The Africa Development Conference is an annual collaborative event organized by  students of African descent at the Harvard Law School, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Harvard Extension School, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, John A Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Since its inception, the ADC has become the premier policy platform to engage on issues affecting Africa at Harvard University. We want this year’s conference to be extra special for every participant because we celebrating the tenth (10th) anniversary edition. Join us as we examine and unpack the various issues affecting the continent as well as creating the critical professional network that will will help us compare country innovations and solutions.

Through the theme: “New Global Partnerships for Africa’s Development: Creating Our Desired Future Together,” we will spark discussions around the evolving narrative on Africa’s relationship with its overseas development partners and the shifts required to ensure inclusive growth and development across the continent. We believe that this theme is a timely because it allows us to explore and respond to the recent strategic shifts in the engagement of major global economic powers of the world and how it relates to Africa.

By the end of this Conference, we intend to obtain an understanding of how to make these partnerships work for the current generation of Africans without unduly burdening the future generations. We need you and your full participation to make the time spent here meaningful and worthwhile.


We are immensely grateful to His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo, the President of Ghana for being the Special Guest of Honor at this year’s ADC. It seems quite obvious that we have assembled the ‘Movers and Shakers’ on the African continent and brilliant minds from the diaspora to critically engage us through a number of inspirational keynote addresses and other panel discussions. We however do not expect it to be a one-way street. It’s your time to shine as well. Ask the questions, partake in the discussions, proffer solutions. We are all in this together and we shall rise together. We implore you to network, make friends, take contacts and let’s intentionally build our desired future together.

We hope you enjoy the conference. And once again, thanks for attending!

We are honoured to host you.

With kind regards,

Taimi Itembu, Dimeji Salaudeen, Reginald Nii Odoi, Prince Nwankwo and Kojo Frempong

2019 Africa Development Conference Co-Chairs.





Creating Our Desired Future Together
The conference seeks to respond to the recent strategic geo-political shifts in the engagement of major global economic powers with the continent. The objectives of the conference are to understand how to:

  • make these partnerships work for the current generation of African, without unduly burdening the future generations

  • secure mutually beneficial deals in these emerging scenarios

  • measure the impact of these programs as Africa enters a new age of continental strategic partnerships

The conference will take a three-pronged approach to explore cross-continental partnerships, intra-Africa partnership, and also “micro-partnerships” at the industry or sectoral levels to uncover how a desirable future can be created together.

 These issues and more will be explored over the two days through a series of panel discussions, keynote addresses, and plenary working sessions with conference attendees and speakers.


At the September 2018 triennial Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Beijing, President Xi Jinping announced another $60 billion package of aid, investment and loans to Africa, against a backdrop of growing concern about rising debt distress on the continent. China’s external aid and development policy now appears to have sparked an interesting ideological response from some advanced capitalist countries, in terms of their own engagement strategy with Africa.

In September 2018, the European Union (EU), at its State of the Union meeting in Brussels, pledged a 100 billion Euro support in foreign direct investments and grants targeted at creating 10 million jobs on the continent over the next five years. The EU, currently Africa’s biggest trading partner, will also deliver support in the form of scholarships and exchange programs to over 100,000 students over the next ten years, under an ambitious overall plan, the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investments and Jobs.

The United States (US) is also pursuing a similar objective. In October, 2018, the US Senate passed the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act (BUILD Act), which will streamline and strengthen US development finance tools by establishing a full-service US International Development Finance Corporation (USIDFC). The BUILD Act will build markets for American goods in fast-growing emerging markets, support private sector-led growth in strategic allies, and ensure that US companies are competing in these markets with Chinese and European firms. The new plan will enable the USIDFC, the implementing agency that will replace the Overseas Private Investment Corp, to double its investment portfolio cap, from the existing $29.5 billion to about $60 billion.

At the same time, Japan and India have floated the Africa-Asia Growth Corridor (AAGC), a major counterpoise to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, under which several African countries, including Senegal, Rwanda, Mauritius and Morocco, have already signed Memoranda of Understanding with China. The primary goal of AAGC is to promote development, connectivity and cooperation between Africa and Asia, under a ‘liberal and value-based order’.

On 21 March 2018, African Union (AU) member states adopted the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). The AfCFTA has been ratified by thirteen countries and is expected to come into force with the ratification of at least nine more AU member states. AfCFTA is a negotiated framework for deepening and expanding intra-African trade, from the existing low base of 14%, creating substantial welfare gains of $65 billion for the continent in the process.


    • Africa’s Human Capital

    • Africa’s Institutional Requirements

    • Africa’s Administrative Capabilities


The Africa Development Conference “ADC” is the premier conference for facilitating global discourse on the Africa’s developmental issues. It is an annual collaborative event organized by students of African descent and those with an interest in Africa, at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Law School, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Extension School, and Harvard College.

In its tenth year, the 2019 ADC will focus on the evolving narrative of Africa’s relationship with its development partners and the shifts required to ensure inclusive growth and development across the continent.



Harvard Kennedy School

The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (also known as Harvard Kennedy School and HKS) is a public policy and public administration school, of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. The school offers master’s degrees in public policy, public administration, and international development, grants several doctoral degrees, and many executive education programs. It conducts research in subjects relating to politics, government, international affairs, and economics. Since 1970 the school has graduated 17 heads of state, the most of any educational institution.

The School’s primary campus is located on John F. Kennedy Street in Cambridge. The main buildings overlook the Charles River, southwest of Harvard Yard and Harvard Square, on the site of a former MBTA Red Line train yard. The School is adjacent to the public riverfront John F. Kennedy Memorial Park.


Hotels closest to Harvard Kennedy School.



Who organizes the Africa Development Conference?

African students at from more than twelve schools at Harvard University run the Africa Development Conference. The 10-year old conference draws on the ever-growing Africa Students population at Harvard University to discuss policies related to Africa.

I Want to Sponsor the Conference. What do I do?

We have tiered packages for sponsorships and we are ready and available to discuss all with you. Kindly click here to send us a mail and we will respond immediately.

What if I need a visa to attend the Conference?

We can support you with a letter to the American Embassy once you have paid for your ticket (Students Only) or paid your sponsorship commitment (Sponsors Only) to the conference.

Who can attend the Africa Development Conference?

Everyone can attend the Africa Development Conference. It is for intellectual stimulation, networking, creating lifelong friendships as well as learning about the ‘positive deviance’ on the continent.

Are there Early bird tickets?

Yes, there are early bird tickets for students and will go on sale from 26th of February to the 5th of March for $40.00


Have any Questions?