Third Young Scholars Conference 2023

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Third Young Scholars Conference on Structural Change and Industrial Policy in Africa

organised by

University of Johannesburg, Young Scholars Initiative

13-14 June 2023 | Virtual Conference


About the conference

The economic structures of many African countries remain largely unchanged, without much successful industrialisation. African countries seek to increase their industrialisation in an ever-changing economic landscape. Rapid digitalisation and a move towards more AI-enabled functions, means that the gap between African countries and the rest of the world is becoming ever wider. In addition, climate change has brought to the fore the need for green industrialisation, particularly in a world where sustainability requirements are increasingly part of conditions to supply into GVCs. These and other considerations suggest that, in their quest for industrialisation, a full consideration of the rapidly changing global economic landscape should be part of any industrialisation plans.

Following the success of the previous conferences, the Third Young Scholars Conference on Structural Change and Industrial Policy in Africa invites papers from young scholars whose work engages with these themes. We especially encourage research that takes a pluralist perspective. The purpose of this conference is to contribute to scholarship on structural change and industrial development and policy in Africa, specifically among young scholars.

Most of the conference will proceed in parallel thematic sessions. Senior international scholars will act as discussants to provide feedback on presented papers. The conference will be held virtually, with the option of congregated attendance at satellite venues, where attendants can participate in the conference as a group in a single venue. Attendance is free and open to the public, especially young scholars. Certificates confirming presenters’ participation will be provided on request.


Submission requirements

Presentation at the conference is open to students, postdoctoral research fellows and early career researchers.

Submissions are invited around the broad themes of structural change, industrial development and industrial policy in Africa. Studies with a sub-national, national or supra-national focus are all welcome.

Topics could include, but are not limited to, the following:

● Structural change in Africa
● Industrial development, industrialisation, sector studies, and deindustrialisation in Africa
● The political economy of industrial policy in Africa
● The 4IR and industrialisation in Africa
● Green industrialisation and green industrial policy in Africa
● Diversification, economic complexity and industrial development in Africa
● Gendered aspects of industrial development and policy in Africa
● Innovation, technological upgrading, learning and capabilities in industrial development in Africa
● Distributional and labour market aspects of industrial development in Africa
● Trade and industrial hubs (parks, zones, districts etc.) in Africa
● Regional and global value chains in Africa
● Regional integration in Africa
● Industrial policy post-COVID

As part of the submission, extended abstracts of 600-800 words are required. The deadline for submissions is 19 April 2023. Submissions must be uploaded at Third Young Scholars Conference

For queries or technical assistance, please contact Mrs. Koketso Manyane-Dlangamandla, email:



We will be recognising outstanding papers with awards for the Best Paper ($750) and Runner-up Best Paper ($250). To be eligible, submissions need to be accepted and presented at the conference, and full papers need to be submitted to by 15 May 2023. These awards are at the discretion of the selection committee and decisions of the selection committee are final.


Satellite conference venues

Apply to host a satellite event

You have the option to host a satellite event to this conference at your own university. A satellite event is intended to serve as an in-person gathering to this otherwise virtual event. It’s an opportunity to gather peers interested in the conference themes and enjoy the sessions together.

For more information and to apply to host a satellite event complete this form by 24 April 2023.


Conference organisers

Conference Co-Chairs:
Prof Fiona Tregenna (University of Johannesburg) and Dr Richard Itaman (University of Cambridge).

Conference scientific committee:
Prof Alexis Habiyaremye, Dr Elvis Avenyo, Dr Phumzile Ncube, Dr Freeman Mateko, Dr Kiru Sichoongwe (University of Johannesburg);
Dr Danilo Spinola, Dr Christopher Pomwene Shafuda (Young Scholars Initiative).

Conference support:
Mrs. Koketso Manyane-Dlangamandla, Ms. Gill Scott (University of Johannesburg);
Christina Mosalagae (Young Scholars Initiative)


The DSI/NRF South African Research Chair in Industrial Development (SARChI-ID) is based at the University of Johannesburg, and undertakes research, capacity building and public and policy engagement focused on industrial development. The Young Scholars Initiative (YSI) supports and inspires the next generation of new economic thinkers and aims to transform the discourse in economics by establishing an open space for economic thought and inquiry. These institutions have collaborated in this joint conference in recognition of the need to strengthen research on structural change and industrial development in Africa, especially amongst young scholars.