[International Conference] 8th African Forum: Accra (December 7–9, 2018)


8th African Forum: Accra
Dates: December 7–9, 2018
Venue: Erata Hotel, Accra, Ghana

Summary of the African Forum

The eighth African Potential Forum was held in Accra, Ghana, from December 7–9, 2018. We had a lively and in-depth discussion of Africa’s potential with the 40 participants, who included Japanese and Ghanaian researchers and officials from international organizations.

Dr. Joseph Oduro-Frimpong (Ashesi University, Accra), a media researcher and artist known for creating posters of African celebrities’ faces, displayed his wonderful work at the forum. He also created and donated two new posters for this project and the Accra Forum.

Professor Ato Sekyi-Otu (York University, Canada), a renowned researcher on Frantz Fanon, and his wife also made a special appearance and offered insightful comments.

At the opening of the forum, the project representative summarized the progress and challenges of the “African Potential” study over the past eight years and emphasized that the key objectives of this Accra Forum are looking to Africa’s future and connecting it to African potential.

Then, on behalf of the Ghanaian constituency, Professor Agyei-Mensah, the Head Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, made a speech on the possibility of intellectual exchange between Africa, Japan, and Asia. This was followed by the forum’s keynote speech by Professor Yaw Ofosu-Kusi (University of Energy and Natural Resources).

Professor Ofosu-Kusi’s talk was titled, “The Future African Economy: Informality as Alternative Potential for Development and Progress.” During the speech, he focused on informality, which has been attracting attention in discussions related to African society and economy. Informality will inevitably be constantly formalized by the state and the international community. This persuasive speech described Professor Ofosu-Kusi’s survey-based observation of how informality is created and functions in specific social situations while freely changing form.

Previous forums featured sub-themes that contribute to the conceptualization of African potential, such as indigeneity (Kampala Forum, 2016) and universality (Grahamstown, Forum, 2017). Futurity was selected as the sub-theme for the Accra Forum at the behest of Professor Ofosu-Kusi. Indeed, his keynote address was a perfect fit for this theme and guided the overall forum discussion.

After the keynote speech, fifteen oral presentations (nine from Africa and six from Japan) were delivered in five sessions: Illness and Everyday Life; Democracies; Thought, Knowledge and Power; Urban Spaces; and Education and Social Consciousness, which were followed by discussion by all participants.

The core project members in Africa, who had been involved in the project since its first phase launched in 2011, participated from South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, and South Sudan. These members offered valuable commentary on the forum’s discussions to date, linking each presentation to “African Potential.” The poster session by the next generation of researchers, which began in the second phase, was also very successful. Three researchers from Ghana and two from Japan presented their research reports.

In the final general discussion, Professor Eisei Kurimoto of Osaka University, who has participated in every forum since the first Nairobi Forum; Professor Itaru Ohta, the project leader of the first phase; Professor Michael Neocosmos, a keynote speaker at the last forum; and Professor Sekyi-Otu, a special participant, offered panoptic comments and presented a platform for discussion that would lead to the participants’ discussion.

These outcomes will be published in English as a collection of papers co-edited by Ofosu-Kusi and Motoji Matsuda.

December 7, Friday‘SOHOS RESTAURANT’
17:30-18:30 Registration
18:30-20:30 Reception
December 8, Saturday‘AKITA HALL’
Facilitator: Motoki TAKAHASHI
8:40-9:00 Opening Remarks

Motoji MATSUDA (Project leader, Kyoto University)
9:00-9:20 Greeting Address

Samuel AGYEI-MENSAH (University of Ghana)
9:20-10:40 Keynote Address (Chair: Eisei KURIMOTO)

Yaw OFOSU-KUSI (University of Energy and Natural Resources)
The Future African Economy: Informality as Alternative Potential for Development and Progress
10:40-12:40 Session 1: Illness and Everyday Life (Chair: Gen YAMAKOSHI)
Edward KIRUMIRA (Makerere University)
Itaru OHTA (Kyoto University)
1-1. Kodjo Amedjorteh SENAH (University of Ghana)
Traditional Medicine in Ghana: Which Way?
1-2. Akinori HAMADA (Kansai University)
Collecting Money through Play: A Preliminary Analysis of Celebratory Parties in a Rural Town in Southern Ghana
1-3. Ato Kwamena ONOMA
(Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa)
Ebola, Negotiability and Futurity in Africa and Beyond
12:40-13:40 Lunch Break
13:40-15:40 Session 2: Democracies (Chair: Kodjo Amedjorteh SENAH)
Samson Samuel WASSARA (University of Bahr El Ghazal)
Eisei KURIMOTO (Osaka University)
2-1. Adebayo OLUKOSHI
(International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance)
Africa Rising? A Counter-Narrative
2-2. Takuo IWATA (Ritsumeikan University)
Political Satire and Comedy in Africa
2-3. Joseph Kofi TEYE (University of Ghana)
The Drivers of Migration from Africa to Europe
15:40-15:50 Coffee Break
15:50-17:50 Session 3: Thought, Knowledge and Power (Chair: Shoko YAMADA)
Francis B. NYAMNJOH (University of Cape Town)
Motoji MATSUDA (Kyoto University)
3-1. Ibrahim YAHAYA (Université Abdou Moumouni de Niamey)
Place of African Languages in the Continent Potentials
3-2. Yutaka SAKUMA (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)
The Potential of Debts That Cannot Be Paid
3-3. Akosua Keseboa DARKWAH (University of Ghana)
The Local Meets the Global: The Changing Character of Ghanaian Women’s Work
December 9, Sunday‘AKITA HALL’
9:00-11:00 Session 4: Urban Spaces (Chair: Adebayo OLUKOSHI)
Michael John NEOCOSMOS (Rhodes University)
Takuo IWATA (Ritsumeikan University)
4-1. George OWUSU (University of Ghana)
Africa’s Urban Future: The Prospects and Challenges for Sustainable Urban Development
4-2. Charlotte WRIGLEY-ASANTE (University of Ghana)
Reflections on Gender and Security Issues in Urban Spaces of Ghana
4-3. Michihiro KITA (Osaka University), Seth Asare OKYERE (Osaka University) and Miwa SUGITA (Osaka University)
Towards a New Understanding of Informal Settlements in Accra: An Adaptation of the Theory of Place and Life in Abese Indigenous Quarter of La
11:00-11:10 Coffee Break
11:10-12:20 Poster Session
Special Exhibition
Joseph ODURO-FRIMPONG (Ashesi University College)
Futurity and African Popular Cultural Studies
P-1. Maxima MISSODEY (University of Ghana)
Commodification of Herbal Medicine in Ghana: Intersection of Interests of Producers, Distributors, Consumers and Regulators in the Industry
P-2. Phyllis Bernice OPARE (University of Energy and Natural Resources)
Strategising Institutions to Promote Female Success and Persistence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Courses and Professions
P-3. Mary ANTWI (University of Energy and Natural Resources)
Advancement of Integrated Soil Fertility Management in Ghana: The Geospatial Approach
P-4. Eri KODA (Ritsumeikan University)
Chopping Love and Money? The Case of Young Women’s Relationship with “Sugar Daddy” in Urban Ghana
P-5. Miwa SUGITA (Osaka University), Seth Asare OKYERE (Osaka University) and Hiroshi TSUJI (Osaka University)
An Analysis of the Socio-spatial Structure in Abese and Kowe Indigenous Informal Quarters of La Dadekotopon District
12:20-13:30 Lunch Break
13:30-15:30 Session 5: Education and Social Consciousness
(Chair: Charlotte WRIGLEY-ASANTE)
Kennedy Mkutu AGADE (United States International University)
Motoki TAKAHASHI (Kyoto University)
5-1. Shoko YAMADA (Nagoya University)
Elite Education in Achimota School of Colonial Ghana and the Surge of Students’ Agencies: At the Intersection of Class, Westernization, and Gender
5-2. Doris Akyere BOATENG (University of Ghana)
Resilience as a Key to Women’s Empowerment: Evidence from Three Studies
5-3. Gen YAMAKOSHI (Kyoto University)
Conservation of the Bush of Ghosts: Conviviality in Guinean Anthropogenic Landscape
15:30-15:40 Coffee Break
15:40-16:30 General Discussion

Moderators: Motoji MATSUDA and Itaru OHTA
Farewell Party
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