Posts

Economic growth is a constant mantra of economists, politicians and media commentators, by Lorenzo Fioramonti at eNCA, 15.09.2017

GovInn’s Director Lorenzo Fioramonti gave an interview for eNCA concerning the economic growth focus of economists, politicians and media commentators.

“Alternative currencies are the future: why it matters for development”, by Lorenzo Fioramonti 2.07.2017

The Conversation has published another article by GovInn Director Lorenzo Fioramonti, who writes about the contribution that alternative currencies can make to global development.

In the near future, we will have a variety of money with different qualities and different purposes. This will make economies more resilient against shocks and will support more equitable and sustainable development, by putting users in the driver seat and reinforcing local economic development.

You can read the entire article here.

University of Amsterdam

Call for Applications: Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Political Economy at the University of Amsterdam

Professor Daniel Mügge

Professor Daniel Mügge, head of the research project ‘The Political Economy of Macroeconomic Measurement’

The Department of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam invites applications for a 18 month postdoctoral research fellowship. The position is part of the research project ‘The Political Economy of Macroeconomic Measurement’, led by prof. Daniel Mügge and funded by the European Research Council (ERC). The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG) of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) is the largest educational and research institution in the social sciences in the Netherlands, and one of the highest-ranked such institutions in Europe.

Systematic knowledge on the politics of macroeconomic measurement is thin for OECD members already. But it is almost non-existent for other countries. To address this gap, this postdoc project focuses on one non-OECD economy: South Africa. It has become an important player on the global economic stage over the past two decades, and it has been drawn into the web of global economic governance. That has entailed an increasing embrace of macroeconomic measurement practices such as the System of National Accounts, which had been devised by and for rich, developed countries. At the same time, South Africa comes to global statistical practices from a very specific vantage point, given both its legacy of apartheid and a highly idiosyncratic economic structure.

 

Closing date for application is 26 April 2017.

More information about this call can be found here.

Public Lecture: “Donald Trump: Aggravator or Catalyzer of the EU crises?”

The Center for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) and Department of Political Sciences invite you to our public lecture, “Donald Trump: Aggravator or Catalyzer of the EU crises?” with guest speaker Professor Wolfgang Seibel from the University of Konstanz (Germany). Professor Seibel is a Professor of Political and Administrative Sciences at the University of Konstanz, Germany, and an Adjunct Professor of Public Administration at the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin. He held guest professorships at the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University and the Central European University, Budapest. He was twice a temporary member of the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton, and a Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. In 2009, he was elected member of the Heidelberg Academy of Science. His latest publications include “Arduous Learning or New Uncertainties? The Emergence of German Diplomacy in the Ukrainian Crisis” (Global Policy, 2015), “Persecution and Rescue. The Politics of the ‘Final Solution’ in France, 1940–‐1944” (University of Michigan Press, 2016).

Date: 15 February 2017
Time: 16:00‒18:00
Venue: GovInn Headquarters, Old College House (Building 24 on campus map), University of Pretoria Main Campus (Hatfield), please use entrance on University Road.
RSVP: 14 February by following this link: https://goo.gl/forms/rhfD2049F70G0dKM2
Enquiries: info@governanceinnovation.org

Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) Old College House
University of Pretoria, Private Bag X20
Hatfield – 0028 Pretoria

South Africa

www.governanceinnovation.org

Call for papers ‘The African Union and African Economic Community: Territorial and economic arrangements for peace in Africa’

Geographies for Peace

2017 IGU-UGI Thematic Conference

23-25 April 2017

La Paz, Bolivia

The African Union and African Economic Community: Territorial and economic arrangements for peace in Africa

Concerned with the plight of especially women and children as major victims of wars, civil conflicts, human rights violations, humanitarian disasters, gender-based violence and violent conflicts, and genocide, the African Union (AU) has committed to speeding-up actions that will “silence the guns by 2020” in its Agenda 2063, in order to make peace a reality for all people in Africa. This resonates with sustainable development goals (SDGs) 5 and 16 to achieve gender equality and promote peace, justice and strong institutions for development. These attempts conform with the AU’s plans to establish a continental free trade area (CFTA) in 2017. The CFTA should lead to the establishment of the African Economic Community (AEC) in 2028, according to the Abuja Treaty for the Establishment of the AEC. Besides low intra-regional trade, persistent war and conflict are commonly cited as a major reason and evidence of the failure of regional integration, in Africa at least. In this regard, a connection exists between conflict on the one hand and regional integration and peace on the other, based on the understanding that peace is essential to unimpeded trade, development and inter-state cooperation. Against this background and in this CFP, we invite papers that interrogate these themes as well as topics including, but not limited to:

How does obsessive regard for territorial sovereignty impact on the readiness and the extent to which the supranational AU, the AU Commission (AUC) and respective member states can and intervene in domestic conflicts occurring in African states?

Does the absence of war guarantee a peace that ensures distribution, location and spatial organization of economic activities leading to successful regional integration?

Practically, how can ambitions to establish a single geo- political and economic space from Africa’s tapestry of states, economies, cultures and customs by the AU be translated into a mosaic of grassroots, meso- and macro- level actors committed to peaceful coexistence?

Contact:

Dr. Christopher Changwe Nshimbi (University of Pretoria, South Africa)

csnzed@gmail.com

Dr. Inocent Moyo (University of Zululand, South Africa)

minnoxa@yahoo.com

An abstract of no more than 250 words in English or Spanish should be sent to csnzed@gmail.com and minnoxa@yahoo.com and geographiesforpeace@gmail.com on or before 1 December 2016.

For more information on the conference visit the website here.

Scared of a downgrade? Why it is time to question the politics of numbers

The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) will host GovInn director Lorenzo Fioramonti on the 3rd of November 2016 as part of their HSRC seminar series in collaboration with the University of Pretoria. In this seminar, he provides a critique of the current ‘data fever’, especially in the context of credit ratings and international benchmarks, showing both the direct consequences and indirect implications of the increasing power of numbers. At the same time, it investigates innovative attempts to resist the invasion of mainstream statistics by providing alternative measurements or rejecting quantification altogether. An innovative and timely exposé of the politics, power and contestation of numbers in everyday life.

Kindly RSVP by 1 November 2016

Pretoria : HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811, e-mail: acgrossberg@hsrc.ac.za

 

High level expert group on the measurement of economic performance and social progress, Durban 2015

 

The Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi (SSF) Commission Report raised a number of questions about GDP, including its neglect of (i) non-market and social transactions, (ii) stocks and flows of physical, natural and human capital, and (iii) broad distributional issues. The OECD- hosted High Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic and Social Progress (HLEG) has been working on developing further the recommendations of SSF. In particular the suitability of GDP, and alternatives to it, for developing countries has been a focus of the discussion. At the same time, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) process has been put in train by the UN system and has proposed a number of goals and targets as successors to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) from 2015 onwards. All of this links to and feeds in to ongoing processes in developing countries to develop robust indicators of human, social and economic development.

With this background, the Government of South Africa, the OECD-hosted High Level Expert Group, Initiative for Policy Dialogue (Columbia University), Center on Global Economic Governance (Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs) the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management (Cornell University) and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future (Cornell University) are organizing a conference to bring together the best thinking and practice in going beyond GDP in the measurement of wellbeing and development in Africa. The conference was supported financially by these institutions, and by the OECD, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the International Labour Organization, the Roosevelt Institute and the Ford Foundation.

The conference organisers included the South African Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel, Nobel Laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz, OECD Chief Statistician Martine Durand and Cornell Professor of World Affairs Ravi Kanbur.

The focus of the conference was on conceptual frameworks and on statistical systems for measuring human, social and economic development, and on tracking the evolution of multidimensional inequality and wellbeing. The agenda was structured around eight 90 minute sessions. The participants were leading analysts and practitioners to facilitate a discussion between methods and frameworks on the one hand and the practicalities of implementation and monitoring on the other and included GovInn director Professor Lorenzo Fioramonti. For the full programme follow the link here.

‘Leave no trader behind: Ensuring that female informal cross-border traders do not lose out in formalisation processes’. 18.08.2016

ICBTs_beitbridgeprotest_SAPS-750x300

In his latest op-ed GovInn Deputy Director Dr Christopher Nshimbi takes a look at the inclusion of female informal traders in the process of formalising cross border trading in light of the recent unrest along the South Africa-Zimbabwe border in Include.

‘The violent protests by informal cross-border traders (ICBTs) at the Beitbridge border between South Africa and Zimbabwe in early July 2016 came as no surprise to many familiar with the informal economy and its operations in Africa. Informal trade provides employment and generates revenues that contribute to the livelihoods and welfare of the traders, as well as to local economies. And, now, the Zimbabwean government wants to cash in on the proceeds. While there is nothing wrong with this, once again, the government’s only means of achieving its goal is through a draconian, non-transparent, unaccountable and exclusive decision-making process.’

Read the full article here.

“The Second International Seminar 2016: Sustainable Product-Service Systems and Distributed Economies,” 11-12 August

GovInn director Professor Lorenzo Fioramonti will be a keynote speaker at the 2016 LeNS project (Learning Network on Sustainability) seminar entitled “Sustainable Product-Service Systems and Distributed Economies.” The seminar is a two day event taking place on 11 and 12 August 2016 at the Sustainability Institute in Stellenbosch, Cape Town.

An invitation to the event can be viewed below, with more information being found on the LeNSin Project website.

 

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

 

Abstract

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.