TAFAHEL75U CANCELLED: Optional course: Helping Africa?

Volume 2016/2017

MA programme in African Studies


This course aims to problematize recent "development" initiatives on the African continent. This will be done by looking into specific Africa-based development initiatives as well as external development initiatives focusing on poverty reduction with implications for Africa and Africans.

In the recent debates about Africa two very different perceptions can be identified. One is the Afro-optimistic approach, illustrated by statements as the following from business and government leaders during the closing session of the 21st World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, May 2011: ‘African countries should now focus on converting optimism in the continent's future into action’. The other is the Afro-pessimistic approach illustrated by the following statement: ‘The basket-case African continent, mired in strange pathologies such as "resource curses," "poverty traps," and "blood diamonds" which hasn't changed much since the 1960s’.

One of the elements in this course is to critically discuss actors in Africa's development and the role they are playing in achieving poverty alleviation in Africa. These actors will include the African Union, African States, externals donors (including China and India) and non-states actors.

The course will also look into the role of the private sector and discuss specific poverty-related business activities in Africa. The business activities that are chosen will reflect a variety of contexts and types of business, illustrating the possibilities and challenges for businesses and the effect of their activities on the African people and poverty reduction. The chosen contexts of the specific poverty-related business activities are microfinance, entrepreneurship, BOP, tourism and innovation-based development.

Another element in the course will be to cover, discuss and reflect on specific initiatives such as development aid, the SDG’s and African development initiatives like NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa's Development) etc.

Learning Outcome

The aim is for the student to acquire the following qualifications:

  • Ability to select a relevant sub-topic within the overall focus area of the Helping Africa? course. The sub-topic should be geared towards specific conditions related to Africa.
  • Ability to independently and critically select relevant literature on the sub-topic related to Helping Africa?
  • Ability to independently and critically analyse the sub-topic in question and to place it within the overall context of Helping Africa?
The course will consist of a combination of lectures and workshop-like activities with active student participation and presentations by a number of external lecturers including guests from the private sector, NGOs and researchers. The participants are provided with introductory literature by the facilitator of the course. Active student participation is expected.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Total
  • 28
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 30 min.
Oral exam based on a written synopsis
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Exam period

January 2017

For more information please see here: https://intranet.ku.dk/africanstudies_ma/examination/examinationtimeschedule/Pages/default.aspx

Criteria for exam assesment

The grade of 12 is given at the exam when the student demonstrates:

  • Confident ability to identify and define a sub-topic and an issue of relevance to the overall theme of the optional course.
  • Confident ability to independently and critically select relevant literature on the sub-topic to be studied.
  • Confident ability to independently and critically analyse the sub-topic in question and the chosen literature.
  • Confident ability to conduct an interdisciplinary analysis of the sub-topic in question and to place it within the overall theme of the optional course in question.
  • Confident ability to communicate academic material in a clear, concise and well-argued manner.