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"Dr. Richard Byron-Cox to lecture at the University of Addis Ababa"


                                                         CSS Monthly Public Lecture Series

The Office of the Associate Dean for Research and Technology Transfer of the College of Social Sciences is pleased to announce a public lecture series presentation on the issue of:

General Subject Area: International Relations, Environment and Sustainable Development

Specific Theme: Global Environmental Governance and the Development and Protection of Africa

Lecturer: Dr. Richard A. Byron-Cox (PhD International Law)

Affiliation: Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

Date: February 5, 2018

Time: 2:30 PM (8:30 local time)

Venue: CSS Bldg. (NCR)

Room: 14


                                                      Brief expose of the presentation


According to the world population forecast, by the end of this century 40% of the planet’s population will be living in Africa. That is to say by 2100 a further 3 billion will be added to the existing figure of 1.2 billion. This prediction presents serious challenges to the content first among which is the pressure this increase will place on the natural environment, demanding of it the production of more of everything from water, to energy, to food, and space for human settlement. The question is: will the continent be equal to the task? There are the pundits who have declared that this will be the African century by which they mean inter alia, that Africa will finally achieve economic prosperity for its people, becoming a major if not the major player in the global arena. Although they have not provided any real basis for this prediction, their argument includes that with the arrival of China, India, Brazil and others as leading industrial powers, hungry for raw materials, Africa’s vast natural resources will give it great leverage.


A closer look at this hypothesis under the beam of history shows that such conclusions are not only premature; they could be absolutely wrong. The worlds need for Africa’s resources is nothing new, and has in fact hurt rather than help Africa. One needs not go further than read the work of historian, Dr. Walter Rodney, “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa” to see that having the resources is no guarantee of Africa’s economic progress, or of its place at the decision-making table in the international arena. On the contrary, from the beginning of the transatlantic slave trade to the Berlin Conference infamously known as “The Scramble for Africa,” and everything in between and after have shown, it is these resources that are the major cause of Africa’s “underdevelopment” and exploitation. And, there is much talk about the amount of foreign investment pouring into some parts of the continent. Serious scholarship requires that one notes the nature of these investments. The fact is that from land grabbing to oil drilling have enriched the investors and a few of the continent’s political and economic elites, while the masses still await their share. A deeper look may well reveal that what is happening in this “new dispensation” is what happened in the old, namely, that the resources and being removed and used by the multinationals while people remain in indigence, with even greater toll on the environment and ecology of the content.

In this lecture Dr. Richard A. Byron-Cox argues that one of the main ways for Africa to realize its goal of sustainable development and the protection of its environment is through the full embrace of proper global environmental governance. He insists that in this embrace Africa must be determined to show leadership to the rest of the world as regards protecting the planet’s natural resources and environment. And, that this leadership must be through inter alia, the influencing of international policy and the practice of protecting the content from each local community upwards, that is putting its people and environment first. He posits that if Africa fails in this regards the future of the continent will be bleak!


                                                 About the lecturer

Dr. Richard A. Byron-Cox holds a PhD in public international law. He is also a trained and experienced diplomat, international relations specialist and linguist. As a writer and essayist, he tackles subjects ranging from international law to sustainable development and global environmental politics. And, he is an experienced lecturer having been special guest or distinguished lecturer at universities on every continent including the Namibia State University; Yonsie University, South Korea; The University of Bonn, Oxford University, University College London (UCL), the Hacettepe University Ankara, Turkey; Kharazmi University in Iran; the University of Trinidad and Tobago and many more. Dr. Byron-Cox is the author of the critically acclaimed historical novel, “Were Mama’s Tears in Vain?