The European Commission launches the report of the Task Force Rural Africa: “An Africa-Europe agenda for rural transformation”

Bruno Losch, GovInn co-director, was appointed in his personal capacity as a member of the European Commission Task Force Rural Africa in May 2018. The Task Force, chaired by Tom Arnold, includes 10 members from Africa and Europe with a research or practitioner background. It met seven times, in Brussels, Kigali and Berlin.

Preliminary results were presented at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) in Berlin on January 18, 2019, and yesterday, March 7, 2019, the report of the Task Force was launched in Brussels by Phil Hogan, EU Commissioner for agriculture, and Josefa Sacko, African Union Commissioner in charge of rural economy and agriculture, in presence of the Task Force members. It was then presented to the Committee on agriculture and rural development of the European Parliament by the TFRA Chair.

The Task Force work gained momentum with the launch of the New Africa – Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investments and Jobs proposed by the European Commission in September 2018. Its report proposes four main areas for action in order to unlock the full potential of the African rural economy, namely: a territorial development strategy, a sustainable land and natural resources management framework, the sustainable transformation of African agriculture, and the development of the African food industry and markets. The TFRA report will be used in the coming months to feed the policy dialogue between the EU and AU Commissions. It proposes a renewed partnership which should operate at three levels: people to people, business to business, and government to government

In the Media: “Democracy, Governance and the 2019 Elections in Nigeria: Which Candidate is the Answer?”

On Monday 11 February 2019, GovInn hosted a panel of South African based Nigerian academics, political practitioners and students to discuss the upcoming Nigerian elections. The panel was moderated by Dr Chris Nshimbi, and included members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), academics from the University of Pretoria and the University of South Africa, and students who commented on the state of Nigeria leading up to the elections and their expectations.

Below is a summary video, from Channels Television, sharing highlights of the event.

Open Access: A doorway to opened knowledge.

The Department of Library Services, University of Pretoria, on Wednesday 24 October 2018, joined its counterparts across the world to celebrate the Open Access Week 2018. Participants from different academic departments and professional backgrounds attended the discussion focusing on “Open access: Are researchers the only losers? “The event was held at the Merensky 2 Library Auditorium at the University of Pretoria and it started with a screened Documentary Movie, titled, “Paywall: the business of scholarship”.

The Movie, produced and directed by Jason Schmidt, a professor at Clarkson University, focuses on the need for open access to research, raises questions regarding the rationale behind the US$25.2 billion a year that flows into for-profit publishers. It also examines the 35-40{4b05898ae60f9b5e2d93b69cb2027f6f0d06dfa7d8f8611bbe8472c2532adfa6} profit margin associated with top academic publisher Elsevier and compares this with the profit margins of some of the most profitable tech companies like Apple, Facebook and Google.

The panellists for the occasion were: Mr. Glenn Truran: Director of the South African National Library and Information Consortium (SANLiC), Prof. Andries van Aarde: Senior Research Fellow in the Dean’s office (Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria), Ms. Susan Veldsman: Director: Scholarly Publication Unit (Academy of Sciences in South Africa), Prof. Nithaya Chetty: Professor in the Department of Physics (University of Pretoria) and Mr. Dickson Ajisafe: Doctoral candidate at the Department of Political Sciences (University of Pretoria). The panel discussion was moderated with a warm welcome by Mr Robert Moropa, University of Pretoria’s Library Director and the documentary session was coordinated by Mrs Marguerite Nel, UP Information Specialist.

Reacting during the forum, Mr Glenn Truran raised a concern that South Africa pays more for access to research papers than some European countries do. Prof. Andries van Aarde criticised the handling of APC (Author Processing Charges) at the University of Pretoria and warned that this should not turn to another form of Paywall. He further queried that why should impact factor of publishing in a particular Journal, become a condition of accessing APC at UP for researchers? Expressing her view on Open Access, Susan Veldsman discussed the significance, accessibility and visibility of publishing research papers on the SCIELO SA platform. SCIELO SA is an open-access (free to access and free to publish) searchable database of selected, high quality South African scholarly journals. Representing the student voice during the occasion, Mr Dickson Ajisafe remarked that Open Access unquestionably remains a channel for postgraduate researchers to make their voices known to a wider community. He further motivated the UP Department of Library Services to make Open Access information to be more accessible to the postgraduate community at the University of Pretoria. The event was wrapped up with words of appreciation by Mr Robert Moropa, the UP Library Director.


Mr Dickson Ajisafe (with microphone) speaking at the Open Access Week 2018.


Koen Dekeyser at the International Data Week Conference in Gaborone.

GovInn’s researcher Koen Dekeyser presented ‘Household survey on food systems change in Kenya and Mozambique’ at the International Data Week conference in Gaborone, 05-08 November 2018 ( This presentation was part of the panel on open Land Data Platforms: applications, progress and challenges. The conference was aimed at data management systems from all disciplines and its relevance to Africa’s development. In recent decades, the information revolution expanded the understanding of our world and beyond. This dynamic is accelerating with advancements in data collection, storage, and data analytics such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. To make this more inclusive, open data was in-depth discussed.


Koen Dekeyser presenting at the conference.

YEBO! Project

The University of Pretoria and CIRAD, thanks to their long-term collaboration with CEEPA and GovInn, are partners of the Yebo! project on the internationalization of doctoral studies in South Africa.

The ‘Yebo’ Erasmus+ project ( was launched in October 2017 and will end in November 2020. Seven South African and five European Universities compose the consortium. Montpellier University is the project leader.

The project aims to achieve:

  • the improvement of the skills of south-African universities concerning the internationalization of PhD Studies;
  • to facilitate access to information concerning funding, mobility, and administrative procedures of PhD programs;
  • the increase of PhD students and staff trained in the internationalization of the PhD studies;
  • to promote the internationalization of PhD studies in South Africa and Europe.

Because of its strong experience and enduring partnership with South African Universities and higher education institutions, Cirad is part of the Yebo Experts Committee.


Stefano Farolfi ( Montpellier

Damien Jourdain (, Univeristy of Pretoria

‘Development brokers and gatekeepers: two critical figures of public policies tackling rural poverty in South Africa’, by Magalie Bourblanc in Cahiers Agricultures.

GovInn Senior Researcher Magalie Bourblanc published the article ‘Development brokers and gatekeepers: two critical figures of public policies tackling rural poverty in South Africa‘ in Cahiers Agricultures.


This paper studies the implementation of national public policies tackling rural poverty in South Africa and draws a parallel with international development aid public policies, stressing in particular one of their common predicaments, i.e. their relative ineffectiveness. Building on the key notion of “brokerage” in anthropology, and coupling it with the notion of “gatekeeping” derived from the political science literature, this paper demonstrates how much brokers strive to become hegemonic intermediaries within a very competitive brokerage environment. This paper questions the relations between new and pre-existing figures of brokerage, i.e. between an irrigation committee’s governing board and village’s traditional elites.

Read the whole article here :

Seminar: “One Basin, One Governance?”, 6 November 2018, 15:00-17:00.

Seminar IFAS-GovInn 6 November Invitation
Seminar IFAS-GovInn 6 November

‘Expert assessment as a framing exercise: The controversy over green macroalgal blooms’ proliferation in France’, by Magalie Bourblanc in Science and Public Policy.

GovInn’s Senior Researcher Magalie Bourblanc published the article ‘Expert assessment as a framing exercise: The controversy over green macroalgal blooms’ proliferation in France‘ in Science and Public Policy.

This article contributes to unraveling the ‘paradox of scientific authority’, that is, the fact that despite the loss of authority of scientific expertise, policymakers still resort to expert advice. Re-examining the role ascribed to expert assessment in the policy-making process in controversial contexts in particular, the article succeeds in demonstrating that one of the crucial roles of expert evaluation is to establish a more compelling definition of the problem to be dealt with by policymakers. Taking the scientific controversy surrounding the proliferation of green algal bloom on Brittany beaches (France) as a case in point, I show that expert assessment conceived as a framing exercise is, however, a two-way process: it is as much about framing for the sake of settling an expert dispute with sound scientific categories than about solving public problems in a sufficiently consensual way, taking into account the distribution of power more generally in society.


Read the whole article here: