‘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

Land Matrix publishes its country profile on Zambia

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The Land Matrix, a global and independent land monitoring initiative that promotes transparency and accountability in decisions over land and investment, published its first country profile on Zambia.

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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