Posts

“What to expect from Malawi’s sixth poll since one-party rule ended” by Dr Chris Nshimbi, The Conversation

GovInn director Dr Chris Nshimbi outlined the expectations and the processes surrounding the upcoming Malawian election in a question and answer style piece for The Conversation, titled “What to expect from Malawi’s sixth poll since one-party rule ended”.

Answering a question on the elections contribution to consolidating Malawian democracy, Dr Nshimbi answered:

It’s an achievement in itself that Malawi is holding its sixth multi-party national elections since its transition from its era of dictatorship under former President Kamuzu Banda. Banda ruled the country with an iron fist for the first three decades after independence.

But beyond free and fair elections, democratic consolidation entails fulfilling electoral promises, especially those that relate to citizens’ rights to basic services like water and education. The country also needs to provide decent work for its citizens.

The eight candidates contesting for the presidency and the 13 political parties that are vying for Parliament clearly show that Malawi’s election is open. But, more could be done to promote the participation of women.

You can read the full article online at the The Conversation.

‘The Human Side of Regions: Informal Cross-border Traders in the Zambia–Malawi–Mozambique Growth Triangle and Prospects for Integrating Southern Africa’, by Chris Nshimbi, 23.10.2017

GovInn’s Co-Director Chris Nshimbi published the article ‘The Human Side of Regions: Informal Cross-border Traders in the Zambia–Malawi–Mozambique Growth Triangle and Prospects for Integrating Southern Africa‘ in the Journal of Borderlands Studies.

This paper examines the activities of informal cross-border traders (ICBTs) in the contiguous borderlands of Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique, in order to determine the replicability and feasibility of the growth triangle phenomenon, which was imported as a concept for economic development from Southeast Asia. It also seeks to establish whether ICBTs can satisfy their economic needs from cross-border trade. Apart from the thorough review of relevant literature, participant observations, face-to-face interviews and focus group discussions were deployed to collect the data for the analysis contained in the paper. Primary data from the fieldwork conducted at various locations in the borderlands is qualitatively and statistically analyzed. ICBTs in these areas include affiliates of traders’ associations and non-affiliates. The contiguous borderlands of the three countries comprise a young population of ICBTs with low incomes who have spent relatively few years in cross-border trade. ICBTs who have been longer in the informal trade business have graduated into formal traders. ICBT activities highlight their contribution to regional integration, from the bottom up. Informal cross-border trade provides employment and livelihoods, placing ICBTs outside extremely poor populations living below USD$1.25 per day. ICBTs also have innovative informal ways of accessing credit based on personal interactions and shared experiences with suppliers of goods. Legally establishing the growth triangle creates an environment that ICBTs exploit in order to satisfy their economic needs, especially with government facilitation.

Read the full article here http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/hshZedXfiiF9ytTf5dzm/full

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.

Raj Patel at GovInn Week 2015

GALLERY: “Poverty with added vitamins” with Raj Patel

‘Poverty With Added Vitamins? Competing Ways to Govern the World Food System’ Raj Patel, New York Times bestselling author of “Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System” and “The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy”

 

Names and democracy in Southern Africa: the tale of two presidents

GovInn Researcher Chris Nshimbi compares the democratization processes of Zambia and Malawi on his latest post for the Nordic Africa Institut of Uppsala, Sweden.

“A few days after celebrating 50 years of independence in October, Zambia relived a sad history: the death of a second incumbent president to die in office in the space of six years.

Zambia is once again appearing as a beacon of peace in a violent and conflict ridden continent. However, the proof shall be in the transition with elections to be held 90 days after the president’s demise.

There are interesting comparisons to be made with neighbouring Malawi—the story less told about the successes of the evolving democratization in southern Africa.

Southern Africa needs committed politicians and senior bureaucrats that transcend personal interests to apply the principles of democracy and seek the firm establishment of state institutions.”

Read the full article on the Nordic Africa Development Policy Forum