Centre for African and Development Studies (CESA) is a research centre in the ISEG – Lisbon School of Economics and Management at the Universidade de Lisboa. It is dedicated to the study of economic, social and cultural development in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, although it places particular emphasis on the study of Portuguese-speaking countries, China and Pacific Asia, as well as Brazil and other Mercosur countries. Additionally, CESA also promotes research on any other theoretical or applied topic in development studies, in other regions generally or across several regions. It promotes multidisciplinary approaches to the phenomenon of development at the intersection between the various theoretical and applied aspects of research, as well as being linked to national and international cooperation programs, and to the Master’s programs in Development and International Cooperation (MDCI) and PhD in Development Studies (PDED) of the Lisbon School of Economics and Management (ISEG) of the Universidade de Lisboa.
CESA has an important role in teaching activities at ISEG, in the Master in Development and International Cooperation (MDCI) and the Doctoral Program in Development Studies (PDED). This relationship is maintained in several ways: through two representatives of CESA in the Scientific and Pedagogical Committee of the MDCI; a representative of CESA in the Scientific and Pedagogical Committee of the PDED; in the support and teaching of several of its curricular units; collaboration in the organization and realization of the research seminar of the Master and Doctorate; and in the supervision of students’ final dissertations, the development of which the Center seeks to fit into its lines of investigation.
The Centre’s activities in the research and thesis supervision encompass the following topics in particular: economic growth and development, globalization and regionalism, institutions and institutional change, governance and public policies, financial systems and development financing, cooperation for development, economic and social history of colonization, migrations and diasporas, nation and Portuguese-speaking identities, urbanization and development.
The Centre pays particular attention to the organization and expansion of research supporting bibliographic resources, the acquisition of databases and publication exchange with other research centres. With regard to the first of these, the “Memórias de África e do Oriente” (Memories of Africa and East) project is of particular note and is currently being undertaken in partnership between CEsA and the Universidade de Aveiro.
CESA has approved important projects. In 2012, in its activities and facilities, provided by ISEG, it integrated the 2012-2014 program of the Portuguese Committee of the UNESCO Project, creating in its Research Line African Studies the Project “The Route of the Slave”, with the aim of supporting and developing the research strands of this program. Two projects of different nature and content that aim at a common objective, the study of the problem of African slavery in Portugal, centered on the historical trajectories that were fixing the changes verified in the national identity(s), and in the identification and safeguarding a historical and cultural heritage, marked by the secular presence of Africans in the country. More recently, it approved projects under the “Sustainable Development Goals and 2030 Agenda”, in which “Business4SDGs – The Private Sector and Innovation for Sustainable Development” and “Aid2Growth – From Poverty Reduction to Economic Growth: Aid, Business Interests and the 2030 Agenda – Sustainable Development Goals ”. In the decade of celebration of Afrodescendence (2015-2024), CESA approved the AFRO-PORT project, which investigates “Afrodescendence in Portugal: Sociability, representations and socio-political and cultural dynamics. A study in the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon ”; And, with registration in the area of Indian Studies, he approved the project “NILUS – Narratives of the Indian Ocean in the Portuguese-speaking Space”, among others that deal with the theme of human rights, in which the project “Cooperation in the Promotion of Human Rights: The Case of Justice in Guinea-Bissau”.
The internationalization strategy is one of the priorities of the Center, being a member of important networks in the area of Development Studies, such as EADI – European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes. CESA also organizes seminars and conference programs, separately or in tandem with the MDCI and PhD, in which there is a high level of participation by national and international speakers.
Aiming at promoting the dissemination of its scientific output, CESA has created a diversified collection of publications, in accordance with the nature of work conducted: the “Tempos e Espaços Africanos” (African Times and Spaces) collection, published by Editions Colibri; Development Studies; Working Papers; Brief Papers; Background Texts (for the MDCI); Other publications in partnership and E-books; And, more recently, in partnership with ACEP – Associação para a Cooperação entre os Povos, created Mundo Crítico – Journal on Development and Cooperation, a publication that reflects on current issues related to International Cooperation and Development.