Robin Bourgeois at GFAR Webinar ‘Beyond decision making: Foresight as a process for improving attitude towards change’, 27.06.2018

GovInn’s Senior Researcher Robin Bourgeois participated in the GFAR Webinar ‘Beyond decision making: Foresight as a process for improving attitude towards change’.

As part of its series of webinars, GFAR Secretariat is bringing together foresight practitioners and others interested in foresight for agriculture and rural development. They will engage on the role of foresight in proactive and participatory decision making, and in improving attitudes towards change in order to realize effective agriculture and rural development programmes.



Link to Robin’s presentation:

Link to the overall webinar broadcast:

General information about the webinar:

GFAR Webinar- Farmers’ Rights: Achieving Complementarity Between the Informal and Formal Seed Systems, 30.05

As one of the series of GFAR webinars, GFAR Secretariat is bringing together several presenters to engage the agri-food research and innovation community around the topic of Farmers’ Rights, and especially how to achieve the complementarity between the informal and formal seed systems.

To learn more about how to achieve complementarity between the informal and formal seed systems, register today for GFAR webinar: Farmers’ Rights: Achieving Complementarity Between the Informal and Formal Seed Systems. Presenters will share how this complementarity is been achieved and identify some obstacles that still need to be addressed; and an expert will share how holistic policy and legal measures are also needed, identifying their relevant elements and sharing national examples. Desired outcomes of the webinar include to i) distill information and best practices that can be applied to strengthen the complementarity between the informal and formal seed systems at national level and ii) motivate participants to work together by strengthening partnerships and collective actions, according to their own unique roles.

Farmers’ Rights: Achieving Complementarity Between the Informal and Formal Seed Systems

  • Date: 30 May 2017
  • Time: 15:00 Rome time (GMT+2)
  • Duration: 2 hours max
  • Registration open

More information and registration:

Nepad Atlas

Dr Bruno Losch on China Global Television Network

Bruno Losch, lead political economist at CIRAD and co-director of GovInn, based in Govinn’s Cape Town office at the University of the Western Cape, was host of Africa Live broadcasted by the China Global Television Network (CGTN).

In the video he discusses the recent NEPAD atlas on the emerging new rural Africa he coordinated last year and which was presented at the last AU Summit of the Heads of State in Addis Ababa. In this interview he insists on the importance of reshaping over-segmented public policies towards territorial approaches and local development.


You can watch the full video below.

GovInn video playlist

Africa remains a target as Global South ‘land rush’ moves to production

“Africa remains a target as Global South ‘land rush’ moves to production” The Conversation, 11.10.2016

This article was originally published on The Conversation

Now, almost ten years have after the term “land grabbing” first entered the popular imagination, large-scale land acquisitions remain shrouded in secrecy.

The Land Matrix Initiative aims to shine some light in the deals by providing open access to information on intended, concluded, and failed land acquisitions that have taken place since the year 2000. Over recent years, both the quality and the quantity of the data have improved considerably.

This led us to take a fresh look at the current trends in international large-scale land acquisitions.

The start of production

The Land Matrix records more than 1,000 deals covering 26.7 million hectares of contracted land, equal to about 2% of the arable land on Earth.

Most of these deals cultivate pure food crops, and crops that have multiple uses, such as oil seeds. Palm oil is the single most important crop driving large-scale land acquisitions.

Palm oil production in Côte d’Ivoire. Thierry Gouegnon/Reuters

One of the most striking things we found about land deals is their increasing rate of implementation. While speculation was discussed as one of the main drivers of the “rush for land” in earlier years, our data indicates that about 70% of the deals have now started activities on the ground.

Compared to previous figures published in 2012, the number of operational projects has almost doubled. For most deals, it takes less than three years to enter the production phase.

Development of size under contract and size under operation. Authors’ calculation based on the Land Matrix data, April 2016, Author provided

For a subset of deals – 330 out of 1000 – we are familiar with the area under production. This means we are able to look into the implementation of these deals over recent years.

The chart above shows that while the area under contract increased rapidly since 2004, (red bars), the area under production has only increased since 2011 (blue bars). Today, about 55% of the contracted area is under production.

Africa remains a target

Africa remains the most important target area of land acquisitions, with deals concluded in many countries across the continent.

Africa accounts for 42% of the deals, and 10 million hectares of land. Land acquisitions are concentrated along important rivers such as the Niger and the Senegal rivers, and in East Africa.

The second most important region is Eastern Europe, mostly due to the large average size of land per deal: 96 deals covering 5.1 million hectares of concluded deals. One single deal in Ukraine by the company UkrLandFarming covers an area of 654,000 hectares alone.

Another emerging trend is that investors from the Global South have gained in importance. Malaysia is now the leading investor country, with Singapore at number four (the USA and UK are second and third). Global South investors show a strong preference for investment in their own region.

Most investors are still based in Western Europe, and their interests in 315 concluded deals cover nearly 7.3 million hectares. Private sector investors account for more than 70% of the concluded deals. So we know that governments are not the main driver of large-scale land acquisitions.

But investors are part of complex chains, which often include state-owned entities. This means the indirect impact of governments through these entities, and also through policy and trade agreements, is likely bigger than what we can see in the data.

Increased competition

We find that land acquisitions take place in relatively highly populated areas, dominated by existing croplands. About one-third of the area acquired was formerly used for smallholder agriculture – implying an increasing competition over land use between investors and local communities.

We will only see the full impact of the deals in years to come. Positive impacts of large-scale land acquisitions generally include more local jobs and better access to infrastructure. On the negative side, loss of access to land and natural resources, increased conflict over livelihoods and greater inequality are frequent issues.

Given their increasing rate of implementation, the topic of land acquisitions remains hugely important, with many deals entering the production stages for the first time. The fact that land deals often target areas that have been used before hints at considerable socioeconomic and environmental implications for the target regions. And the more we know about these deals, the better we can understand how they will affect local people.


First day of Legacy of Armed Conflicts Workshop: Photos

On 28 July 2016, the Legacy of Armed Conflicts: Sub-Saharan and Comparative Perspectives workshop commenced with the keynote address by Professor Timothy Sisk on trends, causes and consequences of conflict in the 21st Century. Professor Sisk commented on the role of local conflict in the international sphere and the need for increased focus on social cohesion.

After lunch, the participants split into two panels to further discuss the approaches, the trends and current studies in conflicts on the African continent.

See photo’s of the days event below.

“Iran back in the game: a new power in international relations?”

The Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) invited Prof Foad Izadi from the Faculty of World Studies, University of Tehran, to give a lecture on Iran’s position in the world after the sanctions.


Iran Back in the Game Lecture by Prof Foad Izadi, Faculty of World Studies, University of Tehran

“Sport, Security and Language in African and European perspectives”

A Soft Student Seminar under the umbrella of the European Studies Association of Sub-Saharan Africa (ESA-SSA) was held on the 16th of May, 2016, at Old College House, University of Pretoria. It was presided over by officials of the EU-Delegation to the Republic of South Africa, led by the Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation to South Africa, Ms Sofia Moreira de Sousa. Members of the EU Delegation who also participated in the seminar included, Arno Schaefer, Mano Queiro and Carmelo Cocuzza (European Investment Bank regional representative for Southern Africa).

The seminar was held to mark the European Union Anniversary and its focuses included EU and Africa relations, as well as sport, security and language in African and European Perspectives. Ms Sofia reacting to questions on Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreements (TDCA) in Africa said that part of the objectives of the EU and Africa relations, making reference to South Africa in particular is to build a stable country that is economically developed, that would be able to invest in Europe and create a safe place for European investments in the country.

Among the academics of the seminar panels were: Dr. Chris Nshimbi, GovInn Deputy Director, who gave the opening remarks, representing Prof. Lorenzo Fioramonti, Dr John Kotsopoulos, a postdoctoral and Senior Research Fellow at GovInn, Dr. George Dosumu, who represented Dr. Samuel Adeyemo, a Senior Lecturer at Educational Management and Policy Studies’ department. The seminar was also attended by a good number of UP students from various departments and moderated by ESA-SSA student members.



“South Africa’s World: Perspectives on Diplomacy and International Political Economy” roundtable discussion in honour of Prof. Gerrit Olivier

The Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) in partnership with the SARChI Chair: African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy hosted a roundtable discussion titled “South Africa’s World: Perspectives on Diplomacy and International Political Economy” in honour renowned diplomat and academic Proffessor Gerrit Olivier. The event was held at the Senate Hall at UP Hatfield campus and featured  a faculty of some South Africa’s leading thinkers to explore the countries foreign policy. Elizabeth Sidiropoulos (South African Institute of International Affairs) and  Prof. Deon Geldenhuys (University of Johannesburg) provided opening remarks and featured in the discussion along with GovInn director Prof. Lorenzo Fioramonti, Chris Landsberg (SARChI) and Costa Georghiou (University of Johannesburg). The final word belonged to the man of the hour as guests and his family, Skyping in from Hull were treated to a final address from Prof Olivier.





‘South Africa’s Agrarian Question’ book launch by Ward Anseeuw

South Africa’s Agrarian Question

The Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation hosted the book launch of Govinn’s director Ward Anseeuw co-edited book ‘South Africa’s Agrarian Question’, by Hubert Cochet, Ward Anseeuw and Sandrine Fréguin-Gresh.

“The answers provided in this book will be of interest not only to all those interested in the South African experiment, but also to those who, in all regions, are questioning the mainstream agrifood regime and asking how it can be transformed.” – Olivier De Schutter, Former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food (2008–2014); Co-Chair, International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems; Member of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

SA Agrarian Question book launch 19-04-2016 by Dr. Ward Anseeuw