Journal Article: Political ecologies of water in South Africa: A literature review, by Magalie Bourblanc

In WIREs Water, GovInn researcher Dr Magalie Bourblanc and David Blanchon have published an article titled “Political ecologies of water in South Africa: A literature review”.


Given the existence of a thriving epistemic community on water sciences, the high politicization of environmental issues in the country as well as the active mobilization of a grassroot movement inspired by environmental justice, South Africa appears to be an ideal case to study the development of a political ecology (PE) approach. Moreover, since the apartheid regime, water issues have long represented a marker of extreme inequality.This paper aims at drawing a panorama of the PE of water in South Africa, its main topics and approaches. In our definition, the PE of water is concerned with human–environment relations, with explicit considerations for power relations. In the first section, we identified texts that, according to this definition, constitute the core of the PE of water in South Africa, going beyond a mere “politics of water.” In the second section and in the discussion, we undertook an in-depth analysis of the main topics addressed by authors, such as environmental flows, “free basic water policy,” prepaid water meters. PE of water is strongly connected to international debates about the link between water and power, but also capable of addressing in a critical way the specificities of the South African waterscape. It stems from this review that critical PE in urban settings in particular dominates the discipline. We could also note that the PE of water in rural areas tends to put a bigger emphasis on the “politics of ecology” whereas urban PE tends to focus more on the “ecology in politics,” although both thrive to examine the human–environment relations in an integrated manner.


You can read the full article here, or through the DOI:

Seminar: Working toward SDG 16.1: Freedom from Violence in (South) Africa, 5 September 2019

South Africa is in the process of completing its first National Report within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in addition to presenting its Voluntary National Review at the UN High Level Political Forum in New York in July. The University of Pretoria has over the past six months been working with Stats SA to contribute to South Africa’s reports. In this symposium, scholars who have been involved in the process from the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) and the Freedom from Violence programme based in the Law Faculty, will provide insights related to the first target of the Goal – aimed at significantly reducing all forms of violence.  The presentations will range from the interconnections with South Africa’s National Development Plan, its recent White Paper on Safety and Security, to broader interventions extending across the continent, exploring the possibilities for broader armed violence reduction in post-conflict societies, and some of the challenges posed by a particular form of peace-building initiative Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) initiatives.
Thursday 5 September 2019
10:00 – 13:00
Room 2-21, Law Faculty, University of Pretoria

Workshop Invitation: The State of Food Governance in South Africa, Wednesday, 25 September, 08:30-17:30

We would like to invite you to a workshop on ‘The State of Food Governance in South Africa’ on 25 September at the Future Africa Campus of the University of Pretoria. This event is part of the GovInn Week organised every two years by the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation.

The objective of this one-day workshop will be to continue the existing policy debate on food insecurity in South Africa. It will review and discuss what is known about the policies and programmes relating to food and nutrition security at national and local levels of governance; identify the main knowledge gaps; and then debate the major issues preventing effective food security governance in the country.

South Africa is food secure at the national level. However, food insecurity and malnutrition at the household level are high and the country has a poor record with regards to the prevalence of stunting, obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases. Since 2002, a range of policies have attempted to address these high levels of food insecurity, yet food insecurity and malnutrition persist, which raises core concerns about the South African food system and its governance.

Please join us to discuss this critical policy problem currently facing South Africa. A draft programme can be found here.

RSVP by 5th September by following the link below

For more information please contact:, 083 260 4703

GovInn Working Paper 01/2019: The futures of rural migration in sub-Saharan Africa: A literature review and exploratory essay

GovInn researcher Dr Robin Bourgeois has contributed the first working paper of 2019 to the GovInn Working Papers series, titled “The futures of rural migration in sub-Saharan Africa: A literature review and exploratory essay”.

In a context where 200 million more people are expected to live in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) alone by 2050, the question of the futures of SSA rural migration is of crucial importance in a region which so far as remained essentially rural, in spite of a growing urbanization process. The first aim of this paper is to undertake a comprehensive review of the literature on the futures of rural migration in SSA. Drawing from 37 studies it provides a picture of anticipated drivers and migration patterns. It shows also that to our knowledge, rural migration in SSA is still largely an underexplored field of research. The second aim of this paper is therefore to provide some more insights about this question developing an essay drawing from general knowledge about population flows and specific scenario work connecting alternative global world orders and plausible scenarios of rural transformation into three alternative narratives about rural migration in SSA. This anticipatory work, with no predictive intention, provides some elements of thought regarding future migration patterns and briefly discuss governance-related implications.


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

The DOI for this paper is

“Creating knowledge democracy in South Africa: The role of communities of practice”, Camilla Adelle

GovInn research fellow, Dr Camilla Adelle, has published a commentary in the South African Journal of Science on “Creating knowledge democracy in South Africa: The role of communities of practice”.


In our pursuit of a more equitable, just and sustainable society, we must examine not only who makes decisions, but also on whose evidence these decisions are made. The question of whose knowledge is to be recognised, translated and incorporated into action is especially important in South Africa as universities attempt to respond to calls to decolonise the curricula. In this Commentary, I argue that widening the scope of knowledge production is an essential role that universities can play in creating knowledge democracy. Communities of practice are presented as a way in which scientists can cultivate research partnerships with stakeholders outside of science to co-produce knowledge needed to solve society’s current complex challenges.


The full commentary is available here.

Book cover

Re-Inventing Africa’s Development – Linking Africa to the Korean Development Model: 21 August

The Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation invites you to a conversation with the Ambassador of South Korea to South Africa Dr Jong-Dae Park, on his book Re-Inventing Africa’s Development – Linking Africa to the Korean Development Model.

The book analyses the development problems of sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) from the eyes of a Korean diplomat with knowledge of the economic growth Korea has experienced in recent decades. The author argues that Africa’s development challenges are not due to a lack of resources but a lack of management, presenting an alternative to the traditional view that Africa’s problems are caused by a lack of leadership. In exploring an approach based on mind-set and nation-building, rather than unity – which tends to promote individual or party interests rather than the broader country or national interests – the author suggests new solutions for SSA’s economic growth, inspired by Korea’s successful economic growth model much of which is focused on industrialisation.

The open access book is available here:

Date: Time: Venue: RSVP:

Wednesday, 21 August 2019
15:00 – 17:00
Seminar Room 1-09, Old College House, University of Pretoria Kirsty Nepomuceno,

Call for papers: SDG 16 Symposium: Safe communities, just societies and effective governance, 5 September 2019

Thursday 5 September 2019

University of Pretoria

South Africa is in the process of completing its first National Report within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in addition to presenting its Voluntary National Review at the UN High Level Political Forum in New York in July. The University of Pretoria has over the past six months been working with Stats SA to contribute to South Africa’s reports.

This symposium—organised by the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) and the Freedom from Violence programme—will specifically focus on engagement with SDG16, and is an opportunity for us to share something about the process and findings of the report. We further want to use this opportunity to invite others working on SDG16 related themes to share their work and engage in a dialogue together about reaching the goal of creating safe communities, just societies and effective governance in South Africa.

SDG 16 is particularly pertinent in South Africa at this time, as the State Capture commission continues to unfold, crime and safety continue to pose a challenge and inequalities continue to riddle our society. During this symposium, we’d like to engage with some of the following questions:

  • what are the problems with the implementation of the White Paper on Safety and Security?
  • what are the obstacles to access to justice in South Africa?
  • how can we understand and/or measure corruption in South Africa’s formal governance structures?

If you are interested in presenting at this symposium, please send me your abstract and bio by 15 August 2019 at Depending on the responses we receive, we will consider putting together a special issue of a journal or book volume on SDG 16 in South Africa.

Photo by Radek Homola on Unsplash

Call for Papers: EU-Africa migration conundrum in a changing global order



International Scientific Conference and Workshop

EU-Africa migration conundrum in a changing global order


21-22 November 2019

University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu campus, Finland


The conference brings into conversation leading academics, policy-makers, political observers and practitioners from civil society to explore and examine the current EU-Africa relationships vis-à-vis migration. The issue of migration is challenging this relationship, whereas concrete efforts need to be taken in order for the benefits of the increased interaction to be better harnessed and the unprecedented flows of people managed. The conference will approach the topic thought the lens of border studies, an internationally recognized area of expertise of the Karelian Institute, UEF (Joensuu), in order to evaluate EU-Africa relations in a changing global order. An important aim of the conference will also get informed by lessons and parallels drawn from across Africa, and chiefly, the integration experience of the EU—particularly the Schengen Area—in moving from free movement of labour (only) to EU citizenship, as enshrined in Article 20 (1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Africa, in particular, is characterised by extensive interactions across its artificial and contiguous borders and borderlands, just as there are increasing migration flows from Africa to Europe.

The issue of migration is challenging intra-Africa relationships as well as its relationships with other regions of the world, such as Europe. Thus, the imperative to examine intra-Africa relations vis-à-vis migration, in the context of borders and boundaries and evaluate EU-Africa relations in a global order characterised by unprecedented fluxes of men, women and children between the two continents. In particular, Africa is characterised by extensive interactions across its artificial and contiguous borders and borderlands, just as there are increasing flows of migration from Africa to Europe. Several questions arise, such as inter alia; How should these fluxes be managed to promote socioeconomic transformation and development in Africa? What lessons can be gleaned from the experiences of the EU?

This conference is timely as it speaks to contemporary but longstanding issues that impact the continents concerned and the global political economy. Its outcomes and products will speak directly to and inform policy in a bid to formulate working solutions to these challenges. It will also contribute to ongoing discussions and debates in academia on matters raised and thus contribute to theory building. Moreover, the project has as its innovative strength, the proposed conferring of academics, policy makers and practitioners to exchange views, experiences and seek solutions to challenges concerning human mobility in general and the related issues of borders, boundaries and regional integration. The potential of networks that will also be built from this experience for future endeavours and development in general for Africa, the EU and relationships between the continents cannot be overstated.

Following the kick off conference hosted by the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation in Pretoria, South Africa, this second conference will be a two two-day event that will focus on human mobility and migration issues with respect to borders, boundaries and regional integration, and one international conference focusing on EU-Africa relations vis-à-vis migration and borders, under the theme “the EU-Africa migration conundrum in a changing global order.” In addition to the open conference, a closed workshop will be held in which participants will engage in detailed exchanges and discussions of issues framed out in the concept note.



  • The participants are encouraged to submit a full paper to be considered for an edited volume to prepared based on the conference deliberations.
  • The deadline for submission of abstracts is 2 September 2019.
  • Please send a MS Word document in English containing: author’s name, affiliation, e-mail address, a paper title, and a clear and concise abstract of max. 250 words by email to Dr. Jussi Laine at
  • The scientific committee will select those contributions which best fit the theme of the call for papers and selected participants will be notified by 12 September 2019.
  • Participants are expected to make and cover for their own travel and accommodation arrangements.
  • The participation is free of charge. Lunches as well as a conference dinner will provided for all registered and presenting participants.
  • Travel grants: there are seven max. 1.000,00 EUR travel grants available to support attendees. To apply for the travel grant, please include a short motivation letter of why you should be awarded the travel grant in the same document together with your abstract. All travel grants awardees are expected to submit a full-length chapter for the edited volume. Note that there may be more meritorious applications than we will be able to award. Grants are awarded to attendants only upon providing receipts of expenses made in light of attending the conference.

For any other questions, please contact Dr. Jussi Laine:

The conference is supported by the Jean Monnet activity within the ERASMUS+ programme Africa-EU relations, migration, development and integration (587767-EPP-1-2017-1-ZA-EPPJMO-PROJECT) together with the Joensuu University Foundation.


Note also the VERA Conference 2019: “From deconstructing to constructing walls: 30 years after Berlin” to be organized 20-21 Nov 2019 in Joensuu:

GovInn Week 2019 – 24-27 September: Save the date!

Save the date!

From 24 to 29 September 2019, the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation will host the 5th Governance Innovation Week at the University of Pretoria.

More details to follow!

Dickson Ajisafe participated in the 2019 Africa-Europe Dialogue held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Dickson Ajisafe joined other team leaders from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Chad, Ethiopia, Italy, France and Lithuania to coordinate and lead the recently concluded Africa-Europe Dialogue held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia between 14 to16 of May 2019. The Dialogue was building a strategic long-term process in the run up to the AU-EU Summit in 2020. The Dialogue, with a special focus on Education, Mobility and Youth nexus, was organised under the auspices of the Erasmus+ Student and Alumni Alliance (ESAA)-comprising the Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association, garagErasmus Foundation, OCEANS network and Erasmus Student Network. The Erasmus+ Student and Alumni Alliance ( is established and driven by close cooperation between the European Union and the alumni of the Erasmus+ programmes.  Discussions during this unique event were centred on investing in people of Africa and Europe and building contacts between them through educational mobility, youth empowerment and development.

The first day of the dialogue, hosted by the EU Delegation to the African Union in Addis Ababa, started with a kick-off seminar and a warm welcome address from Anna Burylo, Deputy Head of EU Delegation to the African Union. The seminar gathered expert inputs from researchers, educators, social entrepreneurs, opinion leaders, Erasmus+ alumni, youth workers and activists- who presented stimulated intellectual discussions on some pressing socio-economic issues of contemporary African and European societies.

The second day of the event was hosted by the Ethiopian Institute for Higher Education, University of Addis Ababa, with a special opening remarks by Professor Abebaw Yirga Adamu, Director, Ethiopian Institute for Higher Education – Addis Ababa University and followed with presentations on EU scholarship opportunities for bachelors, masters, and PhD students as well as academic and administrative staff of universities in Ethiopia. The forum equally included special consultation with the Ethiopian university students and youth, incorporating their opinions into the longer-term process that will shake and shape the Africa-Europe Strategic Partnership (a high-level policy process between the African Union and the European Union).The core focus of the Dialogue includes investing in people by investing in learning mobility as recognition of the power of people-to-people diplomacy.

The last day of the event was co-hosted by the Human Resources and Youth Development, Education Division of the African Union, as well as Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI), Ethiopia, where participants discussed learning mobility opportunities and possibilities for youth training, internship and exchange programs for African and European students.

The 3-day event was sponsored by the European Union with the endorsement of the African Union Youth Envoy, in close cooperation with the Ethiopian Institute for Higher Education, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia and ended with a special dinner at Dimma Cultural Restaurant, Addis Ababa.