Saturday, March 24th, 2012
8.30 am - 5.00 pm
Harvard Law School Wasserstein Hall
1585 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 01238
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Success Stories in Africa

Success Stories of Political and Economic Progress in Africa

Countries such as Ghana, Rwanda, Botswana, South Africa and others have made significant political and economic reforms that have resulted in rapid growth and development. Have these changes been the result of top-down reforms and the presence of a strong national leader or have they been the result of an active civil society?


Ambassador Charles Stith, Former U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania

Ambassador Charles R. Stith is the founding Director of the African Presidential Center at Boston University, and is on the Faculty of the BU Department of International Relations. Ambassador Stith is on the Advisory Committee of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Council of American Ambassadors. Prior to his position at Boston University, he served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania in the traumatic period after the August 1998 bombing of the United States Embassy in Dar es Salaam.
Ambassador Stith is a graduate of Baker University, the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, and Harvard University Divinity School (Th.M). He is the founder and former National President of the Organization for a New Equality (O.N.E.). During his tenure at O.N.E., he helped negotiate and broker the first comprehensive community reinvestment agreement in the country, which committed Boston financial institutions to $500 million in lending to low- and moderate-income and minority communities in Massachusetts. He later served on the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Regulatory Agency Working Group, chaired by then Comptroller of the Currency Eugene Ludwig. He was one of the architects of the regulations redefining the CRA, which has resulted in nearly $2 trillion in credit and capital for low- and moderate- income communities and communities of color.
Prior to heading O.N.E., he was the Senior Minister of the historic Union United Methodist Church in Boston. He was an appointee of then Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. He has served on the National Advisory Boards of FannieMae and Fleet InCity Bank, the editorial board of WCVB-TV, and the boards of West Insurance, Inc. and the Wang Center for Performing Arts, among others. He is the recipient of honorary doctorates from the University of South Carolina, Elizabeth City University, Clark Atlanta University, and Baker University.
Ambassador Stith is the author of For Such a Time as This: African Leadership Challenges (APARC Press, 2008) and Political Religion (Abingdon Press, 1995). He is also the Senior Editor of the annual African Leaders State of Africa Report, and author of many articles, which have appeared in such publications as the African Business Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Denver Post, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and the Chicago Sun Times.

Prof. Eric Werker, Economic Adviser to the President of Liberia

Eric is an Associate Professor in the Business, Government, and the International Economy Unit and a Marvin Bower Fellow at Harvard Business School. His research explores the macroeconomics of development and of developing economies.

Professor Werker has written on fragile states, foreign aid, foreign investment, non-governmental organizations, conflict, and governance. His work has been featured in the Financial Times, Washington Post, BBC, NPR, and publications across the developing world.

Outside of academia, Werker is the economic advisor to the President of Liberia. He has worked with the US Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation on foreign aid projects and with the NGO Conservation International on low-carbon development. He serves on the Advisory Group of the Center for Global Development, is a Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Center for International Development, and has worked with corporations and nonprofits on their decisions and activities in developing countries.

Werker earned his Ph.D. and AB in economics from Harvard University. In his spare time, he enjoys skiing, climbing, mountain biking, and travel.

Dr. Josef Loening, Economist, World Bank, Middle East and North Africa

Josef Loening currently works for the World Bank’s Chief Economist Office of the Middle East and North Africa. Prior to that, he was an economist in the Africa Region (AFTAR) of the World Bank (2007 – 2012). While there, he worked on country programs, and managed technical assistance, project supervision, and analytical teams in Africa and East Asia. Most notably, he was part of the managing team for the African Agricultural Markets Program, This was one of the key programs within the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Program (CAADP), an African-driven initiative whose goal is to accelerate agricultural growth on the continent.

Josef Loening is an applied economist, interested in the link between public policy and development outcomes, with special emphasis on economic growth, labor markets, and food policy. Prior to the World Bank, he worked for the public and private sector, with notable focus on Latin America. He also served as country economist and associate at the Ibero-America-Institute, University of Goettingen, where he holds a Ph.D. in Economics.


Prof. Holcombe

Professor Holcombe's teaching and publication builds on a career of practice and a focus on building capabilities for human development. She was Program Director for Oxfam America and has served in various positions with UNFPA, UNIFEM and UNICEF in New York and in field postings. She has participated in or led field evaluations and assessments for Ford Foundation, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNDP, World Bank and the University of the South Pacific. Currently Professor Holcombe teaches in the MA and MS Programs in Sustainable International Development, including Frameworks for Development; Demographics of Development; and Managing Policy and Practice Change in Health Systems. She assists the Poverty Alleviation Fund ( with program planning and monitoring.

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