GovInn’s Director Chris Nshimbi recently published the article ‘Southern African countries won’t manage disasters unless they work together‘ in The Conversation.

But, natural disasters like Idai doesn’t respect national boundaries. Their very regional scope requires solutions that integrate domestic actions into a regional governance framework to address them effectively … Instead of acting individually, SADC countries need to work together to pool resources and mobilise disaster relief efforts and resources to be more effective. This could be done through the SADC Secretariat.


Read the whole article here:

GovInn’s Director Chris Nshimbi published together with Inocent Moyo the article ‘Border Practices at Beitbridge Border and Johannesburg Inner City: Implications for the SADC Regional Project‘ in the Journal of Asian and African Studies.

Regarded not only as a line that separates South Africa and Zimbabwe to underline the interiority and exteriority of the two countries, as well as to control and manage migration and immigration, Beitbridge border effectively plays out the immigration debates and dynamics at the heart of the nation-state of South Africa. Based on a qualitative study of how migrants from other African countries are treated at this border and in Johannesburg inner city, we suggest that the harassment suffered by the migrants at the hands of border officials, including immigration officials, the police and army, is indicative of a larger dynamic that exists in the centre, which is represented by Johannesburg inner city. Such bordering and rebordering practices at the border and at the centre reflect negatively on the spirit and letter of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional integration project.

Read whole article here :

Regions without borders
Regions without borders

Call for abstracts



“Sociocultural Encounters in Geography: Borders, Borderlands, Grassroots Non-State Actors and the Southern African Regional Integration Project”

The geographical and socio-economic landscapes of the contiguous border areas in Southern African suggest de facto processes of regional integration. The historical, socio-economic and cultural interactions, enhanced by geography, that characterise these borderlands form sub-regions that not only defy border controls but also achieve alternative processes of regional integration. This has not received much scholarly attention and recognition from policy makers. Therefore, this session takes, as its point of departure, the debates around borders, borderlands, sub-and regional integration and aims to interrogate the place of local, grassroots non-State actors and their rich historical, socioeconomic and cultural interactions facilitated by geographic proximity in Southern Africa’s borderlands, in the SADC’s regional integration project. Hence the questions; do “spaces of flows” replace “spaces of places” in Southern Africa’s borderlands? Are economic regions outside formal state organisation likely to emerge in these contiguous border areas? Contrary to top down approaches to regional integration, the session will explore alternative approaches to regional integration in the SADC and advance perspectives that question current thinking and conceptualization of regional integration in the Southern African region and in Africa, in general. Several questions shall, therefore, be explored such as: how does the role of grassroots non-State actors in the Southern African region compare with other parts of the world?

Please register and submit your abstract (200-250 words) at the IGC China 33rd International Geographical Congress website by following the link below. On the Abstract Submission page your “Intended Session” will be listed under Political Geography. Check the “Sociocultural Encounters in Geography: Borders, Borderlands, Grassroots Non-State Actors and the Southern African Integration Project” box and proceed with your submission.


15 February 2016

21-25 August 2016, Beijing China

16 April 2016

For further information please contact:

Dr. Christopher C. Nshimbi
Research Fellow & Deputy Director: Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn)
Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria
Tel: +27 12 420 4152


Dr. Inocent Moyo
Research Fellow: Department of Geography
UNISA, Florida Campus
Tel: +27 72 106 2632

As part of the Migration for Work Research Consortium (MiWORC), GovInn is pleased to announce the final research report on social security and social protection of migrants in South Africa and SADC as well as its contribution to the formulation of regional policy on migration in Southern Africa.

Release of research report on social security and social protection of migrants in South Africa and SADC

The MiWORC Team is pleased to announce the publication of:

The research conducted for MiWORC Report #8 took place under MiWORC’s Work Package 4 on migrant workers and access to social rights and portability of social benefits in South Africa and the region. The report was written by Bob Deacon, Marius Olivier and Reason Beremauro.

The policy update on the SADC Labour Migration Policy Framework reports on the adoption of this document in 2014 and has relevance to the recommendations made in Report #8 as well as Report #1 A region without borders? Policy frameworks for regional labour migration towards South Africa.

Printed copies of both the report and the policy update can be obtained upon request from the African Centre for Migration & Society at Wits University. Please email or phone 011-717-4033.

Key messages in the report:

  • Social protection to which migrants are formally entitled within South Africa is often not accessed.
  • Informal modes of mutual social protection among migrant communities are often unsupported.
  • The inability of former migrant mine workers to access social security benefits requires urgent attention.
  • Access to social protection by all cross-border movers within a region is the key to regional social integration.
  • The sections of the 2014 SADC Protocol on Employment and Labour which address social protection need implementing.

Abstract of the report

This report highlights the realities of and issues around the provision of social protection for international regional migrant workers within the Southern African Development Community. The report tackles the contested policy question of which institutions or regional authorities are responsible for meeting the social protection needs of migrants.

The importance of this work lies both in the contribution which the researchers are able to make to literature on the subject of social protection and the recommendations they make to both SADC and individual countries. The primary argument of this report is that extending access to forms of social protection to migrants is key to real regional integration. Although migrants have some constitutional and legislative protection, in many instances legal stipulations exclude and discriminate non-nationals from accessing assistance and security.

Drawing on extensive qualitative field work, the report is able to highlight the vulnerabilities of these migrants and the difficulties they encounter when trying to access social services in foreign countries. Faced with these challenges, migrants are often found to assist one another through informal and social networks in order to meet social service needs.

Finally, the report also highlights the laws and practices which hinder access to pension, death, and disability benefits for migrant workers or their families once they leave South Africa and return home.

For more information and a list of all the publications containing all research findings, please see the consortium’s website

Copyright © 2015 Migrating for Work Research Consortium (MiWORC), All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you signed up for the MiWORC mailing list, or interacted with the research consortium or expressed interest in its research findings.

Our mailing address is:
African Centre for Migration & Society
University of the Witwatersrand
P O Box 76, Wits,
Johannesburg, Gauteng 2050
South Africa


IMG_4926On July 21-22 2015, GovInn and the UNESCO-UNU Chair on Regional Integration, Migration and Free Movement of People, in partnership with the African Disability Alliance (ADA), hosted a workshop for practitioners from statistical offices, departments of social development and non-governmental organizations from southern Africa and member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to address some challenges in and provide a platform for the SADC region to share best practices on disability statistics and the development of expertise in methodologies of measurement of populations with disability.

The workshop, under the title ‘Strengthening Capacity for Disability Measurement across Africa’, brought together Bureaus of Statistics and Departments of Labour and Social Development, and Disability Federations from eight of the 15 member states of SADC as well as international organizations including, Christoffel Blindernmission (CBM), the European Union (EU), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The workshop, further, sought to benefit from ILO expertise in exploring ways in which statistics and research could enhance equal employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.

After two days of presentations and deliberations, the participants compiled a list of recommendations that identified practical ways for improving the quality and type of data collected on persons with disabilities in the SADC region through data collection methods such as national censuses, demographic and health surveys (DHS), quarterly labour force surveys (QLFS), etc. Download the workshop report here.

The 15 member-state Southern African Development Community (SADC) started out in April 1980 as the Southern African Development Co-ordinating Conference (SADCC) and changed into SADC in August 1992. SADC aims at integrated regional development through formal regional institutions and seeks an economic union through the successive stages of regional integration as espoused by economic theory. This has consequences for the movement of factors of production in the region including labour, capital, goods and services. This research investigates the activities of informal cross-border traders and migrants in the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite in general and the SADC region in particular, with a view to understanding the contribution of such actors to the integration of the said regions. Informal (ethnic) entrepreneurs, local non-state actors, relevant officials from local, provincial and national government in the target areas and relevant officials from, among others, SADC, COMESA, EAC inform the research through interviews. The research gives special attention to persons living in towns, areas, etc. that are proximate to the borders of the countries that form part of the sample for the study. The research also relies on various theories and approaches, such as sociological exchange theory and international political economy approach, and presents historical, socioeconomic, and political accounts observable in the study target areas and populations.

Duration: 2014-2019
Funding: National Research Foundation/Department of Science and Technology (RSA)

GovInn deputy director Chris Nhsimbi conducting research on cross-border trade

logo_classic_igumoscow17-21 August 2015, Lomonosov Moscow State University (LMSU)

In 1991, the African Union (AU) through the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community (AEC) made a commitment towards integrating the African continent. In the AU’s integration agenda, the establishment of the AEC, is the ultimate expression and manifestation of the integration of the African continent. This integration is to be founded on eight regional economic communities (RECs) of which the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is one.

Ideally, successful integration in and of the respective RECs should translate into the success of the continental integration agenda. Africa on the other hand has in the past two decades experienced renewed growth, acquiring tags such as the rising sun. Therefore, this session proposes to discuss the challenges, prospects and opportunities that SADC has against its objective of an integrated southern Africa.

As one of the pillars of the proposed AEC, what are the economic, social, cultural and environmental challenges and trajectories of integration at the regional level in southern Africa?
For example, given the increasing levels of migration and the corresponding desire by some states to tighten cross border movement, is the idea of integration feasible, let alone sustainable?
Is a completely or partially integrated SADC region even possible?
What can SADC learn from the other regional economic communities on the African continent and other parts of the world?
What issues does the SADC region need to address in order to enhance integration?
How and does SADC relate with other RECs in Africa and outside in view of the continental integration agenda?
What can other RECs in Africa and other parts of the world learn from the SADC experience?
What can SADC learn from other regions?


Interested authors should register and submit abstracts (200-250 words) via the MOSCOW IGU Regional Conference website in the link provided below by selecting “Regional integration in Southern Africa: Changing socioeconomic balances in Africa and prospects for continental integration” under the “Session” drop down menu.




Download the call for abstracts here

For further information please contact:

Dr. Christopher C. Nshimbi
Research Fellow
Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn)
Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria
Tel: +27 12 420 4152


Mr. Inocent Moyo
Research Fellow
Department of Geography
UNISA, Florida Campus
Tel: +27 72 106 2632

The African Development Review published a new paper by GovInn Chris Nshimbi and Lorenzo Fioramonti on how South Africa is responding to regional migration.


This paper surveys frameworks of labour migration in southern Africa and determines South Africa’s policy responses to inflows of migrants from seven neighbouring countries. Legislations, policy reports and scientific publications on migration were thoroughly reviewed and interviews and correspondence with key policymakers were conducted. Statistical analyses of data on foreign worker recruitments and permits issued by South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs were also performed. The absence of a migration protocol in southern Africa suggests SADC Members have not implemented the African Union’s migration policy basic guidelines. Two systems coexist in southern Africa that complicate migration governance: a South Africa-managed bilateral migration policy, and aspirations for a formal SADC-managed migration policy. Bilateral agreements between South Africa and neighbours have established a labour migration system that dims prospects for a regional migration policy. SACU Members could establish a two-tier policy to achieve free movement while maintaining managed migration policy outside SACU. An official multilateral migration governance mechanism would serve SADC better than the current ad-hoc measures.

Read the full paper on the African Development Review