Chitando, Ezra

Ezra Chitando will be Keynote speaker at Plenary I on Tuesday, 8 June 2021. For more information, please click here.

Religion and Development in Africa: Strides and Struggles

The discourse on religion and development is gaining momentum in Africa. There are diverse ideological and methodological perspectives on the theme. In particular, there is no agreement on the overall contribution of religion to development. In this paper, I maintain that a more balanced approach to religion and development in Africa requires that we highlight the positive contribution, as well as the challenges in relation to the interface between religion and development. The positive role of religion in Africa relates to, among others, the investment made in relation to education, ideals of human dignity and health. Some of the major struggles relate to misleading theologies and (not) upholding women’s human rights. Thus, the paper contends that the question should not be whether religion is a bridge or barrier in relation to development. Rather, the main focus should be on increasing the positive dimensions of religion and diminishing the problematic aspects to ensure that religion promotes development in Africa.


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University of Zimbabwe


Download the abstract: ezra-chitando_abstract.pdf