The quiet rise of medium-scale farmers in Malawi

The Quiet Rise of Medium-Scale Farms in Malawi

Ward Anseeuw and John Kotsopoulos, along with Thomas Jayne and Richard Kachule published a paper on Land Vol 5, No19



Medium-scale farms have become a major force in Malawi’s agricultural sector. Malawi’s most recent official agricultural survey indicates that these account for over a quarter of all land under cultivation in Malawi. This study explores the causes and multifaceted consequences of the rising importance of medium-scale farms in Malawi. We identify the characteristics and pathways of entry into farming based on surveys of 300 medium-scale farmers undertaken in 2014 in the districts of Mchinji, Kasungu and Lilongwe. The area of land acquired by medium-scale farmers in these three districts is found to have almost doubled between 2000 and 2015. Just over half of the medium-scale farmers represent cases of successful expansion out of small-scale farming status; the other significant proportion of medium-scale farmers are found to be urban-based professionals, entrepreneurs and/or civil servants who acquired land, some very recently, and started farming in mid-life. We also find that a significant portion of the land acquired by medium-scale farmers was utilized by others prior to acquisition, that most of the acquired land was under customary tenure, and that the current owners were often successful in transferring the ownership structure of the acquired land to a long-term leaseholding with a title deed. The study finds that, instead of just strong endogenous growth of small-scale famers as a route for the emergence of medium-scale farms, significant farm consolidation is occurring through land acquisitions, often by urban-based people. The effects of farmland acquisitions by domestic investors on the country’s primary development goals, such as food security, poverty reduction and employment, are not yet clear, though some trends appear to be emerging. We consider future research questions that may more fully shed light on the implications of policies that would continue to promote land acquisitions by medium-scale farms.

The article, which belongs to the “Special Issue Changing Land Use, Changing Livelihoods” can be downloaded here

Note: This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Book Launch: “African Accountability: What Works and What Doesn’t?”


The Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) and the University of Pretoria’s Department of Political Sciences, in association with the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), are pleased to announce the launch of “African Accountability: What Works and What Doesn’t”, a book edited by Steven Gruzd and Yarik Turianskyi (Programme Head and Programme Manager of the Governance and APRM Programme at SAIIA).


‘African Accountability: What Works and What Doesn’t?’ focuses on political and social aspects to assess the current state of governance and accountability in Africa. While important strides have been made, governance reforms have been rather slow, complex, inefficient and difficult to implement.

This book seeks to explore and unpack some of these issues, building on the work of SAIIA’s three-year programme on Governance and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). Chapters by both governance experts and governance practitioners discuss continental efforts to set Africa on a steady and sustainable path, such as the African Union’s (AU) 50 year development plan, Agenda 2063, the emerging African Governance Architecture (AGA) and examine the interplay between the AU’s African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) and the APRM.

At domestic level, this book looks at a mixture of traditional and innovative accountability processes. To what extent do African parliaments hold executives to account, and fulfil their oversight mandates? How effective are African ombudsmen in promoting and protecting the rights of citizens? And new methods of holding those in power to account are emerging. Increasingly, technologies – in particular smart phones – are being used to monitor election results, survey citizen opinions and provide oversight.

For Africa to develop, it seems clear that it needs good governance. Without it, corruption thrives, maladministration is pervasive and citizens are denied essential services. This book examines where Africa is headed in the governance realm, and what lessons have been learned on its journey.

Date: Thursday, 2 June 2016

Time: 14:00 – 16:00
Venue: GovInn Headquarters, Old College House, University of Pretoria Main Campus (Hatfield)
RSVP essential: by 30 May 2016.

More information on the book can be found on the SAIIA website.

EU-Africa dinner at the EUIA conference in Brussels

Members of the European Studies Association of Sub-Saharan Africa (ESA-SSA) met in Brussels on 12 May for a special EU -Africa dinner. This event took place during the European Union in International Affairs Conference, 11-13 May 2016 and was attended by GovInn senior researchers Camilla Adelle, John Kotsopoulos and Frank Mattheis

GovInn in Groundbreaking seminar on Policy Coherence for Development



GovInn, as part of the Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (RISC), participated in a groundbreaking seminar at the West Africa Institute (WAI) in Praia, Cape Verde, organized by the RISC Working group on Development, Equity and Policy Coherence; to analyze Normative Coherence for Development and Inter-regionalism. Deputy Director, Chris Nshimbi, represented GovInn at the seminar, which was coordinated by Prof. Lauri Siitonen (University of Helsinki) and Prof. Harlan Koff (University of Luxembourg), and held on April 27 and 28, 2016. Participants focused on normative development frameworks in different world regions including ECOWAS, SADC, ASEAN and the Andean Community of Nations and examined whether or not the EU respects them in inter-regional relations.


“South Africa’s World: Perspectives on Diplomacy and International Political Economy” roundtable discussion in honour of Prof. Gerrit Olivier

The Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) in partnership with the SARChI Chair: African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy hosted a roundtable discussion titled “South Africa’s World: Perspectives on Diplomacy and International Political Economy” in honour renowned diplomat and academic Proffessor Gerrit Olivier. The event was held at the Senate Hall at UP Hatfield campus and featured  a faculty of some South Africa’s leading thinkers to explore the countries foreign policy. Elizabeth Sidiropoulos (South African Institute of International Affairs) and  Prof. Deon Geldenhuys (University of Johannesburg) provided opening remarks and featured in the discussion along with GovInn director Prof. Lorenzo Fioramonti, Chris Landsberg (SARChI) and Costa Georghiou (University of Johannesburg). The final word belonged to the man of the hour as guests and his family, Skyping in from Hull were treated to a final address from Prof Olivier.





‘South Africa’s Agrarian Question’ book launch by Ward Anseeuw

South Africa’s Agrarian Question

The Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation hosted the book launch of Govinn’s director Ward Anseeuw co-edited book ‘South Africa’s Agrarian Question’, by Hubert Cochet, Ward Anseeuw and Sandrine Fréguin-Gresh.

“The answers provided in this book will be of interest not only to all those interested in the South African experiment, but also to those who, in all regions, are questioning the mainstream agrifood regime and asking how it can be transformed.” – Olivier De Schutter, Former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food (2008–2014); Co-Chair, International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems; Member of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

SA Agrarian Question book launch 19-04-2016 by Dr. Ward Anseeuw

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

GovInn and the Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria honored to co-host the 2016 Southern Voices Network Conference

On March 21-24, 2016, GovInn, the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria, in partnership with the Wilson Center Africa Program, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), the Human Science Research Council (HSCR), and the Institute for Global Dialogue (IGD) hosted the annual Southern Voices Network conference in Pretoria, South Africa.

The theme of the conference was “Building Peace through Inclusivity: Strengthening Economic, Social, and Political Inclusion in Africa.”

The Southern Voices Network (SVN) is a continent-wide network of African policy and research organizations that works with the Africa Program of the Wilson Center to bring African analyses and perspectives to key issues in U.S.-Africa relations.
– See photos from the conference in the photo packet here.

“The state of Ubuntu in South Africa: driver of change or buzzword?” 23 Nov 2015

On Monday 23 November, The Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation, in conjunction with the Department of Political Science at the University of Pretoria, hosted a one day public discussion to position the state of Ubuntu in South Africa. The meeting was attending my many well known academic and independent thinkers on the subject of Ubuntu, and below we have short gallery.

To see the full programme click here.



Lorenzo Fioramonti speaking in Austria about political alternatives to a GDP-focused world

VIDEO: Beyond GDP and political alternatives

Watch GovInn Director Lorenzo Fioramonti speaking about political alternatives to a GDP-focused world at an event hosted by Impulszentrum Zukunftsfähiges Wirtschaften on 9 October 2015, in Graz, Austria.