‘Visible and invisible bordering practices: The EU-African migration conundrum and spatial mobility of borders’


In his latest article with Inocent Moyo (Department of Geography, University of South Africa), GovInn deputy-director Chris Nshimbi interrogates the European Union’s (EU) and Africa’s relationship on international migration issues. The paper employs the concepts of displacement and humanitarianism in an effort to frame the EU-Africa relations on migration in the context of borders, boundaries and frontiers. The findings suggest that issues of militarisation, securitisation, restrictive and, sometimes, draconian immigration regimes do not provide sustainable solutions to the migration crisis facing Europe. Theoretically, the paper attempts to understand better, the way the EU and Africa engage each other on international migration issues, in the context of border studies. Empirically, the paper positions itself in policy engagements and the quest for practical solutions by the two continents in view of the migration crisis currently facing Europe. Read the full article here.

Brazil as a security and development provider in Africa, New policy paper by Frank Mattheis

Policy Paper - MattheisHow is the role of external actors in Africa changing and what consequences does this have for the European Union (EU) and its strategic position on the continent?

The research project ‘The EU, the US and the international strategic dimension of Sub-Saharan Africa: peace, security and development in the Horn of Africa’ seeks to address these questions in a series of policy papers. The first set of papers has just been published, covering the role of new and old actors such as Brazil, China, the Gulf States, Turkey and the US. In depth case studies on the Horn of Africa and an overarching policy report are to follow soon.

Senior research fellow Frank Mattheis contributed a policy paper on the role of Brazil as a security and development provider in Africa. It focuses on both the identity and the materiality of Brazil’s growing role on the continent, identifies the country’s current main challenges, and outlines opportunities for triangular cooperation with the EU.

The project is lead by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI), with the support of Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The quiet rise of medium-scale farmers in Malawi

The Quiet Rise of Medium-Scale Farms in Malawi

Ward Anseeuw and John Kotsopoulos, along with Thomas Jayne and Richard Kachule published a paper on Land Vol 5, No19



Medium-scale farms have become a major force in Malawi’s agricultural sector. Malawi’s most recent official agricultural survey indicates that these account for over a quarter of all land under cultivation in Malawi. This study explores the causes and multifaceted consequences of the rising importance of medium-scale farms in Malawi. We identify the characteristics and pathways of entry into farming based on surveys of 300 medium-scale farmers undertaken in 2014 in the districts of Mchinji, Kasungu and Lilongwe. The area of land acquired by medium-scale farmers in these three districts is found to have almost doubled between 2000 and 2015. Just over half of the medium-scale farmers represent cases of successful expansion out of small-scale farming status; the other significant proportion of medium-scale farmers are found to be urban-based professionals, entrepreneurs and/or civil servants who acquired land, some very recently, and started farming in mid-life. We also find that a significant portion of the land acquired by medium-scale farmers was utilized by others prior to acquisition, that most of the acquired land was under customary tenure, and that the current owners were often successful in transferring the ownership structure of the acquired land to a long-term leaseholding with a title deed. The study finds that, instead of just strong endogenous growth of small-scale famers as a route for the emergence of medium-scale farms, significant farm consolidation is occurring through land acquisitions, often by urban-based people. The effects of farmland acquisitions by domestic investors on the country’s primary development goals, such as food security, poverty reduction and employment, are not yet clear, though some trends appear to be emerging. We consider future research questions that may more fully shed light on the implications of policies that would continue to promote land acquisitions by medium-scale farms.

The article, which belongs to the “Special Issue Changing Land Use, Changing Livelihoods” can be downloaded here

Note: This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Networks of Cross-border Non-State Actors: The Role of Social Capital in Regional Integration

Chris Changwe Nshimbi, co-director of the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation, published a new article named ‘Networks of Cross-border Non-State Actors: The Role of Social Capital in Regional Integration’ in the Journal of Borderlands Studies.

borderlands coverThis paper examines the contribution of networks of cross-border grassroots non-State actors to regional integration. It uses three assumptions to determine whether sub-regional schemes augment regional integration: (a) networks of grassroots non-State actors connect communities that share common backgrounds, histories and cultures; (b) interactions in the networks generate a trust that stabilizes them and contributes to network efficiency; and (c) where these networks straddle State boundaries, they integrate the economies that host the communities of actors in the networks and thus enhance integration. The paper achieves its objective by illustrating these assumptions in the context of sub-regional integration in Southeast Asia and Southern Africa. A thorough review of the literature on regional and sub-regional integration, borderland studies, etc. is conducted along with the use of social capital and historical, socioeconomic and political accounts to illustrate the role of informal networks in integration. Because networks, norms and trust dominate conceptual discussion of social capital (Schuller, T., S. Baron, and J. Field. 2000. Social capital: A review and critique. In Social capital: Critical perspectives, eds. S. Baron, J. Field, and T. Schuller, 1–38. Oxford: Oxford University Press.), the paper conceptualizes the terms in the context of social capital. Participant observations, face-to-face interviews and focus group discussions conducted during extensive fieldwork between September 2013 and November 2014 at selected border posts, in the major border towns of the adjacent provinces of the ZMM-GT, in markets and villages in the contiguous border areas of the growth triangle also provide the primary data employed in the analysis. Sub-regional initiatives contribute to development, as does macro-regionalism. Unlike Southeast Asians, people in southern Africa are primarily driven by the need for survival and operate less on ethnic lines. However, a clear demonstration of social capital and cohesion is evident here. Leaders in Africa should encourage cross-border ethnic and kinship ties rather than abuse ethnicity for political gain.

The article can be found here.

Ecological Society of America

The UN Sustainable Development Goals and the dynamics of well-being

The Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation  director Lorenzo Fioramonti published a guest editorial in the Ecological Society of America, titled ‘The UN Sustainable Development Goals and the dynamics of well-being’, with Robert Costanza and Ida Kubiszewski.


Camilla Adelle has written an article for Public Money and Management (Volume 36, Issue 2, 2016, 89-96)

Title: “Regulatory impact assessment: a survey of selected developing and emerging economies”


Abstract: This paper reports on a survey of regulatory impact assessment (RIA) in 16 developing and emerging economies. RIA was playing an increasing role in these countries: eight had introduced RIA in the past 10 years; one had recently redesigned its existing RIA system; another had a long-standing RIA system in place. However, RIA was at an early stage of development in the majority of cPublic Money and Managementases and six countries did not practise RIA.



Read the full paper on Public Money and Management

The South African ‘Ecological Reserve’, A Travelling Concept

PolitikonMagalie Bourblanc has written an article for Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies (Volume 42, Issue 2, 2015)

Title: The South African ‘Ecological Reserve’, A Travelling Concept

Abstract: With its ‘ecological reserve’, South African National Water Act of 1998 is perceived as one of the most ambitious Water Acts in the world from an environmental perspective. At first sight, this ‘ecological reserve’ provision could be mistaken for a typical case of North–South policy transfer when actually it was initially engineered by the Department of Water Affairs and its civil engineers in the 1970s–1980s. The paper shows the renewed influence of the scientific community over the definition of the concept during the debate leading to the adoption of the Water Reform Act in the mid-1990s. While investing in the international arena, South African hydro-ecologists managed to reinforce their position in the domestic arena at the same time. Therefore, we demonstrate complex interdependence between domestic and international levels benefiting this travelling concept. Finally, we emphasize that for hydroecologists, the international arena was never a resource already there but an opportunity created.

Read the full article in Politikon

“New development: Regulatory impact assessment in developing countries—tales from the road to good governance”

Public Money and ManagementCamilla Adelle has written an article with Donald Macrae, Andreja Marusic & Faisal Naru for Public Money and Management (Volume 35, Issue 3, 2015)

Title: “New development: Regulatory impact assessment in developing countries—tales from the road to good governance”

Abstract: This article sets out the challenges facing the practice of regulatory impact assessment (RIA) in developing countries and then goes on to propose a set of guiding principles with which to attempt to overcome these. The discussion is based on the findings of a practitioner workshop held at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Read the full paper on Public Money and Management

“Regionalising African civil societies: Lessons, opportunities and constraints” Workshop in Uppsala, Sweden

The workshop, held in Uppsala in October 2014, gathered participants from African NGOs and researchers working on regionalisation and civil society issues. This provided a unique opportunity to engage in conversations about research and practice. During the two days, we moved from an initial emphasis on the role of civil society
in regional integration and the regionalisation of civil society itself, to questioning the idea of the region
as a territory, as a space for political action, for economic activities and for identity and belonging.
GovInn Andreas Godsäter was one of the keynote speakers at the event.


Download the full report here

The Role of Policy Networks in the Coordination of the European Union’s Economic and Environmental Interests: The Case of EU Mercury Policy

Journal of European IntegrationCamilla Adelle has written an article with Andrew Jordan of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Research and David Benson of the Environment and Sustainability Institute, on the EU Mercury Policy and the coordination of the European environmental interests

Title:  The Role of Policy Networks in the Coordination of the European Environmental Interests: The Case of Union’s Economic and EU Mercury Policy

Abstract:  Policy networks can help to coordinate different objectives. The vast literature on network governance often implies that the mere existence of networks will automatically lead to improved coordination. However, much empirical analysis so far has focused on networks within particular policy sectors, which may actually inhibit horizontal coordination across policy sectors. This focus has led to ambiguities regarding the use of networks in practice — which this article seeks to help address. By analysing the role of networks in the coordination of the EU’s economic and environmental objectives in the development of its mercury policy, the article demonstrates that policy networks need to span several policy sectors if they are to help reconcile competing policy objectives. Furthermore, certain characteristics of the policy area which contributed to the formation of an inter-sector network in this case are discussed.

Read the full paper in the Journal of European Integration