CRG Seminar: Historical origins of Sub-Sahara Africa’s developmental challenges and what can be done about it

Ever since his first visit to West Africa as a development worker fifty years ago, Frans Gosses questioned himself why the continent has developmental challenges. Often slavery and colonial times are blamed for this situation but that does not explain why Sub-Sahara Africa has not nearly developed as well as other former colonies and suppliers of slave labour in, for example, Asia. Neither has the continent shown the resilience that others demonstrated under pressure. In this lecture, Gosses demonstrates his theory how in prehistoric Africa low population density and consequent lack of conflict have robbed the continent of the formative aspects of warfare, be they technological, economic, managerial, logistical, or spiritual. Gosses calls for primary and craft training, small and medium enterprises in the agricultural arena, and support from companies to increase the level of development. Gosses illustrates this with some cases from his own experience and highlights past successes and mistakes. 


This seminar is organised by the CRG 'Governance, Entrepreneurship, and Inclusive Development' in the framework of its Africa in Practice Seminar Series.

Photo: Minette Lontsie (via Wikimedia Commons).

Frans Gosses studied Dutch law at Leiden University. After his studies, he worked in international aid for three years as a Dutch volunteer. Since then, Frans Gosses has been active in human resources management. For the first 11 years, he worked for the Royal Shell Group as HR manager, for which he was stationed in Africa for several years. In 1986, he switched to executive search, establishing himself as a prominent figure in this field. Amongst others, he worked as managing partner of ATKearney Executive Search and later fulfilled this role with Dutch firm Maes & Lunau.



Date, time and location

20 March 2024
15.00 - 16.30
Pieter de la Courtgebouw / Faculty of Social Sciences, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden
Room 1.A21