The present issue of Africa Development is dedicated to CODESRIA’s fortieth anniversary and carries articles on the very idea that generated creative debates that led to the realisation of CODESRIA itself. CODESRIA was founded in 1973 by the intellectual visionary, Samir Amin. The acronym CODESRIA, standing for the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, is self-explanatory. CODESRIA is concerned about pursuing the very necessary goal of social science research in Africa. Such was necessary in the early days of post-colonial Africa when the ex-colonial powers enjoyed the monopoly in disseminating information on Africa’s societies. The importance of empirical social knowledge is easily understood when one recognises that the colonialists established research organisations such as the Royal Africa Society in the case of Britain and the Institut francais de l’Afrique noire – later changed to Institut fondamental de l’Afrique noire – in the case of France. The goal was to gather and interpret information on African societies in all areas so as to better coordinate the colonial enterprise.