Posts

“But where are the workers? How the youth entrepreneur model fails in Africa”, by Pierre Girard, December 2017

GovInn and CIRAD research fellow and PhD student Pierre Girard wrote an article for the University of the Witwatersrand’s Global Labour Column at the end of 2017. His article, entitled “But where are the workers? How the youth entrepreneur model fails in Africa” looks at the institutional structures in place to support youth employment in Africa, and where the continent is failing to ensure that entrepreneurs on the continent are properly supported.

The figures are now well known: 375 million young people will reach working age in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2030, and for many their livelihoods will depend mainly on the rural economy (Losch, 2016). Facing the massive generation of activity required by these demographic dynamics, entrepreneurship has become the leitmotiv of many donors’ and NGOs’ programmes and projects, as well as public policies. According to them, the multiplication of entrepreneurs can meet the employment challenge in the African countryside.

 

The article can be read in its entirety here. Or see below for the PDF version.

 

But where are the workers? by Pierre Girard

Cape Town Book Launch: “The World after GDP”

 

You are invited to join us on 11 May 2017 at 18:00 for the Cape Town launch of GovInn director Prof. Lorenzo Fioramonti‘s latest book, “The world after GDP”. The launch will take place at 129 Rochester Road, Observatory.

‘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.

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.

 

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.

“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.

 

“What next for environmentalism?”

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Institute for Futures Research will be hosting a debate entitled “what next for environmentalism?” which considers the relevance of the environmentalism narrative to a broader audience and the role of the environmental movement in the achievement of an equitable future. Issues such as the role of ecomodernism in creating a new narrative for environmental sustainability and the question of a more integrated view of the environment in economic development will form part of the discussions.

Participating in the debate is GovInn friend and We-Africa partner, Saliem Fakir, head of the Policy and Futures Unit at the WWF South Africa.

Gauteng-Invite

 

Date: Thursday 2 June, 2016

Time: 15:30 for 16:00-18:00

Venue: CSIR International Convention Centre, 1 Meiring Naude Road, Pretoria,

RSVP: Nazirah Davids, ndavids@wwf.org.za

Call for participants to join the WE-Africa action research network

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WE-Africa is an alliance of likeminded scholars and practitioners who share a common concern about the current socio-economic conditions in which we live and are willing to work together to promote a transition to a wellbeing-based economy for Africa. It is an action-research network, which aims to consolidate evidence for change while focusing on building a new economy and promoting alternative development policies. The nexus between research and action is a crucial component of WE-Africa’s work. The network also endorses the principle of transdisciplinarity, which underlines the importance of combining knowledge from different scientific streams (natural and social sciences, as well as the humanities) as well as from different sources of experience in society at large (outside academia) with a view to tackling the complex problems affecting our civilization.

WE-Africa is looking for up to 25 thought leaders and change agents from Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa in multiple disciplines from academia, business, media, government or the public sector to support in the realisation of their change initiatives. For more information see the info sheet below or visit the WE-Africa webpage here.

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Further information for prospective collaborators can be found below in the call for applications.

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The eventswas co-hosted by SIWI, GovInn and the WRC

Watch GovInn associate fellow Quraysha Ismail Sooliman’s interview with Dr Rajendra Singh

Rajenda Singh and Lorenzo Fioramonti

Rajenda Singh and Lorenzo Fioramonti

Famed water conservationist and activist Dr Rajendra Singh, known as the “water man of India”, sat down with GovInn associate fellow Quraysha Ismail Sooliman proir to his presentation at the GovInn rethinking development seminar, “The power of Community: Water security in times of scarcity”. They discuss the conservation methods employed in his native Rajasthan, sustainable solutions to water management and the policies that should accompany such initiatives. To watch follow the link here