“EU-Africa Migration Conundrum in a Changing Global Order”, 3-5 September 2018

At the beginning of September, from the 3rd to the 5th, the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation hosted a two day workshop and one day conference that focused on migration and human mobility with Africa and the European Union, and between the two regions. The event was hosted by GovInn Director, Dr Chris Nshimbi, and enjoyed input from a number of academics, practitioners and students, focused on the trends, impacts and future of migration in and between these regions.

Below are some pictures from the three days of engagement and dialogue.

Conference Report: “Comparative Regionalism: State of the Art and Future Directions”

Conference Participants

Participants of the Comparative Regionalism Conference

During the first week of November, the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) had the honour to host a conference on comparative regionalism in partnership with the Research College (KFG) “The Transformative Power of Europe” at the Free University Berlin.

KFG-directors Prof. Tanja Börzel and Prof. Thomas Risse together with GovInn director Prof. Lorenzo Fioramonti and senior research fellow Dr. Frank Mattheis combined forces to bring together authors of the recently published Oxford Handbook of Comparative Regionalism with experts in Africa. After two similar events of the KFG in Singapore and Rio de Janeiro, Pretoria constituted to third and last stop for the authors to engage in a global dialogue.

GovInn invited colleagues from various South African universities with a track record in studying regionalism but also African experts with practical experience in supporting regional integration. The different panels addressed regionalism from a variety of angles by looking at specific governance issues (e.g. the politics of regional migration), geographic specificities (e.g. what makes regionalism in Africa distinct?) and the broader connections between regionalism across the globe (e.g. how do interregional diffusion processes work?). The debates touched on a broad variety of issues of central relevance to Africa, including the gap between formal regional organisations and regionalising actors on the ground.

The debates were also informed by the current higher education crisis in South Africa. The roundtables witnessed debates about ways to address Eurocentrism in the study of regionalism, not by provincialising regionalisms but by combining the production of regional knowledge with a dialogue between sub-disciplines and theories.

Prof. Risse in action

Prof. Risse in action

GovInn and the KFG turned out to be well placed to congregate scholars from the wider field of comparative regionalism so as to collectively engage with crossing the boundaries of their disciplines and regions. Yet, as discussed in the closing roundtable, the eclecticism produces new challenges for methodological rigour, funding schemes and selection criteria of academic journals. The momentum generated by the growing number of scholars interested in the study of comparative regionalism generates many new questions and challenges for the field to take into account as it further institutionalises in research programmes and state of the art.

Conference Programme “Comparative Regionalism”

‘When politics and academia collide, quality suffers. Just ask Nigeria’. The Conversation, 25.10.16


In his latest op-ed for The Conversation GovInn deputy director Dr Chris Nshimbi considers the ramifications of politicising academia amid the ongoing student protests across South African Universities. The article explores Nigeria’s experiences with similar problems and the resultant decline in universities administrative, academic and financial autonomy while contributing to the departure of many academics. The full article can be read here.

Inaugural Thuli Madonsela Good Governance Public Lecture

GovInn director Lorenzo Fioramonti and senior research fellow Prince Mashele with Adv Madonsela.

GovInn director Lorenzo Fioramonti and senior research fellow Prince Mashele with Adv Madonsela.

The Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) and the University of Pretoria are proud to announce the inaugural Thuli Madonsela Good Governance Public Lecture with former Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela. An esteemed official who has given her all to the nation deserves appreciation by a grateful public. Given Adv Madonsela’s contribution to strengthening governance at a challenging at time in the history of South Africa, the University of Pretoria through its prestigious Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation has judged it fit to formalize regular remembrances of the good deeds of Adv Madonsela, who has left a positive mark on the face of South African society. Once every year this prestigious lecture will be presented by a shining international or local good governance champion whose work embodies the indomitability of spirit and moral zeal that characterized Adv Madonsela’s tenure as Public Protector. The invite-only event will take place on 1 November and will be broadcast live on PowerFM and ENCA.

The South African Land Observatory

Land governance and access to information

GovInn welcomes the opening of the South African Land Observatory (SALO), an initiative that promotes  evidence-based and inclusive decision-making over land resources in South Africa.

SALO offers people and organisations an accessible, open-data and open-source online hub for informed debate and interaction. The initiative makes user-friendly land-based information available to all stakeholders with the aim of creating an informed land community in South Africa, through facilitating access to data, information and networking. It is a one-stop help desk for the land community to debate the pressing questions of land ownership and land use in South Africa.

The platform, as it is seen now, is only a starting point. The website is participatory, populated through crowd-sourcing information for accuracy and updating by relevant stakeholder participants. We invite you to join the land community for debates, information exchange and networking for a participatory governance of land: Contribute here!

A pro-active process to introduce SALO to land stakeholders in South Africa and to engage with them in developing the land community will follow shortly.

SALO is supported by the Flemish Cooperation and hosted by the University of Pretoria, through the Postgraduate School of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation, and the Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development. A small dedicated team of researchers, data and communication specialists created it and keep it constantly updated. Learn more about the South African Land Observatory 

Launch of the “Economic Report on Africa (ERA) 2016” by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), 24 June 2016

govinn UN NAS

The Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) and the Postgraduate School of Agriculture and Rural Development invite you to the Launch of the 

“Economic Report on Africa (ERA) 2016” 

by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

Date: Friday, 24 June 2016
Time: 12:00 – 14:00
Venue: Room L1-70 Graduate Centre, University of Pretoria Main Campus (Hatfield)
RSVP essential: by 22 June 2016

African economies face risks that require special attention from policy-makers, including turbulence in the global economy. Africa’s vulnerability calls for a rethink of its broader development strategy. Despite robust economic growth in Africa (often higher than elsewhere in the world over the last decade), it has rarely been inclusive, the number of Africans in absolute poverty has risen and inequality remains a major issue. And because Africa’s growth has been largely tied to exploiting non-renewable natural resources—with minimal value added and employment generation—sustainable growth has been undermined.

These three strands—macroeconomic vulnerability, social inequality and natural resource dominance—weave into the argument that industrialization is critical for Africa’s structural transformation and efforts to create jobs, raise value added and increase incomes. Current developing-country models of economic growth, as exemplified by China and India, rarely account for the social and environmental externalities that exacerbate poverty in developing countries, Africa included. Given the commodity domination of its exports, its drive for industrialization and structural transformation, and its greater energy needs, Africa’s imperative is to adopt
green growth.

The report examines how greening the industrialization process can serve as an instrument of accelerated industrialization and structural transformation in Africa. A green economy is considered to improve human well-being and social equity, while sharply curtailing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. It integrates economic, social and environmental policies and focuses on new opportunities for economic growth that reduce pressure on the quality and quantity of natural capital systems. A green growth pathway will put Africa’s development on a more robust and sustainable foundation, since it not only accommodates growth of the economy but also prioritizes the need for restoring or increasing environmental and social assets.

EU-ACP Rethinking Development Seminar ‘EU Agricultural Reforms, Trade Policy Initiatives and African Agro-Food Sector Development’, 20 June 2016

Govinn-NAS logo

The Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) and
Postgraduate School of Agriculture and Rural Development invite you to a seminar on

“EU Agricultural Reforms, Trade Policy Initiatives
and African Agro-Food Sector Development”

By Dr Paul Goodison
(an expert on EU-ACP trade and development relations)

Date: Monday, 20 June 2016
Time: 12:00 – 14:00
Venue: GovInn Headquarters, Old College House, University of Pretoria Main Campus
RSVP essential: by 16 June 2016

The seminar will focus on the Emerging Impact of EU Agricultural Reforms and Trade Policy Initiatives on Agro-Food Sector Development in Africa. In particular, focus will be on the impact of the EU reciprocal trade agreement on Southern African countries in the context of the on-going process of EU agricultural reforms. Factors that need to be taken into account in designing and implementing smallholder development programmes if smallholder farmers are not to be left in a perilous financial position (e.g. Swazi smallholder sugar producers in Swazi who have been brought into the sector in the past ten years). There is also a need to try and ease the disproportionate burden which falls on smallholder producers through a better design of certain measures.

“Iran back in the game: a new power in international relations?”

The Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) invited Prof Foad Izadi from the Faculty of World Studies, University of Tehran, to give a lecture on Iran’s position in the world after the sanctions.


Iran Back in the Game Lecture by Prof Foad Izadi, Faculty of World Studies, University of Tehran

Land Matrix publishes its country profile on Zambia

Land matrix logo

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.

For more information please read below or visit the


Networks of Cross-border Non-State Actors: The Role of Social Capital in Regional Integration

Chris Changwe Nshimbi, co-director of the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation, published a new article named ‘Networks of Cross-border Non-State Actors: The Role of Social Capital in Regional Integration’ in the Journal of Borderlands Studies.

borderlands coverThis paper examines the contribution of networks of cross-border grassroots non-State actors to regional integration. It uses three assumptions to determine whether sub-regional schemes augment regional integration: (a) networks of grassroots non-State actors connect communities that share common backgrounds, histories and cultures; (b) interactions in the networks generate a trust that stabilizes them and contributes to network efficiency; and (c) where these networks straddle State boundaries, they integrate the economies that host the communities of actors in the networks and thus enhance integration. The paper achieves its objective by illustrating these assumptions in the context of sub-regional integration in Southeast Asia and Southern Africa. A thorough review of the literature on regional and sub-regional integration, borderland studies, etc. is conducted along with the use of social capital and historical, socioeconomic and political accounts to illustrate the role of informal networks in integration. Because networks, norms and trust dominate conceptual discussion of social capital (Schuller, T., S. Baron, and J. Field. 2000. Social capital: A review and critique. In Social capital: Critical perspectives, eds. S. Baron, J. Field, and T. Schuller, 1–38. Oxford: Oxford University Press.), the paper conceptualizes the terms in the context of social capital. Participant observations, face-to-face interviews and focus group discussions conducted during extensive fieldwork between September 2013 and November 2014 at selected border posts, in the major border towns of the adjacent provinces of the ZMM-GT, in markets and villages in the contiguous border areas of the growth triangle also provide the primary data employed in the analysis. Sub-regional initiatives contribute to development, as does macro-regionalism. Unlike Southeast Asians, people in southern Africa are primarily driven by the need for survival and operate less on ethnic lines. However, a clear demonstration of social capital and cohesion is evident here. Leaders in Africa should encourage cross-border ethnic and kinship ties rather than abuse ethnicity for political gain.

The article can be found here.