“Rural migration in sub-Saharan Africa: patterns, drivers and relation to structural transformation”, FAO Rural employment working paper

GovInn is pleased to share the new FAO working paper “Rural migration in sub-Saharan Africa: patterns, drivers and relation to structural transformation” which was published at the end of 2019 but only posted recently on the FAO website. GovInners were deeply involved in its preparation with Sara Mercandalli and Bruno Losch as editors, as well as Chris Nshimbi and Robin Bourgeois.

The paper provides an up-to-date review of the literature on the patterns and drivers of rural migration in sub-Saharan Africa and explores their relation to rural and structural transformation. It aims at feeding the current policy debate on migration.

This working paper is a companion of the FAO-CIRAD Atlas “Rural Africa in motion – Dynamics and drivers of migration South of the Sahara”, published in English at the end of 2017 and in French mid-2018. GovInn had been deeply involved in its preparation. The atlas was launched in South Africa during the GovInn Week 2017.

Based on a mixed approach that combines a critical literature review of past, current and future drivers of migration and analyses of available data, the paper first elaborates a pluri-disciplinary and comprehensive conceptual framework for the understanding of the drivers and patterns of rural migration. It then examines the evolving patterns of African rural migration and presents renewed migration characteristics, which have emerged over the last decades. It reveals that migration is performing a range of socio-economic functions far beyond the only transfer of labour from agriculture to other sectors and from rural-to-urban areas. As such, migration processes highlight possible new structural transformation paths, responding to existing challenges faced by the region in terms of demographic and economic transition. The paper finally discusses the characteristics and dynamics of the drivers using existing datasets and case studies. It highlights the diverse and multifaceted nature of the drivers of rural migration and the way they act in combination to shape African rural migration dynamics today and their links to contemporary regional and sectoral processes of change.


You can access the full working paper here.

“Migration Evangelism to French Commuters: Political transnationalism of France-based African migrants on board of trains”, Leon Mwamba

GovInn postdoctral fellow, Dr Leon Mwamba, contributed a blog post on the political transnationalism of African migrants as part of the Diversity, Inclusion and Multidisciplinarity in European Studies (DIMES) Jean Monet Project.

Drawing from political transnationalism of African migrants in France, Dr Tshimpaka argues that France-based African migrant combatants from Francophone countries, transnationally network within the ‘Rassemblement des Africains et Afro-descendants pour la Souverneite’ de Afrique’ (RAASA) to contest the European narrative on African migration, that they deem to be misleading. By doing so, they actively engage each other and ordinary host citizens on metro trains to raise transnational awareness. European countries should not undermine political transnationalism of RAASA, which may contribute to democracy promotion in Africa but, also be a recipe for future conflict opposing political elites to their citizens in Europe, if overlooked.
The full article can be found here.

Call for Papers: Conceptual and Empirical Perspectives on the Performance of Regionalisms in the Global South: From State Fragility to Africa-EU relations, and beyond.

International Workshop

Conceptual and Empirical Perspectives on the Performance of Regionalisms in the Global South: From State Fragility to Africa-EU relations, and beyond.

2.-3. July 2020, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany

Call for Papers


Friedrich Plank – Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz
Contact: friedrich.plank@politik.uni-mainz.de

Johannes Muntschick – Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz
Contact: muntschick@uni-mainz.de


Research has increasingly acknowledged the rise and growing importance of regionalism and regional integration dynamics in the Global South. This reflects in a broad array of literature and a prolific research agenda focusing on comparative regionalism, overlapping regionalism, interregionalism including Africa-EU relations, or specific regional integration organisations (RIOs) and policy fields.

So far, the scientific debate on how to analyse and explain regionalism, specific regional integration processes and outcomes is yet significantly influenced by research on the European Union (EU). Theory-driven and systematic empirical studies on similar phenomena and observations beyond Europe are yet rare to find. This implies that research on regionalism in the Global South is often inherently Euro-centric.

Many shortcomings are specifically evident with reference to the performance of regionalism beyond the EU. While efforts have been made in analysing regionalism in the Global South across various policy fields ranging from mediation, to state fragility, to trade, and applying various different concepts, additional research is necessary with regard to the performance of RIOs and regional integration processes. Scholars have barely embarked on conceptualisations and theoretical frameworks to systematically analyse and explain the outcomes of regionalisms across various policy fields and regions, including hypotheses on the potential causal mechanisms at play and precise operationalisations of key concepts. Moreover, systematic empirical examinations and assessments on specific factors and conditions shaping the output and outcomes of regional integration projects are virtually non-existent. In addition, the performance of regionalisms in response to specific challenges such as state fragility and with reference to donor-recipient cooperation such as Africa-EU relations have so far barely been studied. In terms of theory, conceptualisations on the performance of regional organisations in the Global South are scarce, particularly because existing ones have been inspired primarily by looking at regional integration in Europe. Accordingly, many scholars have analysed the performance and effectiveness of the EU and provided for rich empirical findings and nuanced operationalisations, for instance in EU foreign policy. However, instead of simply applying these frameworks to regionalisms in the Global South, conceptualisations beyond European interpretations of performance are necessary since regional integration projects in structurally different environments might e.g. develop unique notions of performance, might be less focused on goals and their achievement, or confronted with diffuse challenges. These might evolve external dimensions of problem-solving, capacities and capabilities, alteration of behaviour, or social practices.

Possibly, the performance of regionalism is influenced by a variety of conditions. While intra-regional (f)actors such as regional hegemons, member states, non-governmental actors, or specific regional characteristics are widely recognised to play a pivotal role for the outcomes of regional organisations, there has been few systematic research on necessary and sufficient conditions affecting the performance of regional organisations. Such conditions might further involve e.g. cultural links within the regional organisation, institutional decision-making, donor recipient cooperation such as with the EU and African ROIs, the difficulty of the cooperation problem, or state fragility and institutional capacity.


This international workshop seeks to bring together scholars and researchers who work on the topic of regionalism and aims to encourage and advance scientific research on the performance of RIOs and regional integration processes in the Global South. In this context, it aims to bring together research focusing on mediation, state fragility, donor-recipient relations in the context of regionalism, and other topics.

It seeks to provide for discussion and debates on the outcomes of regionalism in the Global South that move beyond European notions and European actors, and are inclusive with regard to actors or policy fields. In particular, the workshop seeks to embark on conceptualising RIO performance and its conditions by including existing frameworks to some extent but concurrently debating and developing new and innovative approaches. It aims at analysing and explaining the outcomes of regionalisms in comparative perspective – with a focus on the Global South. This shall lead to achieving systematic and profound empirical knowledge on the similarities and differences among regional organisations as well as understanding how specific conditions and (f)actors unfold influence. Methodologically, the workshop seeks to combine varying approaches to the study of regionalism including – but not limited to – quantitative analyses, single case studies, comparative endeavours, or other empirical approaches.

Successful papers address topics and questions such as:

  • How can we systematically evaluate/assess the performance of regional organisations in the Global South?
  • What conditions and factors affect the performance of regional organisations in the Global South?
  • In what ways do intra- and/or extra-regional (f)actors shape the performance of regional organisations in the Global South?
  • How do intra- and/or extra-regional non-governmental (f)actors such as member states, the EU,or international partners/donors shape the performance of regional organisations in the Global South?
  • How do factors specific to the region such as state fragility shape the performance of regional organisations in the Global South?
  • How do regional organisations perform in mediation efforts, also in cooperation with external actors such as the EU?
  • How does the architecture of regional organisations shape their performance?
  • What are the similarities and/or differences of regional organisations’ performance in the Global South and what explains them?
  • How do regional organisations in the Global South perform across various policy fields?
  • The combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods with the goal of better analysing, explaining, and understanding regionalism in comparative perspective.

Papers should provide for a (theory-informed) conceptualisation of performance and embark on an empirical approach. Analyses on regionalisms in Africa, Asia, and South America are most welcome. The conference is planned to lead to a joint publication (edited volume with an international publishing house) in which high-quality papers may become part of. In preparation of the workshop, the organisers will provide for an introductory paper that outlines conceptual and methodological approaches to the study of performance of regional organisations in the Global South.

  • Please send an abstract of your paper proposal (max. 300 words; please include title, name and affiliation) by 29th March 2020 (deadline) to: regionalism@uni-mainz.de
  • Limited funding will be available to finance (part) of the travel and accommodation costs. Please, state whether your participation will depend on funding made available by the organisers. If desired, the organisers will take efforts to provide for childcare.


Official Call Document.

Presentation on GovInn work on SDG16 at the South African-French Science and Innovation Days, 2-3 December 2019

GovInn Senior Researcher Dr. Robin Bourgeois presented GovInn’s work on SDG 16 “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions”, at the 1st  South African-French Science and Innovations Days  conference organized by The French Embassy in South Africa, in collaboration with the DST and the NRF during 2-3 December 2019. The event took place at the CSIR Convention Centre, Pretoria. Dr Bourgeois highlighted i) some of the results  of the study of local justice systems in Namibia (http://governanceinnovation.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/GovInn-Working-Paper-02-2019.pdf), ii) the anticipatory approach used for the preparation of the SDG16 section of the goal report GovInn produced as a contribution to the country report by StatSA on the achievement of the SDGs in South Africa, and a holistic approach to the SDGs as a network of interconnected elements. The full presentation and related notes can be found here.

Dr Leon Mwamba Tshimpaka at International Conference on EU-Africa Migration Conundrum in the Global Changing Order, November 2019

GovInn Research Fellow Dr. Leon Mwamba Tshimpaka presented a paper titled: “Solidarite´ en mouvement” against homeland authoritarianism: Political transnationalism of Europe-based African migrants” at the International Conference on EU-Africa Migration Conundrum in the Global Changing Order held at the University of Eastern Finland in Joensuu from 21-23 November 2019.

For further details on the indicated paper please read below abstract: “

“Solidarite´ en mouvement” against homeland authoritarianism: Political transnationalism of Europe-based African migrants

This study focuses on intercontinental citizenship networks exercised by Europe-based African migrants in solidarity against their homeland authoritarianism. Most studies on migrants’ political transnationalism do not emphasize how African migrants entered into solidarity during their mobility and how they create social networks, from their receiving site, to demand for homeland democratic change. Building on notion of social networks and political transnationalism of migrants, this study draws lessons and experiences from 1990 to 2018, the period marking the democratic transition and at the same time democratic deficit in the African continent. It reviews the quality of democracy in part of Central African countries such, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Congo-Brazzaville, and Burundi in order to demonstrate why solidarity among these indicated African migrants was of importance to trigger intercontinental citizenship networks in Europe. Against this backdrop, the paper argues that apart from their individual exercised transnational political activities, Europe-based African migrants strengthen their citizenship by entering into solidarity to fight against homeland authoritarian ruling regimes that unite them abroad. It has been found that these Europe-based African migrants collaborate while exiting their countries of origin and, once in Europe, they strategize within horizontal networks during their political activities such as public protests and demonstrations, mutakalisation of homeland government elites, the prohibition of homeland artists to perform in Europe. Thus, “solidarite´ en movement” has triggered the Europe-based African migrant intercontinental citizenship networks.

SEMINAR: Roundtable Discussion on Kazakhstan and South Africa – Lessons of Building Constructive Public Dialogue as the basis of stability and prosperity

The Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in South Africa
in conjunction with
The Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn)
Cordially invites you to a Round Table


Date: Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Time: 14:00 – 16:00
Venue: Old College House Room 1-09, University of Pretoria (building 26 on attached map)

GovInn Working Paper 02/2019: Innovating governance – integrating judicial systems in hybrid political orders: A case study of justice practices in the Namibian Erongo Region

The second GovInn Working Paper of 2019, by Erika Dahlmanns and Cori Wielenga, looks at integrating judicial systems in hybrid political orders, with as case study the Namibian Erongo Region. This paper is interested in dynamics arising from the attempt of the Namibian government to integrate the formerly “informal”, tradition-based community courts into the state’s justice system to understand how hybrid political orders and their integration stipulate or obstruct governance innovation and what this might suggest in terms of responding to governance challenges in the field of justice and conflict resolution typical to states in Africa.

Central to the functioning of the African state is the reality of parallel and hybrid political orders which are manifest in the so called “informal”, including economic, trade and governance systems which operate alongside the state. These generate governance challenges that African governments and local actors have dealt with in innovative ways, including in the field of justice, which is the particular interest of this paper.

In this paper, we are interested in dynamics arising from the attempt of the Namibian government to integrate the formerly “informal”, tradition-based community courts into the state’s justice system to understand how hybrid political orders and their integration stipulate or obstruct governance innovation and what this might suggest in terms of responding to governance challenges in the field of justice and conflict resolution typical to states in Africa.


To read the full working paper, download the document here.

#FoodTalks SEMINAR: Student hunger and achieving the right to food for all, what role for universities?, 5 November 2019

The Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship (CAS) invites you to a #FoodTalks seminar on student hunger and achieving the right to food for all. The question being what role for universities? There will be academic, activist, and student perspectives brought by inputs from Professor Vishwas Satgar, Oluwafunmilola Adeniyi, and Elgin Hlaka. This event is organised in collaboration with the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security, the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn), and the Human Economy Programme within CAS.

DATE Tuesday 5 November 2019
TIME 13:30 – 15:30
VENUE Old College House Seminar Lounge, 1-09, University of Pretoria
RSVP Cecelia Samson, 012 420 2653, cecelia.samson@up.ac.za

Too many students at our universities go hungry, negatively affecting their studies and their lives. At the same time, universities are sights of food selling and eating and are large buyers of food. There are great opportunities for universities to play a role in creating more sustainable and healthy food environments, for them to use their buying power to influence wider food systems,
and to inculcate healthy food production, processing and eating habits, not only in what they teach, but also in how they operate.

This #FoodTalks seminar will help us understand the food challenges and opportunities at universities, and to share from existing initiatives that are responding to these challenges.

Food talks to us at many levels, touching on important aspects of our lives and society. This is a continuation of a series of seminars that is bringing together leading thinkers and practitioners in the sector to share knowledge, and create a space to talk about the current food system and how we can move to a socially and ecologically regenerative, just and nourishing food system in South Africa and the region.


More details on this event can be found here.

SEMINAR REPORT: Africa’s development challenges are not due to a lack of resources but a lack of management, 21 August 2019

Seminar presentation by South-Korean Ambassador to South-Africa, Dr Jong-Dae Park

GovInn recently hosted South Korean Ambassador to South Africa, His Excellency Dr Jong-Dae Park, at a seminar on development in Africa. The seminar, held on 21st August 2019, was attended by representatives of diplomatic missions in Pretoria from various countries, university staff, students and GovInn researchers. Dean in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria, Prof. Vasu Reddy, welcomed Dr Park whose paper, based on his recent book Re-inventing Development in Africa: Linking Africa to the Korean Development Model, focused on lessons for Africa from South Korea’s successful development model.

Dr Park challenged common explanations of underdevelopment in Africa such as colonialism, ethnicity and neopatrimonialism; drawing comparisons between Africa under European colonial rule and Korea under Japanese colonial rule. Dr Park insisted that the “psychological yoke”, under which it is believed Africa is incapable to progress and inevitably destined to remain underdeveloped, be broken. In order to achieve transformation, African countries need a strong sense of nation, prominent and proactive governments committed to development and development-mindedness of the people. According to Dr Park, “Such radical transformation could be achieved only if the whole nation, acquires development minded focus, supported by the active role of the state. What makes institutions work are the actions of people who uphold them”. The successes of the Korean economic and developmental model, according to Dr Park was based on ”four cornerstones” including, land reform, empowerment of the people, educational reform and governmental reform. Additionally, the Korean development model was founded on a strong development mind-set in the name of “attaining better life and modernization of the nation” and by an egalitarian spirit instilled in the people. For Africa, Dr Park recommended initiatives focused on four areas (a) macroeconomic stability; (b) effective industrialization; (c) human capacity development; and (d) reinvigoration of the market mechanism (economic principles having precedence over political considerations).


Report by Anetta Oksiutycz-Munyawiri

GOVINN WEEK SEMINAR: Pragmatic peace-making for innovative governance and social change, 26 September 2019

With Matt Meyer

Reviewing historical examples from governmental practices in Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Eritrea and elsewhere, Meyer will lead a discussion on the connections between civil resistance, social change, and democracy in this interactive seminar. With reviews of contemporary struggles in Western Sahara and the Cameroons/Ambazonia, fundamental questions of decolonization, apartheid economics, and the roll of education will be addressed. Strategic questions relating to violence/nonviolence, patriarchy, white supremacy, identity issues, and the connections between ideology and pragmatism will also be covered.

DATE: 26 September 2019

TIME: 10:00 – 13:00

VENUE: Future Africa Campus