Fostering Innovation through Diversity: Japan’s demographic dynamics, 19 September 2020

On 19 September 2020, GovInn Director Dr Chris Nshimbi participated in a webinar titled “Fostering Innovation through Diversity: Japan’s demographic dynamics”, hosted by the Centre for Japanese Studies (CJS) at the University of Pretoria and Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University. The webinar was opened by Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria,  Professor Tawana Kupe. The keynote address was delivered by Mr Haruaki Deguchi, the President of Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, and Dr Nshimbi was the respondent.

The webinar aimed to address global and more regional the impact that Covid-19 has had on migration, and how this has impacted urbanization and regional revitalization initiatives. More information on the event can be found here.

The full video can be viewed here:

Litlhare Rabela

‘Development brokers and gatekeepers: two critical figures of public policies tackling rural poverty in South Africa’, by Magalie Bourblanc in Cahiers Agricultures.

GovInn Senior Researcher Magalie Bourblanc published the article ‘Development brokers and gatekeepers: two critical figures of public policies tackling rural poverty in South Africa‘ in Cahiers Agricultures.


This paper studies the implementation of national public policies tackling rural poverty in South Africa and draws a parallel with international development aid public policies, stressing in particular one of their common predicaments, i.e. their relative ineffectiveness. Building on the key notion of “brokerage” in anthropology, and coupling it with the notion of “gatekeeping” derived from the political science literature, this paper demonstrates how much brokers strive to become hegemonic intermediaries within a very competitive brokerage environment. This paper questions the relations between new and pre-existing figures of brokerage, i.e. between an irrigation committee’s governing board and village’s traditional elites.

Read the whole article here :

‘What is “the Local”? Exploring grassroots justice systems as a means of understanding the local’, by Cori Wielenga in Kujenga Amani.

GovInn’s Senior Researcher  Cori Wielenga published the article ‘What is “the Local”? Exploring grassroots justice systems as a means of understanding the local’ in Kujenga Amani.

Although a lot of lip-service is given to the concept of local ownership and agency in interventions related to peacebuilding and transitional justice, what is not always well understood is that the local is embedded in its own systems of norms and values that may differ significantly from those that provide the basis for international interventions and national reforms.


Read the full article here:

Call for papers ‘African Mobilities – reshaping narratives and practices of circulation and exchange.’

Nordic Africa Days 2018

19 – 21 September in Uppsala, Sweden

Theme: African Mobilities – reshaping narratives and practices of circulation and exchange. (Panel 12)

This panel seeks to enhance the understanding, application and progress of regional integration as a strategy for socio-economic transformation and development in Africa; with a particular focus on borders and human mobility. Undeterred by the temporary backlash against mega-regional trade agreements in Europe, Asia-Pacific and America, Africa is proceeding with plans to establish a continental free trade area (CFTA) and an African Economic Community (AEC) by 2028. It has firmed up this commitment through rounds of CFTA negotiations since 2015. A well-designed and implemented African FTA promises great gains. To set African countries on a path of transformation from exporters of commodities to producers of manufactured goods. However, two issues seem to hamper progress towards a fully-fledged and functional AEC. First, nation-state borders founded on the principles of delimitation drawn at the 1884-85 Berlin Conference and the Westphalian state model. Despite efforts to integrate, the respective members of the African Union (AU) are simultaneously determined to strengthen the same colonial boundaries that separate them, as they consolidate their rule and assert the sovereignty of their states. Second, in enforcing the borders, African countries maintain more restrictive migration regimes against one another but more open to the outside world. This seriously challenges and frustrates integration and intracontinental mobilities; ignoring the fact that migration and cross-border movements have historically characterized African populations, especially in contiguous border areas of African nation-states.

Can Africa learn from other world regions which have negotiated FTAs to ensure inclusive processes of integration? What is the purpose of (post)colonial borders, when Africa seeks integration? Does the removal of obstacles to free movement of persons (besides capital, goods and services) provide a viable approach to the transformation of socioeconomic structures and establishment of a sustainable economic base in Africa? What promise do circulations and exchanges of knowledge and ideas hold for Africa? Can the understanding, application and progress of integration as an approach to Africa’s development live up to expectation?


Submit Abstracts no later than 20 May 2018. The conference language is English. 

Contact :

Dr Chris Nshimbi (University of Pretoria)


For more information on the conference visit the website here.




CALL FOR APPLICATION: Land Matrix Initiative Research Assistant.

The Land Matrix Initiative (LMI) ( see also 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. The LMI has become an international innovative benchmark for its open data and development approach, database structure, web appearance, and multi‐stakeholder character, and has received wide interest among policymakers, development practitioners, NGOs, the media, researchers and the informed public. In view of enhancing the quality of the LMI, and increasing its impact on policy‐dialogue and decision making, the LM is presently involved in a process of decentralization and expansion.

The LMI is presently a partnership of seven LMI partners (AFA, CDE, CIRAD, GIGA, GIZ, ILC, UP). The partnership was formalised through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2011 that will be updated to accommodate recent changes in the governance structure of the LMI. The main achievements of Phase 2 in terms of governance was the establishment of a decentralized project coordination unit, including a partnership coordinator at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and the establishment of regional focal points for Africa, Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Land Matrix Co-ordination Unit
As the LMI expands and decentralizes, project coordination becomes necessary. In December 2016, the partners of the LMI decided to replace the Project Support Unit (PSU) with the Land Matrix Coordination Unit (LMCU) that splits the different coordination tasks between five coordinators with specific responsibilities. The LMCU is composed of five coordinators in charge of these main functions:

– Partnership Coordinator: Organization of the LM Partnership, Support implementation of
decisions by SC, support decentralization, networking, reporting, M&E, documentation (currently located at UP)
– Communications Coordinator: Communication strategy development and implementation
(Public relations, Editing, layout, design of products, support to further enhancement of platform etc.) (currently located at UP)
– Learning and Training Coordinator: Training strategy, Coordinate the design and development of Learning Modules, Coordinate the design, development and delivery of trainings (currently located at ILC)
– Technical Coordinator: Tech support, Platform maintenance and development, Tech issues concerning data exchange, spatial data (currently located at CDE)
– Data and database Coordinator: Data strategy development and oversight, data quality assurance, Data and database management, Data and data entry support, Database editor and structure, Training on LM web-application and database, User administration, Global data collection (currently located at GIGA)

The Research assistant

The research assistant will report to the Land Matrix Coordinator. The work will include mainly statistical analysis of the Land Matrix database, strengthening the accuracy of the data collected from the regions and development of country profiles. The contract will be offered for a period of 1-year renewable based on performance.

Minimum requirements

Postgraduate degree with a good educational background either in GIS or remote sensing with an interest in land issues. The candidate should also have excellent statistical knowledge.

Which fields and topics are focused on?
‐ Fields and topics are related to large‐scale land acquisitions, which include the broad fields of development policy, agriculture, rural development, natural resources governance, water policy, food security, etc.)

How to apply?
‐ A comprehensive motivation letter detailing skills and experience in the listed fields of expertise;
‐ Recent curriculum Vitae, including a list of referees and contact details (no longer than two pages);

Applications should be sent to the Land Matrix Coordinator:

Dr Mercy Ojoyi (
Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development
University of Pretoria
Tel: +27 12 420‐6666

Application process and calendar:
‐ Deadline for applications: 20th April 2018
‐ Selection outcome announced by University of Pretoria: 27th April 2018
‐ Starting date: 7 May 2018

ILO: “Creating decent jobs for a rapidly expanding young African labour force:, 18 August 2017

Within the next 15 years, some 375 million young people will become of working age in Africa, equivalent to the current population of Canada and the United States combined. By 2050, nearly one in three young people will be living in sub-Saharan Africa, and most of them simply cannot afford not to work.

ILO News talked to Bruno Losch, Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn ), at the University of Western Cape, South Africa, and lead political economist at Cirad (Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement) about the youth employment challenge in sub-Saharan Africa. Losch is the author of two International Labour Organization publications on the subject and spoke at an ILO seminar in June.


For the full interview, visit the ILO website here.

‘Broadening the Debate on EU-Africa Relations’, by ESA-SSA, 20-21.07.2017

On July 20-21, scholars from every corner of Africa assembled at GovInn HQ for a workshop entitled “Broadening the Debate on EU-Africa Relations”. The aim of this ESA-SSA workshop was to advance perspectives on EU-Africa relations from Africa and the African diaspora. Scholars had an opportunity to scrutinise underexplored dimensions of the relationship as well as provide new insights into more established elements of the partnership. At the same time, the workshop represented a first effort at redressing the imbalance in scholarship on EU-Africa relations, which has hitherto been dominated by writing from Europe. Most importantly, new friendships were made and commitments to further collaborative research solidified. Stay tuned for more workshops to come!

ERGO Workshop 2017

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.

Chris Nshimbi at the African Research Universities Alliance Launch conference, Ghana, 03-04.04.

GovInn Deputy Director Chris Nshimbi accompanied the University of Pretoria Vice Chancellor, Prof Cheryl de la Ray, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, Professor Burton and other colleagues to the Africa Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Launch Conference at the University of Ghana in Accra, Ghana. The inaugural conference was a tremendous success from an academic and research collaboration perspective. Dr Nshimbi spoke at the conference on the current state of affairs and the way forward for the governance of migration in Africa’s regional economic communities.

Please find the abstract of the presented paper below.

Nshimbi_Abstract_ARUA Conference