‘Can the relationship between Europe and Africa stand the test of time?’, The Conversation, 29.03.2017

Govinn’s Senior Researcher  published the article ‘Can the relationship between Europe and Africa stand the test of time?‘ in The Conversation.

Controversially, the agreement served to perpetuate African dependency on Europe. Even the Lome Convention’s much touted “non-reciprocal” principle, which was supposed to nurture African industries, further attached them to Europe. The convention eventually met strong criticism as a system of “collective clientelism”, which was perpetuating dependency and “elite capture” in Africa. This contradictory relationship between dependency and progressive thinking has made Africans understandably circumspect.

Read the full article here: https://theconversation.com/can-the-relationship-between-europe-and-africa-stand-the-test-of-time-75136?

Mmusi, make an example of Helen Zille by Prince Mashele, 27.03.2017

GovInn’s Senior Researcher Prince Mashele published the article “Mmusi, make an example of Helen Zille” in the Sowetan.

Zille adduces modern infrastructure as evidence of the benevolence of colonialism. The idea is to polish and give colonialism a new glossy look. This is meant to erase the memory of black people, to make us forget that it is Zille’s very same colonialism that facilitated the grand-scale land dispossession of Africans.

Read the full piece here: http://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/2017/03/27/mm
usi-make-an-example-of-helen-zille

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.

Curb your enthusiasm: there are limits to the ‘Gambia-effect’ for the rest of Africa. The Conversation 30.01.2017

In his latest op-ed for The Conversation GovInn Senior research fellow Dr Frank Mattheis warns against over optimism following the relinquishing of power by former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh. The article explores the many interrelated forces which contributed to prevalence of the democratically elected Adama Burrow.  The full article can be read here.

‘If Africa is serious about a free trade area it needs to act quickly, and differently’. The Conversation, 09.01.2017

 

In their latest op-ed for The Conversation GovInn Deputy Director Dr Chris Nshimbi and UNISA Senior Lecturer in political economy Samuel Oloruntoba assess Africa’s regional integration project in light of the 2016 affirmation on the continent-wide free trade area in Addis Ababa at the African Union (AU).

Africa is moving towards crystallising an ambitious integration agenda of establishing a continental free trade area  by October. This comes against a backdrop of an apparent trend away from mega-regional trade agreements in both Europe and the US. Read the full article here.

“Trump leaves citizens a job to do”, Op-ed on Business Day, 23.11.2016

Lorenzo Fioramonti in his latest contribution to Business Day wrote:

“The election of Donald Trump to the White House has been a cold shower not only to many Americans but also to myriad intelligent individuals committed to social transformation and justice the world over. Many know very well that the mainstream neoliberal approach to economic development and politics, as well as the current version of globalisation, has created injustices and tensions. We also know that political systems, not only in the US, are rigged to favour special interests, corporate giants and lobbying, which often is the euphemism for legalised corruption. Yet we found it paradoxical that a man who embodies the most vicious aspects of global capitalism and a natural disrespect for social welfare and the working class can be viewed as the man of change.”

Please read the whole contribution here.

 

‘Why Europe’s ‘fortress’ approach to migration crisis won’t work’ The Conversation 17.11.2016

GovInn Deputy Director Dr. Chris Nshimbi and Dr Innocent Moyo (University of Zululand) consider the European Union’s migration policy in a recent article in The conversation. The failures of physically fortifying Europe against waves of migrants is compounded by policy incoherence and contradictions to EU legislation. Similarly the inability of the EU to adequately address the sources of migration is used as a tool to inform a more sustainable approach to resolving the issue. Read the full article here.

‘The rubber will hit the road for developing countries at COP22 in Marrakech’ 04.10.16

 

In her latest op-ed for The Conversation, GovInn senior research fellow Dr. Camilla Adelle considers the implications of African states swift adoption of the Paris Climate Agreement ahead of the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) taking place in Morocco. The discrepancy between the US$ 100 billion promised to developing countries to assist with climate change and the actual number mobilized is problematized against the accepted OECD report claiming a figure of around US$ 57 billion which is accepted as credible. Read the full article here.

‘When politics and academia collide, quality suffers. Just ask Nigeria’. The Conversation, 25.10.16

 

In his latest op-ed for The Conversation GovInn deputy director Dr Chris Nshimbi considers the ramifications of politicising academia amid the ongoing student protests across South African Universities. The article explores Nigeria’s experiences with similar problems and the resultant decline in universities administrative, academic and financial autonomy while contributing to the departure of many academics. The full article can be read here.

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.