ESCA Ecole de Management, Casablanca, Morocco
July 19-21, 2023
The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges and disruptions, whereas global warming and climate change continue to threaten lives, ecosystems, and economies. These pressing challenges, embedded within a broader context of the Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) paradigm, have deepened pre-existing inequalities between individuals, communities, and countries, reinforcing the need for businesses and governments to embrace long-term, sustainable, and inclusive development and shared economic prosperity. These challenges have also leveraged the power of academic research in informing (i) businesses on the value of broadening their engagement with stakeholders and (ii) policymakers and practitioners on the relevance of building institutional capacity for more equitable, sustainable, and resilient socio-economic recovery. Yet, globally, the broader context of ESG is highly debated and has become controversial, and there is a divergence between companies and investors, and across countries, on whether climate risk is important. Still, the United Nations (2020) released a report aimed to catalyze “a worldwide learning recovery effort, where national and international strategies are informed by rigorous scientific evidence generated for the COVID-19 recovery period”. As developed countries gear up to deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), most emerging countries continue to struggle with the design and implementation of recovery efforts. Yet, these countries, particularly those in Africa, are disproportionately vulnerable to post-COVID reality and climate change threats. The rapidly growing population and daunting challenges of poverty, corruption, and armed conflicts, combined with global political uncertainty and the Russia–Ukraine conflict with its compounding effects of hyper-inflation, food insecurity, supply chain disruptions, and distress in financial markets will delay the transition to greener economies and progress towards the SDGs in many low-income economies.
Against this backdrop, with some exceptions, scholarly attention to corporate governance and sustainability in Africa remains limited likely due to data availability, and more remains to be understood about the role of corporate governance and sustainability in addressing the priorities of fostering inclusive and resilient economic development in Africa and other emerging economies. Such research is much needed given the importance of knowledge-based and data-intensive economies in shaping the future of our societies. That is why the 2023 African Finance Society Meeting (AFS 2023) aims to mobilize global research efforts that inform businesses and policymakers in Africa and other economies on the design and implementation of a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient post-pandemic reality. AFS 2023 welcomes interdisciplinary theoretical and empirical research that addresses questions such as: what are the corporate governance practices in emerging markets countries? What is the linkage between corporate governance and sustainability? Can innovation enhance corporate social responsibility and sustainability? Do institutional investors and foreign investors play an important role in aligning multiple stakeholders towards common sustainable goals? What roles can state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and multinational corporations play in designing and implementing sustainable recovery efforts? Do ESG practices matter in low-income countries, including in Africa? More broadly, AFS 2023 welcomes research that provides insights into the risks and opportunities posed to the sustainability paradigm in informing diverse stakeholders on how to navigate the complex changes of the journey towards more sustainable economies.