Sustainable Development in Africa: The Role of Science and Education – was the topic of the 2nd DAAD Centres for Excellence Alumni Conference in Ghana. The conference was organized by the Ghanaian Alumni Network (IGAN) with the support of the Institute for Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana, the Ghanaian-German Centre for Development Studies (GGCDS), and the Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, at the Volta Hotel in Akosombo from November 6th to 9th 2018.
The conference’s main objective was to foster the enhancement and consolidation of an organized network encompassing alumni from the different Centres for African Excellence, while also providing a platform for scientific discussion relevant to the future of the centers vis-à-vis their contribution to sustainable development in African countries.
The objectives of the conference also encompassed, initially, discussions among the coordinators of the Centers for African Excellence, in order to define how they could further support the emerging Alumni Network as well as how the centers could collaborate in the future. This is reflected on the structure of the original program, which included parallel sessions organized in thematic groups (for the alumni to present their research), and plenary sessions of the alumni, of the coordinators, or of all participants, in order to advance a series of questions, such as:
• How has/can your research contributed/contribute to sustainable development?
• How can/does the training received at the centers contribute to your professional practice in promoting sustainable development?
• How could the centers further enhance students’ capabilities towards the promotion of sustainable development?
• How can interdisciplinary cooperation between the African Centers of Excellence help to enhance sustainable development?
However, the need to define and develop a clear structure of the Alumni Network was recognized as one of the most urgent issues. The responsibility to deliver a complete report with the main results of the discussion was transferred to the Alumni Network Steering Committee.
Written by Aline Rose Barbosa Perreira.
The Ghanaian-German Center for Development Studies (GGCDS) is a DAAD Center of African Excellence established at the University of Ghana in collaboration between ZEF and the Institute for Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER). Since its inception in 2008, the GGCDS has successfully established a PhD program in Development Studies and promoted academic exchange and research collaborations between German and African partners.
As an important step to ensure the sustainability of the GGCDS, the DAAD has selected ISSER as host institution for part of its West African Sur-Place/in-Region stipend program. Beginning in 2017, three batches of seven students from Ghana and other African countries will be sponsored for four years each to obtain their PhD in Development Studies. The current program runs until 2022 but can be prolonged after a successful evaluation in 2019.
The objective of the DAAD Sur-Place/In-Region scholarship program is to train highly qualified professionals for the sustainable development of Africa and to contribute to the development of top-quality, cosmopolitan African universities.
For further information: http://www.zef.de/project/ggcds
The Ghanaian-German Centre for Development Studies (GGCDS) offers 7 PhD-Positions at the University of Ghana, starting in August 2017. Since Ghanaian and international applicants will be considered, we would like to invite you to circulate the call in your networks (see attached pdf-file).
The deadline for applications is 31st of March 2017
Thank you very much and kind regards!
Networking Visit of Prof. Julian May at the Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn
As part of the networking activities between the Ghanaian-German Center for Development Studies (GGCDS) and the South African-German Centre for Development Research (SA-GER CDR), the South African director Prof. Julian May visited ZEF, the German collaborating partner of the GGCDS, on December 15, 2016. At ZEF he met with colleagues to discuss possibilities of future research collaborations particularly in the field of food security.
As part of his visit Prof. May gave a well-attended talk on “The scramble for Africa’s Food Security: Food and nutrition trends in the Sub-Saharan economic powerhouses” in ZEF’s Research Colloquium. Focusing on the twelve largest economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, Prof. May showed how a growing population as well as increasing affluence, urbanization, and globalization leads to rapidly changing African food system . Changes in the production, marketing, and consumption of food, as well as growing food-import-dependency pose new logistical and nutritional challenges adding to the already existing problems in food availability and access in many African countries.
We are happy to announce that the last three films about the Centres have been finalized! You can watch the filmtrailers about the centres in Ghana, Kenia and DR Congo here. To view all seven films in full length go to our Website: www.african-excellence.de
Enjoy the films! We are looking forward to your comments!
Workshop Report: Civilizing Resource Investments and Extractive Industries: Societal Negotiations and the Role of Law – 22.-23.09.2016, at the Center for Development Research, University of Bonn
The accelerating global scramble for natural resources has continued to push the accumulation of land and other natural resources to ever new frontiers, especially the ‘global south’. Increasing investments in the global south were driven by the availability of resources and the increased profitability of investments in ‘risky’ environments during periods of raw material price hikes until the late 2000s. Furthermore, investments in the rather weak institutional and regulatory context of ‘developing’ countries seemed to be easier to implement and more profitable than under the highly regulated conditions in the ‘developed’ world.
The tendency to ignore the environmental and social externalities of large investments in resources in the ‘global south’ has long been criticized and opposed by activists. Local activism and international campaigns have raised public awareness in the global north and political advocacy as well, as consumer pressure have contributed to the generation of – albeit largely voluntary – international standards but also national laws meant to curb the most devastating consequences of resource investments and extraction. Resource accumulation and extraction has also given rise to a vivid academic debate about the macro- and micro-environmental, socio-economic, and political impact of investments as well as effective strategies to oppose, control and steer investments in order to prevent or mitigate negative impacts.
This workshop contributed to this ongoing debate in two ways:
On the one hand, it tried to understand how investments and resource extraction are negotiated in societies in in the ‘global south’. The focus was on the rather confused and complicated linkages between global, national and local arenas. Large international investments are often promoted by international agencies as well as national governments in the home and host countries and allegedly operate within the framework of international guidelines and national legislation. Nevertheless, the way they are implemented and the way their impacts are contained is not straightforward, but depends on negotiation processes – often conflicts – in which different actors such as companies, governments, international agencies, international, national and local NGOs, CBOs, and a broad variety of local stakeholders engage with varying and changing strategies and in varying and changing networks and coalitions. Here the focus of our interest was rather on extra-legal negotiations and coalition-building strategies and their outcomes.
On the other hand, large parts of these negotiations are supposed to be framed by guidelines, laws, and regulations, to be enshrined in environmental – and social licensing processes, or are ultimately adjudicated in courts. These institutional frameworks, and the fundamental rights for citizens and the environment they instill, are the outcome of decades of opposition, awareness raising and advocacy. They carry a high symbolic value and they could provide the foundation for civilizing resource investment and extractive industries. We therefore discussed processes of legislation and regulation, but also the ways laws and rules are unmade or circumvented, and citizen and environmental rights become emptied in the legal and administrative field. The later, for instance, could be the result of transnational investment agreements, the failure to define the duties of enforcement, the weighing of competing rights, through procedural means, or because of the particular habitus of the legal social field.
The workshop brought together senior resource persons and post-graduate students to spark a discussion between senior scientists with rich theoretical background and practical experience with upcoming scholars with rich empirical material. While the former provided theoretical input and historical background to the debate, the post-graduate students presented and discussed their work in progress.
Of the 18 participants who attended the workshop, 14 presented on the topic, among them GGCDS (Ghanaian-German Centre for Development Studies) PhD-students Maliam Acio and Asaah Mohammed from Ghana as well as Grace Kamugisha and Naomi Gichuki from TGCL (Tanzanian-German Centre for Eastern Africa Legal Studies), Tanzania. Furthermore, Martina Shakya from IEE (Institute of Development Research and Development Policy Ruhr-University Bochum, partner of the South African German Centre for Development Research), Prof. Amanor (Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana) and Prof. Diaby-Pentzlin (University for Applied Sciences Wismar) contributed presentations on land issues in West Africa to the workshop. Bruno Milanez (Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Brazil) and Gustavo Gazzinelli (Councilor, State Council of Water Resources, Minas Gerais, Brazil) enriched the workshop with examples from Brazil on the topics of water and mining.
During the two days of the workshop, the participating PhD-Students and Senior Experts from eight different countries in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia had intensive and fruitful debates and a vivid exchange of ideas and experience. The participants’ scientific interaction will continue as the publication of an edited volume has been planned.
The workshop was made possible with the financial funding from the DAAD (through the Bonn International Graduate School – Development Research and the Ghanaian-German Centre for Development Studies). We would like to express our thanks to everyone who contributed to the success of this workshop, in particular to all participants for their valuable inputs and to the DAAD for the financial support.
The Ghanaian-German Centre of Excellence for Development Studies is a collaborative venture between the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana and the Centre for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany. The Centre is being funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) under the Centres of Excellence for Teaching and Research to Train Future Leaders in Sub-Saharan Africa Initiative.
Every year, ZEF host first year PhD students at Bonn for a two months exchange programme. This year, seven first year PhD students visited Bonn for the annual summer programme from 30th May to 28th July 2016. The program began with a four-day Right Livelihood College (RLC) Workshop on sustainable organic agriculture. We had the opportunity to interact with other PhD students from all over the globe and presented their proposals for inputs. After the RLC workshop, we had the opportunity to participate in the Global Media Forum, organized by Deutsche Welle in Bonn.
As part of the summer programme, several trainings and workshops were held on endnote, SPSS and ATLAS.ti software to strengthen the analytical skills of participant. To facilitate the appreciation of Germany culture and history, a weeklong trip was organized to Berlin where we interacted with the Ghana Embassy and the Federal Ministry for Economic Coopration BMZ. Visits were also organized to the Bundestag (German Parliament) to observe parliamentary proceedings and to other historical and memorial sites in the city.
Dr. Wolfram Laube (the Coordinator at ZEF) and Dr. Charles Ackah (Coordinator at Ghana) facilitated a three-day workshop on proposal writing. This offered us the opportunity to present our research problems, research questions and methodologies for discussion. The discussions and inputs from the facilitators and colleagues helped in the shaping and proper focusing of our research topics, problems and questions.
The summer programme offered us a great opportunity to interact with people of different backgrounds and cultures especially within an international environment, met other students and senior researchers to make input into our work as well as share some idea. Experiencing Bonn has been excellent especially with the quiet and great work ethic.
What was a bit odd about this year’s summer school was the presumably ‘interesting’ summer weather. Rains fell in most of the days and most of the time, the weather was cold, which was unexpected. Interestingly, unlike Ghana where from 6:00pm, darkness begins to fall, we experienced a different weather pattern where even as at 8:00pm, the sun would still be shinning.
For most of us who were visiting Germany for the first time, we really enjoyed the German dishes even though our preference for the Chinese dishes was high. You can imagine living in a country you can hardly read, speak or understand their language but as time went by, we learnt to say some few words and having to pronounce a supposedly German word and even the native Germans cannot even make meaning of what you are saying was really fascinating. We can confidently say that this year’s summer school really broadened our understanding on issues we were taught as well as gave us the opportunity to use the extensive academic resources University of Bonn offers students for developing our proposals.
We express our deepest gratitude to DAAD for the sponsorship as well as all staff and faculty at ZEF, University of Bonn Germany, and ISSER, University of Ghana for their support.
Workshop on ‘ Civilizing Resource Investmnet and Extractive Industries’ by ZEF and the GGCDS, Bonn, 22.09-23.09.16
this is to inform you about a workshop ‘Civilizing Resource Investments and Extractive Industries: Societal Negotiations and the Role of Law’ that is organized by ZEF and the Ghanain-German Center for Development Studies at ZEF, Bonn, 22.-23-09.2016. The workshop brings together experts, activists, and post-graduate students. Interested colleagues and students could apply for partcipation. They would have to send a 250 word abstarct of the paper they intend to present to firstname.lastname@example.org. Since funding is limited, applicants would have to bear the cost of travel and accommodation, or ask their respective centers for support. Please find the workshop concept attached.
The Ghanaian-German Centre for Development Studies was established in 2008 and addresses development related challenges by offering an interdisciplinary PhD programme. Each year up to 5 scholarships can be awarded. The german partner is the University of Bonn, (South-East Asien Studies, Department of Political and Cultural Change).
To read more about the programme click here: https://www.african-excellence.de//centres/ghana/development-studies/