to shape policy and public debates in Africa and Europe by highlighting the challenges and positive aspects of migration which are often missed in discussions around these issues.
  2. A network and community of practice was agreed among this group from the October 2019 two-day policy seminar to enhance continued dialogue, to share relevant information, and to promote public engagement in Africa and Europe;
  3. Two six-page policy briefs:
    Migration In The EU-ACP Partnership After 2020: Implementing The UN Global Compact
    The Impact Of COVID-19 On Africa/European Union (EU) Migration ;
  4. Publication of three newspaper articles (The Star, and Business Day)
    AU Urged To Put Greater Effort Into Tackling Migration
    Root Causes Of Migration
    Impact Of Virus On Africa/EU Migration; and
  5. Hosting of a two-hour public dialogue.
  6. In an effort to enhance the development of concrete and constructive policy approaches to managing Africa/EU migration amidst the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 crisis, IPATC collaborated with the Nordic Africa Institute (NAI) in Sweden, to hold two joint webinars:
    1. The Impact Of COVID-19 On Africa/European Union (EU) Migration
    2. The Impact Of COVID-19 On Africa/European Union (EU) Migration
  7. As part of IPATC’s Africa/EU Migration project, the Institute has partnered with the Sweden-based Nordic Africa Institute, one of Europe’s most important think tanks on Africa, to produce a 21-chapter book titled “Worlds Apart? Perspectives on Africa/EU Migration”, to be edited by IPATC and NAI Senior Researchers, Dr. Adeoye O. Akinola and Dr. Jesper Bjarnesen respectively. The book will be published in 2021.
  8. IPATC held a half-day policy dialogue on “Africa/EU Relations in the Era of COVID-19” in November 2020 at Johannesburg. The meeting assessed Africa/EU relations in historical and contemporary perspective; examined Africa/EU relations within the context of migration challenges amidst the COVID-19 pandemic; developed concrete and constructive policy approaches for managing Africa/EU migration within the broader bilateral relationship; and launched and disseminated the IPATC policy brief on “The Impact of COVID-19 on Africa/EU Migration” published in August 2020, as well as disseminated a previous IPATC policy brief from an October 2019 policy dialogue.
African Union At 20: Progress, Problems and Prospects

Overview: The African Union at 20: Progress, Problems and Prospects

The Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation (IPATC), based at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), and TrustAfrica are jointly organising a continental symposium on the theme: “The African Union at 20: Progress, Problems and Prospects” to be convened in October 2022. The symposium is part and parcel of the commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the African Union (AU) which was established and launched on the 9th July 2022 at Durban, South Africa. Like the Organization of African Unity (OAU) of 1963, the AU is a key institutional architecture and historical landmark for the advancement of Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance, and its primary mandate is continental unity and integration.

The continental development blueprint of the AU is aimed at creating socio-cultural and politico-economic transformation for the betterment of the lives and livelihoods of African people.

This initiative of IPATC, CODESRIA, and TrustAfrica is premised on six (6) main factors.

First, the transition from OAU to the AU in the late 1990s was an epoch-making development and there is, therefore, a need to review the result of the transition to date. Second, there is a need to discover through evidence-based research the real difference and similarities between OAU and AU. Third, this initiative will breathe life into the almost defunct Agenda 2063 as the long-term development blueprint of the AU. Fourthly, this project will also reignite intellectual imagination towards collective and PanAfricanist efforts towards integration following years of unilateralism and bilateralism reinforced by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fifth, this initiative will contribute to the decolonization of Africa’s international relations, so the continent is able to occupy its rightful place in the global community of nations within and outside the United Nations system. Sixth and finally, the AU is currently undergoing institutional reforms and it is imperative that we review this process so far.


The Goal of the Symposium

  1. The overall goal of the symposium is to create a platform for scholars, practitioners and civil society actors to critically reflect on the progress that the AU has registered, the problems it has encountered and its prospects in the short-term, medium-term and long-term horizon.


Key themes and topics for the symposium

  • Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance
  • AU Organs and Institutions
  • Governance, Democracy, and Elections
  • Africa’s Peace and Security Architecture
  • Socio-economic development and service delivery
  • Structural Transformation
  • Humanitarian Assistance
  • People-to-People Integration
  • Climate Change
  • Information Communication and Technology
  • Africa’s International Relations
  • Research and Development
  • Key cross-cutting issues etc.


Key deliverables from the symposium

  1. To generate public debate through various types of media, including Radio, TV, Newspapers, and social media.
  2. To culminate in the publication of a special issue of a journal on the AU@20.
  3. The project will lead to a publication of an edited book volume on the AU@20.


Participation, Format and Language

The symposium will involve about 250 participants drawn from governments, policy practitioners, academia, civil society, the private sector, the African diaspora etc. It will be convened in a hybrid format involving both a physical meeting and a virtual platform.

The format of the symposium will include, inter alia, plenary and break-away sessions. One or more keynote speakers will be invited to set the tone for the deliberations throughout the duration of the symposium.

English and French will be used for abstracts and papers. The symposium will also be conducted in both English and French. All publications emanating from this initiative will be in both English and French.


Overview: SADC @30:Past, Present and Future

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) was founded on 17 August 1992 in the Botswana city of Gaborone by states that are geographically located in southern Africa. The overriding raison d’être behind the formation of SADC was to create governance structures and systems that would address issues and phenomena that are transboundary in character. As a regional intergovernmental organisation can, SADC is used by member states to convene and deliberate on measures necessary to overcome problems of the Southern African region. Similarly, it can be used not only as an instrument for responding to regional crises but also as a tool to initiate and advance economic cooperation and regional integration broadly. From challenges of conflict, political crises, natural disasters, governance failures, political repression, migration, and collaboration, to poor levels of regional integration, inter alia, the issues that SADC focuses on are certainly too broad and diverse.

Proceeding of the SADC@30 Colloquium

SADC will be reaching 30 years of existence. In light of this milestone, the University of Johannesburg’s Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation (IPATC), in partnership with the African Association of Political Science (AAPS) and the South African Association of Political Studies (SAAPS), has organised a 2-days SADC colloquium title “SADC@30: Past, Present and Future that will be taking place on 25 and 26 August 2022 in Johannesburg (South Africa) at the Sandton Convention Centre.

The management of the colloquium is the responsibility of the IPATC. The overall coordinator of the colloquium is Prof. Siphamandla Zondi (head of the IPATC, University of Johannesburg). Prof. Zondi can be reached via his email: He is supported by a group of staff at the IPATC, including Dr Noluthando Phungula (a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the IPATC) – Dr Phungula’s email is:; and Mr Vusi Gumbi (Research Assistant at the IPATC) – Mr Gumbi’s email is


The Goal of the Colloquium

  1. To reflect on the life of the organisation, focusing on past achievements or shortcomings; present landmarks, challenges and opportunities; and what the future can look like.
  2. The SADC @30 Colloquium is looking forward to receiving and accepting papers from willing participants by the end of the colloquium.


Key themes and topics for the colloquium

  • Democracy, Human Rights and Political Processes
  • Borders, Migration and Climate Change
  • Regional Conflict, Security, and Terrorism
  • Political Economy and Socio-Economic Development
  • Regional Integration/Cooperation
  • Mediation, Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Civil Society and Elections
  • Governance and Leadership


Deliverables from the colloquium

  1. The project will generate public debate through various types of media, including Radio, TV, Newspapers, and social media.
  2. The project will culminate in the publication of a special issue of a journal on the SADC@30.
  3. The project will lead to a publication of an edited book volume on the SADC@30.


Participation, Format and Language

The symposium will involve about 60 participants drawn from governments, policy practitioners, academia, civil society, and the private sector, mainly from within the SADC region. It will be convened in a hybrid format involving both a physical meeting and a virtual platform.


The format of the colloquium will include, inter alia, plenary and break-away sessions. One or more keynote speakers will be invited to set the tone for the deliberations throughout the duration of the colloquium.


English will be used for abstracts and papers. The colloquium will also be conducted in both English. All publications emanating from this initiative will be in both.

Coming Soon.

Women, Gender and Financial Inclusion

Overview: Women, Gender and Financial Inclusion

African women are often found to play second fiddle when it comes to matters such as redress, redistribution as well as financial inclusion. There is a need to asks questions on what are the reasons and how can this be remedied through policy transformation and implementation. Financial inclusion and Gender Budgeting Response are two multidimensional concepts that embrace all disciplines and are measurable and relevant to public policy. African government and financial institutions have tried to effectively implement strategies or measures that facilitate the integration of women’s access to finance and women empowerment, yet the efforts cannot seem to be reconciled with the current status of women. Even after a decade of African women in different communities being rated and ranked amongst the least financially literate globally, in line with Visa’s 2013 international barometer, the situation remains the same (Khumalo 2017). Women continue to be subjected to abject poverty, inequality, and insecurity within the gender spectrum, despite financial services and policies on women empowerment.


The reasons may lie in a sound analysis of financial inclusion as a tool for women’s empowerment and how this has worked or not worked so far, and Gender Budgeting Responses as a key strategy that presents the political and economic factors influencing budget allocation to women-oriented programs and projects in African communities and investigates the impact of gender-responsive budgeting on women’s empowerment and gender equality.



The initiative: Women, Gender and Financial Inclusion Symposium

The IPATC, WECONA, AAPS, CWBN, UNASA, OUTSURANCE, SolarCluster, Sivio Institute, ACSUS-UP and INKOMOKO (An extension of African Entrepreneurs Collective [AEC]) is hosting a symposium based on the following four factors.

Firstly, the symposium is set to further investigate the impact of gender-responsive budgeting on women’s empowerment and gender equality in various African communities.  Second, the findings intend to analyse the effectiveness of the countries’ approaches and share lessons that different African economies, whether currently booming or struggling, can enhance or implement toward the financial inclusion and gender budgeting response at all structural levels.

The third factor is that the conference seeks to probe into the institutions which have been fallow ground for the entrenchment of gender disparities and understand the intricacies of financial inclusion. This will unpack the possible reason why financial inclusion is perceived as a window dressing tool, albeit it has the potential to bring great change. The fourth point is that the meeting will also engage in the notion of transformation when it comes to gender budgeting responses, and encourage dialogue that will inspire substantive change within the institutions so that gender disparities are remedied.

The Goals of the Symposium

  1. The overall goal of the symposium is to advance sustainable women’s economic empowerment in line with the SDGs and Agenda 2063.
  2. To will bring together researchers, financiers, activists, public servants, and others from across the world to deliberate on challenges and opportunities for women’s financial inclusion and economic empowerment.
  3. To lead to practical policy considerations on women’s financial inclusion in Africa through the exchange of experiences.


Key themes and topics for the Conference

  • Financial inclusion policies in Africa
  • Gender Budgeting Response in African Countries
  • Gender and Digital Financial Inclusion, Table banking and microfinance
  • Banking mergers and macro-finance and development in Africa
  • Gender Budgeting Response to Gender-Based Violence
  • Mismanagement of Funds on Covid 19,
  • Financial Inclusion policies on Education and e-Learning
  • Conflict Transformation and Peace Building finance
  • Funding Interdisciplinary Research and Development,
  • Income-generating groups, and Sustainable Development
  • Gender Political Participation and Economic Change
  • Gender Budgeting response in Health Tourism, Medicine, HIV and AIDS
  • Key Cross-Cutting Issues etc.


Deliverables from the colloquium

  1. To generate public debate through various types of media, including Radio, TV, Newspapers, and social media.
  2. To culminate in the publication of a special issue of a journal on the Gendered Finance in Africa.
  3. The project will lead to a publication of 3 edited book volume;
    1. Women Finance in Africa: Inclusion and Transformation
    2. Gender Budgeting Response in Africa: Access and Future Measures
    3. African Women Matters: Policies and Inclusion



Participation and Format

The symposium will involve about 200 participants drawn from governments, Financiers, policy practitioners, academia, civil society, the private sector, the continental and global networks. It will be convened in a hybrid format involving both a physical meeting and a virtual platform.

The format of the symposium will include, inter alia, plenary and break-away sessions. Several keynote speakers will be invited to set the tone for the deliberations throughout the duration of the symposium.

Coming Soon.

Coming Soon.

Chagos Island Conference

Overview: Chagos Island Conference

Chagos Islands is one of foreign domination by the United States and the United Kingdom. The forced removal of Chagossians from their territory is thus problematic. It is emblematic of coloniality, the control of a people by a foreign force which is European. This is tantamount to an imposition of a Euro-North American-centric civilisation, if at all, on an already existing civilisation or people. In order to undo the violence and brutality of denying the Chagossians their right to life, right to development and right to self-determination in their own territory, various law pundits and scholars had to opt for the route of litigation in domestic and international courts of law.

The litigation has been a protracted but worthy process. A number of cases have been initiated in both the United States and the United Kingdom. In the recent past, international court cases at the European Court of Human Rights such as the Chagos Islanders vs United Kingdom ECtHR case of 11 December 2012 and the International Court of Justice 2019 case that has been the landmark case so far granted by the International Court of Justice on the 25 of February 2019 (International Court of Justice, 2019; Burri & Trinidad, 2021: xvi).

The seminal ICJ ruling of 2019 cemented the need for decolonisation, especially for the subaltern. Decoloniality, both as an epistemic and political movement, provides the concepts, language and lenses to unmask the invisible colonial matrices of power that continue to operate in Chagos, and indeed globally, unabated. The need to decolonise formerly occupied and colonised spaces and places are ever more pertinent to today’s societies. The African Union sees the Chagos Question as a matter of unfinished business of colonization.


In commemoration of the landmark “United Nations Court”[1], the International Court of Justice’s ruling that was handed down in 2019, instructing the United Kingdom to stop controlling the territory of Chagos Islands, Chagossians rightfully celebrate their victory on the path to self-determination, self-governance, as well as the delinking from the clutches of their former colonial master, the UK. Currently, Chagos Islands are administered by the colonial master, the United Kingdom under the name British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). The Chagos Islands or the Chagos Archipelago are a group of about 60 islands that are located in the Indian Ocean, about 500 kilometres off the coast of the Maldives. The main island, Diego Garcia, is home to an American military base.

The Chagos Islands have undergone different political administrations that have not been without controversies. They were first a Dutch colony, then French and currently a British colony since 1814. The United Kingdom entered treaties with the United States in the 1960s to establish an American military base on the Chagos Island and both extra-territorial governments use the presence of that military base as a reason to keep the Chagossians in enforced exile. Thus, Chagos Islands have been in contention for the past 60 years (Farran, 2022). At the centre of the contention is the forced removal of the Chagossians from their territory in the 1960s by the British in order to make way for the establishment of an American military base. Chagossians have fallen victim to the two States’ colonisation and domination over the years. As such, this conference sets out to assess how far the Chagossians have come in freeing themselves of the imperial clutches of the United State and the United Kingdom since the landmark ruling by the International Court of Justice.  The forced displacement and continued enforced exile of the Chagossians have negatively affected them in profound ways (Jeffery, 2013).

The Goals of the Symposium

  1. The conference will hear from the Chagossians themselves, about how the displacement has and continues to deny them of their human rights.

Deliverables from the colloquium

The conference will hear from the Chagossians themselves, how the displacement has and continues to deny them of their human rights.

The New Republic Project

Overview: The New Republic Project

South Africa’s democratic dispensation came into being in 1994 following the first racially inclusive general election. For the first time in its history as a single and unified polity the country experienced universal suffrage for all qualifying adults to vote. Accordingly, 27 April 2022 marked 28 years since South Africa’s transition to democracy. The country has since become a serious player in regional and world affairs, building on the revolutionary and resilient efforts of many of its leaders, including one of history’s greatest statesmen, Former President Nelson Mandela. However, since then there have been many missteps, some with catastrophic consequences. Perhaps one of the most notable of these is the 2012 Marikana massacre, which some analysts and commentators referred to as the lowest point in South Africa’s democratic history and the downward spiral toward deeper crises. Additionally, there has been a constant and refractive triple scourge of poverty, inequality, and unemployment. The latter predicament, coupled with corruption, mis-governance, capture of state institutions by criminal elements all arguably culminated in the July 2021 riots in which more than 350 South Africans lost their lives.

Recent expressions of democracy such as the 2019 general election as well as the 2021 local government elections all indicate a continuing apathy towards voting resulting in lower voter turn-outs ever recorded. These trends of declining citizen participation in democratic processes further highlight a looming threat to not only democracy as an edifice but to the very legitimacy of the current dispensation. It is at this juncture that South Africans need to step back and reflect on the country’s well-being and craft a meaningful way forward. Thus, there is an urgent need for a conversation on a shift from the existing socio-political landscape.

The last few years have without doubt become the most tumultuous across all segments of life; politically, economically and socially. The advent of Covid-19 exacerbated the developmental challenges facing the country and exposed the fragility of the South African project. Most assessments of the impact of the pandemic have laid bare these fragilities and inequalities.


The Rationale of the seminar

The African Peer Review mechanism (APRM), in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, the Institute for Pan-African Conversation and Thought (IPATC) at the University of Johannesburg, Wits School of Governance and Power FM proposes to host a series of conversations on “The New Republic”. These dialogues will examine the gradual decline in public trust. This is further evidenced by the low voter turnout in the 2021 Local Government Elections; incidents of attacks against foreign nationals; record unemployment levels at 35,3%, which is over 45% based on an expanded definition, including the over 66% of youth without employment.

On 27 November 2018, a High-Level Panel (HLP) on the Assessment of Key Legislation and Acceleration of Fundamental Change, chaired by former President Kgalema Motlanthe, handed over a 604-page report to the Chairperson of the Speakers’ Forum, and then the National Assembly Speaker, Ms. Baleka Mbete. The Panel was established to conduct research on the efficacy of laws passed by Parliament since 1994. It was hoped the recommendations would offer direction on how to “bring about accelerated change – land reform and poverty eradication.” The Panel identified the need to improve the quality of education to enable South Africans to participate in the modern economy. The panel also identified serious deficiencies in the quality of healthcare, especially public health. It made a call for the amendment of the country’s electoral laws to make Members of Parliament accountable to the public, through a constituency-based system. Set against the backdrop of the current crisis, there is a need to engage with the citizenry as widely as possible, to introspect and discuss the state of South Africa. There are ongoing conversations which seem to insinuate that the country will quickly become a failed state or be reduced to a state in perpetual crisis, and instability.


Proceeding of the seminar

  • This series of conversations and research, under this project, will be a non-partisan initiative, not aligned to a political party nor a proposal for ‘regime change’.
  • It is also an opportunity to engage the citizenry across the length and breadth of the country through one of the most accessible mediums of communication, radio. The broadcast will also be accessed online and through community and provincial partners. The radio broadcast will be two hours in duration with Power FM.
  • It is further envisioned that these conversations will be captured into a publication which will be produced in both popular media and online platforms for wide access.


Objectives of the seminar

  1. Identify issues that are so germane to the citizens of the Republic
  2. Discuss the gaps among government and relevant institutions of society in terms of social and economic transformation
  3. Explore potential ways to improve public trust and confidence in governance, private and representative institutions, and necessary policy shifts towards a new Republic


Our partners and participants

  1. Power FM – the media and community engagement partner
  2. University of Johannesburg’s Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation
  3. University of Witwatersrand ‘s School of Governance
  4. United Nations Development Programme in South Africa
  5. Possible mobile service provider (Vodacom, MTN, Telkom, Cell C etc.) to zero-rate access to the seminar online, thereby making it accessible to audiences in far flung rural areas and to those who cannot afford data.

The Kgalema Motlanthe Foundation will serve as a patron of the dialogue platform. Other key partners will include the APRM South African Chapter National Governing Council, Chapter 9 and 10 institutions established to deepen democracy in South Africa, civil society formations, organized labour, organized local government (SALGA), Parliament of the Republic of South Africa (and the entire legislative sector). The citizens and residents of South Africa must be the ultimate beneficiaries of this work, and hence their voices and views will be solicited through the medium of radio and other media platforms. Political parties, and interest groups, including opinion makers and shapers, will also be invited to participate and contribute to the discourse


Key themes and topics for the seminar

  1. Electoral Reform
  2. Land Reform
  3. Energy and Food Security
  4. Land and Food Security
  5. Reimagining Provincial and Local Government
  6. Revisiting Democratic Participation (e.g., Street Committees)
  7. Combating Corruption
  8. The Current and Future Role of Parliament
  9. Reimagining the Macro-organisation of the State
  10. Macro-Economic Policy Framework: From the RDP to NDP, and Beyond
  11. Restructuring of State-Owned Enterprises
  12. Responding to the Youth Development Question
  13. Reimagining Women Empowerment
  14. Repositioning of South Africa’s Foreign Policy and Role in International Relations
  15. Social Cohesion and Safety and Security
  16. The Constitution, Legal Framework, and the Judiciary
  17. Transformation of the Economy
  18. Governance of Public Policy Repositioning Science and technology in the Context of the Space Age and Fourth Industrial Revolution


Participation, format and language

The first dialogue/seminar as part of this conversation, a hybrid of virtual and physical seminar will be held by the University of Johannesburg’s Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation at the Southern Sun Hotel in Hyde Park, South Africa. It will be broadcasted by the media partners Power FM who will also facilitate live public engagement on the issues and themes of the dialogue, with a view of incorporating the public views and opinions into the conference report.

The seminar will be held on 24 February 2023, and will bring together all stakeholders as well as the identified paper contributors. The commissioned papers will accordingly be based on the outlined themes and the compilation is planned to produce one coherent publication. The Director for IPATC in consultation with all partners will provide leadership and guidance on working with the publisher once identified.

Coming soon!

Stories of the Week Power Podcast | New Republic Project

Broadcaster: Power 98.7 FM
Stories of the Week Power Podcast | New Republic Project
Interviewee(s): Dr Mabutho Shangase, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation (IPATC)
Interviewer(s): Mr Morio Sanyane
Date: 12 March 2023


Radio Interview (Power 98.7 FM)

Towards a ‘Second Republic’ of South Africa or an Independent Azania?

Publisher: IOL News
Title: Towards a ‘Second Republic’ of South Africa or an Independent Azania?
Author: Masilo Lepuru, Junior Researcher at the Institute for Pan African Though and Conversation
Date: 15 February 2023
Image courtesy of: sweggs via


Article (IOL News)

Coming soon!

Women’s Impact: Innovation and Sustainability in Africa (WIISA), Conference

Overview: Innovation and Sustainability in Africa (WIISA), Conference

Gender equality is a right. Fulfilling this right is the best chance to meet some of the challenges of our time—from the economic crisis and lack of health care to climate change, violence against women and escalating conflicts. Women are more affected by these problems and possess ideas and leadership to solve them. Gender discrimination still holds too many women back and our world back too. The
2030  Agenda  for  Sustainable  Development  and  its  17  Sustainable  Development  Goals  (SDGs) adopted by world leaders in 2015, embody a roadmap for progress that is sustainable and leaves no one behind. Achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment is integral to each of the 17 goals. Only by ensuring the rights of women and girls across all the goals will we get to justice and inclusion,
economies that work for all, and sustaining our shared environment now and for future generations.

Despite  many  global  policies  such  as  the  United  Nations  (UN)  2030  Agenda  for  Sustainable Development  aiming  “to  leave  no  one  behind”  in  development,  gender  inequality  persists. This contention was supported by the  Organization  for  Economic  Co-operation  and  Development (OECD), which stated that “Although women account for over one-half of the potential talent base throughout  the  world,  as  a  group  they  have  been  marginalized  and  their  economic,  social,  and
environmental contributions go in large part unrealized. The disproportionate impacts on women of the cost-of-living crises, the toll of conflict and displacement, and the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic that are experienced across our region, risk further setting back progress towards equality.

Innovation and Technology, the focus of this year’s International Women’s Day, presents powerful opportunities  for  gender  equality  and  offers  welcome  hope  during  great challenges for women’s empowerment. The regional progress report on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) released revealed  that  the  use  of  information  and  communication  technology  is  the  only  target  of  SDG  5 (“Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls”), which African and the global economy is currently on track to achieve (UN-Women, 2021). While it is clear that much work remains to be done to catalyse  progress on the remaining eight  SDG  5  Targets,  this  important  indicator  of  progress identifies  innovation, technology  and  sustainability  as  an  area  with  strong  momentum  towards   effective change  as  we  draw  closer  to  2030  and  consolidate  our  efforts  for  gender  equality. These targets can help women secure information, protection, education and employment and attain gender parity.

Most governments have abdicated their role in shaping economic structures under the influence of a neoliberal macroeconomic policy framework. They have enabled each person to participate and are self-reliant in the financial system (Berry, 2015: 510). This notion has reinforced existing disparities because inherently capitalist principles still govern the economic environment, which means African women remain marginalised according to the hierarchy.

The  Institute  of  Pan  African  Thought  and  Conversation,  University  of  Johannesburg,  presents a conference titled “Women’s ImPACT: Innovation and Sustainability in Africa (WIISA)”,

This initiative of IPATC, with supporting partners, is premised on eight (8) main factors. This is an international initiative to promote the role of women in all disciplines including, science, innovation, technology and engineering. The conference’s mission is to inspire transformative actions and more effective  development  by  understanding  the  impacts  of  the  SDGs  on  women.  The
conference  aims  to  build  partnerships  among  its  participants to identify,  understand,  and  develop strategies to apply the gender lens in seven key areas to be debated in four panel session.:
1. Women and their role in the SDGs
2. Innovation and Technology
3. Climate Change and the Green Economy
4. Science, Education and Workforce
5. Financial Inclusion and Entrepreneurship
6. Governance and Leadership
7. Women and Mental Health.
8. Gender Based Violence

Its  aim  is  to  demonstrate  that  this  can  provide  deeper  insights,  more  effective  programs  and  more sustainable outcomes  in  the  context  of  development.  The conference hopes  to  network  with researchers and policy-makers, organizing awareness-raising activities and using dissemination tools
and resources.

The Goal of the Symposium
The overall goal of the symposium is to advance sustainable women’s economic empowerment in line with the SDGs and Agenda 2063. The conference seeks to answer questions on women’s current and future inclusion, innovation and leadership towards a sustainable economy and accessing digitalized jobs.

Conference Agenda
The conference will feature five panels over two days, with a keynote speaker each day. The conference program will outline the key issues for each panel and provide a case study. Moderators for each panel will guide the discussion with the panellists, fielding general and specific questions to panellists, and then opening up to include audience participation.

Panel One (Plenary Session): Women and Impact: Innovation and Sustainability.

Here we seek to examine the challenges of women in innovation and sustainability, the impact of the SDGs and overcoming gendered inequality in Africa. The outcomes include a substantive contribution of  the  African  participant  countries  and  indirectly  the  continent  to  the  achievement  of  the  United  Nations (UN) 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), notably SDG 5 – Gender Equality through
this  particular  focus  on  SDG  5  targets  as  the  foundation  for  African  women  to  self-actualise  with  universal access to good education and skills development; quality healthcare enhanced by safe water and  sufficient  and  nutritious  food;  decent  living  conditions; gender-based  violence  being  the exception  and  not  the  norm  to  be  financially  empowered  securing  political,  social  and  economic
leadership and active citizenry in individual states but more so as a collective across the continent. In addition, it speaks to the Agenda 2063 aspirations 6, which aims to ensure “Africa will be a continent where all citizens will be actively involved in decision-making in all aspects of development, including social, economic, political and environmental. Africa will be a continent where no child, woman or man will be left behind”.

Panel Two: Women, Climate Chang e and the Green Economy.

We seek to understand the challenges of climate change on women, the impact of climate finance and overcoming gendered food security inequality in Africa. Furthermore, we seek to examine the gender lens  to  job  creation  in  the  green  transition  in  Africa  and  identify  opportunities  for  women’s participation in green jobs in key sectors driving growth in African economies. Lastly the Panel seeks
to  highlight  initiatives  on  financial  and  digital  inclusion  for  women  towards  a  green  economy and provide solutions and employment opportunities for women in achieving a green economy. It further explores the role of Gender, Social Policy and Institutions and Political Participation.

Panel  T hree:  Gendered  T ransition  into  the  Dig ital  Economy  and  Economic  Growth  for  African Women.

How do we solve the connectivity gap and create opportunities for Africa’s women and girls to be part of a more inclusive digital world? How do we provide access to digital technologies that allow Africa’s women to benefit fully from the goods, services, and capital available across online markets? How do we leverage emerging technologies and business models to remove longstanding barriers to
women’s economic opportunities in poor countries? What examples have arisen in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that illustrate the embrace of new digital platforms, e-commerce, and mobile payment solutions?

Panel Four: Streng thening  Institutional and Policy Frameworks, Funding , and Networks to Advance  Women  Entrepreneurs.

How can  policy  formulation  promote  and  elevate  women’s  entrepreneurship as a priority for African economies? How do we overcome the funding gap? How
can we design banking products and offerings that African women entrepreneurs need? How do we strengthen  corporate  governance  and  legal  frameworks  to  guide  women  entrepreneurs  to  on  the  international  scene?  What  national  responses  to  the  economic  impacts  of  COVID-19  have  been  successful  in  supporting  women’s  entrepreneurship  and  getting  funding  to  those  who  will  most

Panel Five: Women and M ental H ealth Awareness.

Women self-care is still being treated as an
afterthought instead of a priority. Proper mental healthcare prevents chronic illness and diseases. It
involves a deliberate and intentional action that someone takes to maintain their health. It empowers
women not to be bystanders in their own health optimization but having a balanced lifestyle physically,
mentally and emotionally.  The  section  explores  the  policies,  approaches  and  initiatives  by  African
states for proper mental health for women in all disciplines. How do we manage a balanced health

Panel Six: Gender Based Violence and Impact.  Africa continue to experience notoriously high levels of violence against women.  In  South  Africa  for  instance,  the  latest  police  figures  show  that 10,818 rape cases were reported in the first quarter of 2022. The country has among the highest rape incidence in the world. How can gender-based violence in the continent be reduced? How can policy
formulation mitigate and reduce gender-based violence as a priority for African economies? How do we overcome the challenges instigating violence? How other approaches can be explored to reduce gender discrimination and empower women?

Key deliverables from the symposium

  1. To  generate  public  debate  through  various  media  types,  including  Radio,  TV,  Newspapers,
    and social media.
    2. To  culminate  in  the  publication  of  a special  issue  of  a  journal  on  “Women  Innovation  and
    Sustainability in Africa”.
    3. The project will lead to the publication of 4 edited book volumes;
    I. African Women in the Green Economy: Inclusion and Transformation
    II. Women Leadership in Diplomacy and International Relations: Representation and Participation
    III. Women in Trade and Industrial Policy: Access and Inclusion
    IV. Impact, Gender and Climate Change.
    4. In addition to the conference report, the organizers will produce a policy paper, which will
    also highlight key facts and figures on women entrepreneurs with infographics on the sectors
    they  are  engaged  in,  especially  in  the  grassroots  communities  in  African  countries.  The
    conference  organizers  will  also  create  an  informal working  group  focusing  on  research  and
    policy. The working group will share its research and policy recommendations with groups of
    women institutes and academia and through the respective UN bodies, the Africa Union, the
    African Development Bank, and the African Export-Import Bank.
    5. The emulating research will in partnership with Pan African Women Studies IPATC and other
    stakeholders  will  be  used  to  develop  customised  technical  programs  and  projects  including
    implementation based on needs of international and corporate organisations.Participation and Format

The  symposium  will  involve  about  200  participants  drawn  from  governments,  Financiers,  policy  practitioners, academia, civil society, the private sector, and continental and global networks. It will be convened in a hybrid format involving a physical meeting and a virtual platform. The  symposium  format  will  include,  among  other  things,  plenary  and  break-away  sessions.  Several keynote speakers will be invited to set the tone for the deliberations throughout the symposium.

For inquiries please contact Reshika Dwarika at or +27(0)11 559 7232 and Bella Mkhabela at

Thank you.

Coming soon!

Coming soon!