Professor Lorenzo Fioramonti at the meeting "Measurement of Wellbeing and Development in Africa"

“Getting real about measuring up”, The Mercury, 18 November 2015

Read about GovInn Director Lorenzo Fioramonti’s participation in “Measuring Well-being and Development in Africa” discussion, as written by Colleen Dardagan for The Mercury.

ICHIRA Tambo, who heads Japan’s International Co-operation Agency Research Institute, tells this story: “When I was a college student 35 years ago, I worked in facilitation, co-ordination and interpretation for development country participants in a training programme in Tokyo on underground water development.

“The students bought many electronic devices such as radios, televisions, calculators and phones. These were gifts for their families and friends back home. But there was one exception. An Ethiopian engineer did not buy anything. One day, I asked him why.

“I said: ‘Ethiopia is a poor country and your family waits for you and your gifts.’

Read the full article:

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Transformation demands universities rethink their role

Fioramonti, Lorenzo (with GDPbook 6)

In his latest piece, Lorenzo Fioramonti, GovInn director, provides further insight into the recent student movements that have taken place at universities across the country over the past year, highlighting the structural challenges that continue to underlie many of these institutions.

THE student protests mushrooming across SA in recent weeks reveal a profound malaise in SA’s higher education institutions.

#Feesmustfall is just the latest manifestation of a deeper discontent that has been making headlines at least since the #Rhodesmustfall movement earlier this year. The uprisings underlie a pervasive dissatisfaction with the role of universities in our society that will endure for as long as we refuse to address questions of transformation, equality and opportunity.

For many protesters, this is “a battle of ideas” that aims to “decolonise” education. The intersection of social, racial and class dimensions, epitomised by the slogans “black lives matter” and “we have had enough”, is not incidental. Students demand radical change that can be attained only if universities rethink their role in society.”

Read the full article on Business Day, 27.10.2015

Growth without wellbeing brings no lasting progress, Business Day 06.10.2015

by Lorenzo Fioramonti, GovInn director

Lorenzo Fioramonti

Lorenzo Fioramonti

THE world economic outlook is pretty grim. Not only have we not come out of the 2008 crisis, but the deceleration of the Chinese “powerhouse” is now threatening to sink the global economy into a prolonged double-dip recession that may last for decades.

The Chinese debacle, just like the one in the US that started the global downturn, has been caused by the obsession with economic growth. Both bubbles overheated in the decades preceding the burst, fuelled by huge spending through the accumulation of debt. This madness was celebrated by mainstream economists, analysts, global institutions and influential media as a sign of progress: it was the golden age of growth.

It was a fake and some of us have been saying that all along. Not only did the global economy accumulate unprecedented debt, but it did so at a huge cost to society and the environment. The social debt is evident in the rise of inequality globally and within countries. Extreme inequality in the US is well documented and China is catching up. The most recent surveys of income distribution indicate that China is among the most unequal societies in the world. Moreover, the Chinese leadership fears that the social debt will soon trigger unrest.

Read the full article on Business Day: “Growth without wellbeing brings no lasting progress”

‘Why policymaking in South Africa has become more adversarial’, The Conversation, 10.09.2015

In an article for The Conversation, GovInn Senior Researcher Camilla Adelle discusses the problems that are emerging in South Africa’s public policy making arena, and the responsibility of the South African government to implement inclusive policy-making instruments to ensure public acceptance and effective implementation.

 

Adversarial policymaking in South Africa is increasingly playing itself out in the media and the courts.

In May 2014, new immigration legislation, which has been widely contested for its potential negative impact on tourism, came into force. The electronic tolling of the highways between Johannesburg, the financial capital, and Pretoria, the seat of government, has been so widely resisted by drivers that government was forced to cut the tariff by half.

Now, the City of Cape Town has taken the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) to court for its allegedly unlawful decision to toll 180km of a highway in the Western Cape.

Read more at The Conversation.

Say goodbye to capitalism: Welcome to the Republic of Wellbeing, The Guardian 02.09.2015

New Zealand’s Whanganui River

In 2012, New Zealand’s Whanganui River became a legal entity with a legal voice.

GovInn Director Lorenzo Fioramonti and his colleagues in the Alliance for Sustainability and Prosperity have co-authored an article for The Guardian on their vision of a global governance transformation that will create governments committed to pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals of the post 2015 agenda.

 

Authored by: Lorenzo Fioramonti, Enrico Giovannini, Robert Constanza, Ida Kubiszewski, Kate Pickett, Kristin Vala Ragnarsdottir, Roberto de Vogli and Richard Wilkinson

Imagine a country genuinely committed to pursuing the sustainable development goals (SDGs), set to be agreed on by the international community later this month. It would place emphasis on human and ecosystem wellbeing as the ultimate objective of progress. This country – let’s call it the Republic of Wellbeing – and its business sector would need to embark on a profound transformation to achieve durable, long-term change.

Around the world today, companies and governments do precisely the opposite: they put more emphasis on short-term economic dynamics, or what Hillary Clinton criticised as “quarterly capitalism”. If we are serious about meeting the SDGs then this cannot continue.

Read the full article at The Guardian.

 

Lorenzo Fioramonti Business Day Column

Charity must begin at home for graft-riddled Department of Home Affairs, Business Day 28.08.2015

South AfricaGovInn Director Lorenzo Fioramonti discusses the shortcomings of the South African Department of Home Affairs, looking at the negative effects of recent travel restrictions for foreign migrants and those travelling with minors.

 

THE Department of Home Affairs has never been particularly efficient. Recent events have confirmed that its traditional weaknesses have not been addressed, while showing that new problems have developed, particularly in relation to how foreigners and, above all, migrants are being treated.
With a view to resolving the impasse, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is now leading an interministerial committee, comprising Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, his tourism counterpart, Derek Hanekom, and their colleagues from the security cluster. Their responsibility is to “examine and solve the potential and unintended consequences of the new immigration regulations on various sectors, including tourism and investment”.

 

Read the full article on Business Day, 28.08.2015

"Africa should avoid copying Europe’s failing experiment" Business Day 30.07.2015

“Africa should avoid copying Europe’s failing experiment” Business Day 30.07.2015

"Africa should avoid copying Europe’s failing experiment" Business Day 30.07.2015GovInn Director Lorenzo Fioramonti discusses the EU crisis from an African point of view: is the EU really the right model of regional integration?

“THE European Union (EU) is generally presented as the most advanced case of regional integration in the world. It has progressed from a system of sectoral co-operation in energy governance among six states in the early 1950s to a multifaceted body of 28 members, with unprecedented powers in areas such as economic and social development, monetary governance, legal affairs and foreign policy.

Its approach to integration has been driven by bureaucratic and economic elites, mostly through technical co-operation among key national departments. There is little doubt that such a top-down approach was a key strength during the takeoff phase of integration, as technocrats managed to forge co-operative mechanisms despite the volatility of politics and the fierce ideological battles of the time. Citizens’ involvement came late, with the first parliamentary elections only in 1979. Albeit marginally on the increase, genuine popular participation in Europe’s affairs has been deliberately kept at bay by its architects. Over time, this has resulted in the populace endorsing a rather utilitarian approach towards the EU: happy to be part of it for as long as the benefits largely outweighed the costs.

Since the late 1990s, however, things have changed dramatically. A continent traditionally marked by progressive social policies, functioning welfare states and high living standards has been turned into a very unequal one, with shrinking budgets to support healthcare and education, but vast resources to subsidise financial markets.” […]

Read the full article on Business Day, 30.07.2015

Drop classification of pupils to treat ‘academic autism’ Business Day 23.06.2015

“In June 1976, SA’s youth led one of the most extraordinary protests against a discriminatory approach to education. Their rebellion reverberated across the world to become the symbol of the struggle for freedom in our country. Yet, almost 40 years later, our education system remains exclusionary and fragmented,” writes Lorenzo Fioramonti in his latest column for Business Day.

Drop classification of pupils to treat ‘academic autism’

“Our national debate on education tacitly assumes that SA is divided into a majority of poorly resourced (public) schools and a few, mostly urban, very well-developed (private) schools. This may be true if we limit our observation to the physical infrastructure of the “good” schools. I have indeed never seen as many rugby fields, Olympic pools, beautiful halls and playgrounds as I have in private schools and some of the best-resourced public schools (most of which are public-private hybrids previously known as Model C).

But if we scratch beneath this flashy surface, we find serious problems with the education model there. First, many of them reinforce pre-existing racial and class patterns. This is not only because of high tuition fees but also because of the values they project. It is common for these schools to expect students to wear expensive uniforms, glorify conspicuous consumption (for instance, by allowing companies to advertise to pupils) and teach children that excellence is the result of competition.”

Read the full article “Drop classification of pupils to treat ‘academic autism’” on Business Day 

Linking up Africa to European Union

In this article for The New Age political commentator and former SA diplomat Tom Wheeler report on his participation to the launch of ESA-SSA (European Studies Association of Sub-Saharan Africa), during GovInn Week 2015.

“It was pointed out that unlike Europe and America, where there are many university departments of African studies, there are few if any of such institutions for European Studies in Africa. The result is often that Europe is dealt in Africa in terms of political rhetoric”

ESA-SSA-workshop-New-Age-Tom-Wheeler-1

 

Water shortages about to put load-shedding in the dark – Business Day 05.05.2015

Business DayThis week on Business Day, South Africa’s leading business newspaper, GovInn director Lorenzo Fioramonti discusses the upcoming crisis that South Africa needs to address now: water shortage.

“WHILE load-shedding continues, there is an even more worrying prospect ahead: water-shedding. Like the energy crisis, the abysmal state of water in SA is a combination of at least three factors: resource depletion (and contamination), growing demand and inefficient infrastructure.

Rainfall levels are dropping quickly due to climate change. A recent study published by the World Economic Forum says droughts this century will become more recurrent and severe than in the previous millennium. We feel that already. Over the summer holidays, for instance, eThekwini municipality took the unprecedented decision of asking residents and holiday makers to drastically reduce water consumption to avoid systemic cutbacks, given that the Hazelmere Dam had reached dramatically low levels because of prolonged drought.

Besides climate change, we also have a skewed economy that is out of touch with natural equilibrium: it demands more and more water to fuel economic growth, while wasting and contaminating what we have.”

Read the full article on Business Day