It is against the background of failing land reform projects on one hand, and the liberalization and modernization of markets resulting in the rise of supermarkets and vertically integrated value-chains in developing countries, that several innovative “Inclusive Business Models (IBM)” have been developed and implemented as solutions not only for revitalising failing land reform projects, but also to integrate smallholder and emergent farmers into commercial value-chains. Based on diverse multi-partite institutional arrangements (between smallholder/land reform beneficiaries and private sector, often also engaging Government (CPP partnerships) and sometimes civil society), IBMs occur in various forms. This includes contract farming, outgrower schemes as well as strategic partnerships, equity share schemes, corporative shareholding structures, integrated value-chain clusters, etc. As such, several innovative ways (such as RECAP’s strategic partnerships or IDC’s cluster approach and integrated value channels) have been developed to integrate small-scale farmers into commercial agricultural value chains.

It has been acknowledged that the experience of such IBMs as broader and more integrated value-chain approaches, including financial resources and linkages to downstream activities, can play an important role to ensure continuous productivity as well as market access and knowledge transfer to smallholder and emerging farms. The IBMs approach has now been recognized as a policy and planning priority; hence the need to provide guidance to the key economic players in agriculture to exploit the potential of these institutions/instruments. Nevertheless, limited research has been done into the several partnership structures and their impact on the local community. It is thus important to determine the suitability and the criteria for success of these IBMs as an institutional vehicle for linking farmers to agribusiness supply chains, and subsequently overcome the obstacles that have constrained them to develop in more sustainable commercial farming enterprises.

The overall objective of this study is to better understand the development and implications of different types of IBM for small-scale and emergent farmers and to assess their potential for poverty alleviation, job creation and market integration. Concretely, the overall aims of the study are threefold:
1) To establish an overview of the several IDM models developed and adopted across South Africa;
2) To assess the impact each of these models has in the following areas: small-holder development, employment, food security, poverty reduction and empowerment;
3) To focus on the lessons that can be learned from the experiences in the different IDM models, leading to recommendations to the different public and private stakeholders.

Funding: Flemish International Cooperation Agency and South Africa National Treasury



The Land Matrix Initiative (LMI) is a global and independent initiative monitoring competition over land use in the Global South. Its goal is to facilitate an open development community of citizens, researchers, policy-makers and technology specialists to promote transparency and accountability in decisions over land and investment. Through collecting data on large-scale land transactions, the LMI increases transparency to foster accountability of investors and other parties involved in large-scale land transactions. Increased transparency is necessary as large-scale land acquisitions and the associated investment projects are often surrounded by secrecy. This secrecy allows powerful actors (be they private investors, host country governments or local authorities) to enrich themselves at the expense of local populations. Case study evidence suggests that local populations are frequently not consulted and do not benefit from compensations or lease fees.

The Land Matrix Initative is a pioneering effort of global data collection and open data that relies on contributions by and serves the demands of networks of informed stakeholders, the scientific community, and the interested general public. The Land Matrix initiative has become an international innovative benchmark in terms of its open data and open development approach, database structure, web appearance, and multi-stakeholder character. The Land Matrix has received wide interest among policymakers, development practitioners, NGOs, the media, researchers and the informed public. The Land Matrix is thus a multi-stakeholder initiative with a strong technological and outreach basis.

It is an initiative gathering several partners (CDE, CIRAD, GIGA, GIZ, ILC), five regional focal points (AFA, JASIL, EcoRuralis, FUNDAPAZ and University of Pretoria), a technical partner (Tacticaltech).

For the University of Pretoria, The Post-Graduate School of Agriculture and Rural Development, The Department of Agricultural Economics and the Center for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) will partake in this LM endeavour and will be engaged in the development of consistent data for Africa.


Ward Anseeuw (overall coordination) –

Wytske Chamberlain (Coordination LM Africa Focal Point) –

Angela Fraser (Research Assistant) –

Learn more about the Land Matrix Initiative

LAND MATRIX – Prixars 2014 Honorary Mention

leddaUrban communities worldwide want economies that are stronger, greener, fairer, more resilient, and more diverse. Jobs must be created, climate change addressed, infrastructure repaired, schools upgraded, and more. The LEDDA economic direct democracy framework offers a bold yet practical solution.

The framework synthesizes multiple approaches currently in use in cities and regions around the world into a coherent, consistent, integrated whole. It builds on ideas from buy local, invest local, local currency, local food, local sharing, open source, smart cities, open government, open data, participatory democracy, and related initiatives.

LEDDA means Local Economic Direct Democracy Association. A membership-based, community benefit corporation that implements a secondary economic framework as a local overlay to an existing city or regional economy. The framework offers all members roughly equal and direct opportunity to influence their local economy. It is applicable to cities and regions in both developed and emerging or other developing countries.

The LEDDA framework arises from a “systems,” or holistic, view of an economy, which is understood to be a decision-making system that is ripe for direct democracy. Money is viewed in part as a voting tool that facilitates direct democracy. A complete description of LEDDA economic direct democracy is provided in the book Economic Direct Democracy: A Framework to End Poverty and Maximize Well-Being. A free PDF version is available at the Principled Societies Project website.

Govinn and the Principled Societies Project USA will carry out this project through a global partnership of academic, civil society, government, business, and foundation groups that will usher the LEDDA framework through the development and scientific pilot trial phases.

To know more about LEDDA, please visit the links below:

Contemporary challenges, from the global economic crisis to climate change, have revealed the strengths and weaknesses of regional integration throughout the world.
The Euro-crisis, for instance, has exerted a strain on the EU’s model of top-down governance, while reinforcing the pace (and changing the form) of integration in Europe.
Similarly, climate change is forcing us to rethink the current economic model based on globalized markets and GDP growth.
In a recent report for the European Commission and endorsed by the European Parliament, futurist Jeremy Rifkin has argued that the shift to a low carbon economy and the consequential contraction of the economic system will contribute to a shrinking of globalization (at least in its pro-market orientation) while paving the way to the resurgence of ‘continental regions’. In his view, production processes will be increasingly localized and resources will be managed and shared regionally, with a view to creating hubs of sustainability within geographically continuous continents.
This will fundamentally reshape regional integration and its ultimate goals. As conventional market mechanisms are reformed and production systems are reinvented, more and more regional integration will be built from the bottom up, through what Rifkin calls ‘lateral power’, that is, the capacity to affect change through peer-to-peer collaboration. In a word, a citizens-driven development model.

Against this backdrop, SUSTAIN will bring together top scholars of regional governance, civil society and business to reflect on what ‘sustainable regional integration’ entails for regionalism and what new governance ‘innovations’ will be necessary to achieve this objective.

Funding: EU Jean Monnet Research and Information Activities

atlantic future
The Atlantic can be considered the cradle of modern globalisation, a space where links between peoples, nations and economies started first to transcend their regional contexts on a large scale. As globalisation enters a new phase characterised by the rise of developing economies, and as global challenges such as the economic crisis, food security, climate change, energy scarcity and security in the high seas become more urgent, the states and regions around the Atlantic look at their counterparts across the ocean with renewed interest.
ATLANTIC FUTURE, is a research project designed to map the transformation of the Atlantic, bringing together data-based evidence and a plurality of perspectives from across the Atlantic rim.

The conceptualisation and characterisation of an ‘Atlantic area’ within broader international relations is a starting task for the project. Identifying the drivers for, and obstacles to, cooperation, competition and conflict; mapping the new trends and projecting them into future scenarios and identifying opportunity for sustainable growth and for jointly addressing common challenges are equally important objectives of a collaborative research that will bring together first-class research institutions from the Atlantic.

GovInn researchers: Lorenzo Fioramonti (leader), Camilla Adelle, Andreas Godsaeter, John Kotsopoulos, Frank Mattheis.

Partner institutions: CIDOB (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs – Spain), Johns Hopkins University (USA), Friedrich Alexander University (Germany), University of Lisbon (Portugal), Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil), Ecologic Institute (Germany), Centro de Investigación y Docencia Economica (Mexico), German Marshall Fund (Belgium), Istituto Affari Internazionali (Italy), Fundación Para Las Relaciones Internacionales y El Dialogo Exterior (Spain).

Funding: European Union FP7 Programme.

Funding period: January 2013 to December 2015

Next events: Dissemination events in Brussels, Washington D.C. and Rio de Janeiro (October to December 2015)


Regional conflicts are a core global challenge in that they threaten international peace and affect global actors either because of economic and strategic interests or because of challenges to normative claims. The European Union (EU) has been seen as a normative power able to help transform such conflicts.

A prominent strategy in this has been the promotion of regional integration through various forms of support for regional integration projects and strategies, from the Andean Community to the African Union. REGIOCONF aims at assessing this strategy by comparing EU involvement in different cases in the Mediterranean, Africa, Central and South America and East Asia.
It will explain the persistence of this strategy and the choice of particular instruments, assess its implementation, analyse local responses and the interaction with the global community, and determine the conditions under which a regionalisation strategy, as an instrument of conflict transformation, may be successful.
In doing so, it will enhance our understanding of a crucial part of EU external policy, make a contribution to the debate about sustainable peace strategies, and put forward policy recommendations about how to assist the transformation of regional conflicts more successfully.

Partners:University of Tubingen (Germany), Istituto Affari Internazionali (Italy), University of Sao Paulo (Brazil), University of Algiers (Algeria), University of Tsukaba (Japan).

Funding: Volkswagen Foundation, Compagnia di San Paolo and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.

GovInn researchers: 

2013 – Building Regions from Below: Regional Integration and Civil Society from Europe to the Rest of the World (RICS) 

Regionalism has been traditionally analyzed through a top-down lens, generally emphasizing the role of governmental elites, political parties and – to a lesser extent – business associations and epistemic communities. By contrast, civil society has received limited attention by scholars of regionalism in spite of the critical role it can play in strengthening the legitimacy of regional governance. In the past few years, NGOs, social movements, advocacy groups, trade unions and civic associations have been able to exert a growing influence on decision-making at the regional level. This role has been amplified not only by the introduction of specific policy channels and tools (e.g. the non-state actors programme at the EU level, the African Peer Review Mechanism at the AU level, etc.) but also by the desire of citizens to make their voices heard in an arena traditionally dominated by technocrats and lobbyists. The RICS project aims to bring together well-known scholars, civic activists and practitioners to discuss how civil society has contributed and can contribute to shaping regionalism in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. Through a major international seminar led by members of the Research Unit for Euro-African Studies, the EU Studies Association of Southern Africa and the UNESCO Chair on Regional Integration (all based at the University of Pretoria), RICS will investigate the role of civil society in ‘building regions from below’ by providing a series of comparative studies. Particular emphasis will be placed on civic-driven responses to the current Euro-crisis and lessons that other regions can learn from these recent events.

Funding: EU Jean Monnet Programme. 

2012-2013 – Regional international migration and its impact on the South African labour market: data, policies and livelihoods 

While both Europe and South Africa have had long experience of the impact of migrant labour on their respective economies and societies for some time, the inclusion of migration as a specific area of interest in the European Union (EU) – South Africa (SA) Dialogue Facility is only a fairly recent development. The past twenty years have seen a move from a highly regulated system of regional labour migration to largely unregulated flows, in the context of a restructuring of the South African economy resulting in millions of job losses and of chronic political instability in the rest of the region. Relying on a partnership between European, international, and South Africa-based state and nonstate organisations, the project will allow for the collection of original data, the design of new research instruments, and a range of policy-oriented and scholarly outputs.

Partners: African Centre for Migration and Society, University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa), United Nations University Institute for Comparative Regional Integration Studies (Belgium). 

Funding: EU-SA Dialogue Facility.

Multilateralism is defined in many ways, but common to all are the importance of rules, institutionalised cooperation and inclusiveness. Demand for multilateralism increases as new international challenges arise. Globalisation connects the world in ways both positive and negative. Trade, capital, ideas, people, technology, information, diseases and crime all flow more freely. Patterns of interaction between world regions are changing. New powers are rising. Alternative development paths and models of capitalism are being debated. International terrorist networks constitute a new and profound security challenge. New sources of conflict, over global warming, migration and resource scarcity, are emerging. MERCURY is a consortium of academic partners formed to examine critically the European Union’s contribution to multilateralism. It explores multilateralism as a concept, an aspiration, and a form of international order. 

Partners: University of Edinburgh (UK), Istituto Affari Internazionali (Italy), Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sweden), Charles University (Czech Republic), Fudan University (China), Sciences-Po (France), University of Cambridge (UK). 

Funding: European Union FP7 Programme.