Brochure African Excellence

The new brochure on the Centres of African Excellence is freshly published!
Click here to download it.

This brochure illustrates, by means of practical examples and implementation strategies from the centres, how these projects actively contribute to sustainable development in Africa by impartin context-related, relevant expertise and by developing concrete approaches to solutions.

           Prof. Dr. Joybrato Mukherjee, President of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

African-German Cooperation towards Decolonising Higher Education: CERM-ESA Approaches and Lessons Learnt

Dear all

Please find an article reflecting on CERM-ESA’s approach to cooperation in the German-African context that you might also find interesting with regard to your own Centre.

This paper looks into decolonisation as a guiding principle for
North-South academic cooperation towards the United Nations
2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development adopted in 2015. The
purpose of this article is to examine the German Academic Exchange
Service (DAAD) funded African-German cooperation within the
East and South African-German Centre of Excellence for Educational
Research Methodologies and Management – CERM-ESA – and reflect
on its conditions and its contributions to decolonising higher education.
The article draws on relevant literature and reflects on
CERM-ESA activities, face-to-face discussions with CERM-ESA
faculty and students. The findings have practical implications for
North-South cooperation partnerships aimed at decolonising higher
education in Africa.
To read the full paper, please click here

Beware the festive season

Logan Fransman, Director of the Namibian German Centre for Logistics 

has written a column about the need to think about logistics and transportation during the festive season. Especially with all the parties taking place. Both NGCL and DAAD work to promote road and general transportation safety in Namibia together with their stakeholders. The newspaper, New Era and online publication The Economist have already published the column. Have a read of it and share it. It certainly is good advice.

Each year it is upon us before we know. The festive season, spreading cheer, thinking about the holidays, seeing the family and hopefully getting away from the stifling heat. But, not before we have run the gauntlet of the ‘office parties’, end of year functions and social get-together’s. Dressing up, stuffing our faces, dancing and there may be an open bar. That’s right, the open bar. Sounds like a great idea, but it is not without its pitfalls.

It’s been a long year and the office party seems like the perfect place to let your hair down and party with people you spend every day with. The first challenge starts before you have even left the house or the office. How do we get to the office party, or dinner. Usually held at one of Namibia’s upscale hotels, restaurants or party hot-spots. Getting to the venue boils down to nothing more than logistics. This is also where the potential issues may arise. We all like to relax and let off some steam. A beer, a wine or a fancy cocktail often helps us along. But, how do we get home when we know we’ve been drinking?

Anything more than one or two drinks can cause big problems, from making inappropriate remarks, to some truly awful dancing, but much worse is thinking we still have the ability to drive home safely. Alcohol is often to blame for this as it gives us false courage and makes us bold. We all know about the horrendous death toll on Namibia’s road. The number of fatalities only increases around the Christmas season and especially at night after an office party, or end of year dinner.

Logistics really is about moving goods from A to B and in reality you, your passengers and other road users are also ‘goods’ and deserve to arrive safely. That is why safety is such an important aspect of logistics. The logistics sector cannot flourish if it is not done safely. This doesn’t even take into account my personal desire, but also of all Namibians to see the number or road deaths drastically reduced. It is a very depressing statistic to know that Namibia leads the world in road fatalities.

Of course, this is a worst case scenario and lots of people believe they can still drink and drive, it’s always other people that have trouble drinking and driving. Usually there are no issues and you arrive home, drunk and ready for bed. Happy the next morning to see that your car is safely in the driveway. However, take a minute to think of the people that don’t arrive safely, or ever again. The family, spouses, friends and your office workers who now have to deal with the knowledge that you will never come back again, or sit in that office chair. Even worse, you may have caused the accident and be the reason someone else never comes home again. This leaves you with much more than a hangover after the party.

Moderation sounds boring, but there’s a reason why the saying, ‘Everything in moderation’ makes so much sense. So, with the next office party, let someone else take care of the logistics; get a taxi, designated driver, book a room in the hotel where the party is or have someone pick you up. There’s a myriad of choices all infinitely better than drinking and driving. Enjoy the party and have someone else worry about the logistics.


NUST Transport and Logistics Society members go on educational trip to Durban

The Transport and Logistics Society students of the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) recently took a trip to Durban, South Africa to understand the market of logistics on a global scale.  Durban was chosen as the destination for this trip because the port of Durban is the busiest port in Africa.


durban trip group 2Dr Fanny Saruchera (far left), the NUST Transport and Logistics Society Committee members (in white) and the society members in front of the NUST bus parked at the Port of Durban, South Africa

After 20 hours of driving we finally saw the city lights of Durban with logistics being very visible through the continuous stream of trucks leaving Durban heading to their various destinations. After some much needed rest, we headed off to the Maritime School of Excellence by the Port of Durban.

The knowledgeable staff of Transnet gave us a detailed presentation of what happens in the port and how it is maintained. We were shown their impressive shipping simulators and also educated of the different courses they offer. On the tour boat called “Isiponono, we navigated the entire port and got a fantastic insight into Durban Port. Large shipping vessels docking, offloading, and heading out, every aspect of logistics was on show for us.  Students were exposed to a little bit of what it took to build and run a port as big and as busy as the port of Durban, these were some of the operations we were able to witness.


Port of Durban knowledge

The trip to the port of Durban began with the Maritime school of excellence that specializes in teaching programs ranging from machine handling to basic management. The school specializes in multimodal transportation courses and also works with the port of Walvis Bay.

The students also got to see the Maritime museum and got a great history lesson on boats, ships and fishing and how it first started in South Africa.

Our Society members were treated to a luxurious boat cruise which had delicious platters of food set out for us whilst enjoying the stunning views of beautiful Durban. The next stop was the largest marine aquarium in Africa, UShaka Marine World, where the dolphins stole the show. We managed some “fun in the sun” at the nearby Durban South Beach famous for surfing. This is where students had a chance to interact with members of the public to find out more about the language and the culture.

On our long trip back to Windhoek, we were given  a short presentation on how the Namibian Customs office works regarding imports and exports on the Namibian side. This is another vital aspect of logistics and transportation and goods cannot move without clearing customs.

Extra benefits
On the bus ride from place to place our amazing drivers; Mr. Kakei and Mr. Naughton (passionately known as the “anti-virus”) were kind enough to teach the students how to do vehicle inspection and they got to make practical their theoretical knowledge. Logistics is all about knowing how to keep things moving, so this was essential training for us.

We can look back on a successful trip. The Logistics Society hopes to have more of these educational trips to broaden our knowledge in our field of study and to gain unprecedented amount of experience. With the assistance of NUST, NGCL and DAAD we can really improve our logistical knowledge and be ready to be competitive in the market as well-rounded logistics experts. We plan to take more students on such trips and possibly expand our reach to places like Cape Town or Port Elizabeth. We would like to thank the University, our main sponsor Namibian-German Centre for Logistics (NGCL) together with DAAD and Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) as a whole for making this trip possible and allowing us as students to open our eyes to better opportunities out there.

New Era newpaper also published an article about the trip:

New Era_Durban visit_31 May 2017_2


New Publications at the South African-German Centre for Development Research


Davison Muchadenyika, PhD candidate at the SA-GER CDR published a new paper titled ‘Multi-Donor Trust Funds and Fragile States: Assessing the Aid Effectiveness of the Zimbabwe Multi-Donor Trust Fund’.

Research for this paper was largely conducted during Davison worked on his Master thesis for the Bochum Programme of Development Management.

Davison is one of the most active PhD students regarding puplications and already published 3 papers in 2015:

Muchadenyika, D. 2015. Land for Housing: A Political Resource – Reflections from Zimbabwe’s urban areas. Journal of Southern African Studies, 41 (6): 1219-1238.

Muchadenyika, D. 2015. Women Struggles and Large-scale Diamond Mining in Marange, Zimbabwe. The Extractive Industries and Society, 2 (2015): 714-721.

Muchadenyika, D. 2015. Slum Upgrading and Inclusive Municipal Governance in Harare, Zimbabwe: New Perspectives for the Urban Poor. Habitat International, 48 (2015): 1-10.


Employee theft within Small Businesses in Kinshasa, DR Congo – By Michael Kongo

Growing up in a business family where almost everyone was an entrepreneur such as father, mother, uncle, brother in law and even neighbors. What seemed to be a family thing in one of the small town in the Republic of Congo was in fact, one of the greatest activities in the world. According to some authors (Kuratko &Richard, 2004; Davis and Harveston 1998; Hodgetts, 2004; Lam, 2009), more than 90 percent of all enterprise in the world is a family business. In Malaysia, SMEs accounts for 99.2 of all businesses GDP (SME Annual Report 2006- Negara Malaysia).

However, Researchers have shown that  only 30 percent of all families businesses go  into  the  second  generation  and  more  or  less  15  percent  that  sees  the  third  generation  (Friedrich,  2011&  Davis  1998). Employees’ theft is one of the main reasons for that failure as it is responsible   for   about   33   per   cent   of bankruptcies that occur (Walsch, 2000; Kennedy, 2012; Nkonoki, 2010; Gill, 2008; Katsouris and Aaron Sayne, 2013; Hinds, 2005 Hollinger and Davis (2001).

Kennedy (2012) argued that employee theft occurring specifically within small businesses has received much less empirical attention, and almost no attention has been given to how these acts affect the owners and managers of small businesses and the study of Iyenda (2005) has demonstrated how it was difficult to build a successful enterprise in Kinshasa and adding the employee’s theft on top it can only cause more damages.

The present article has asked one question “How employers and owners can protect their family business from theft and fraud”

The  retail  council  of  Canada report  have demonstrated the 10, 10 and 80 rules that said that 10 percent of your employees will never steal from you, the other 10 will always steal from you whenever the circumstances that goes hands to hands to the greedy one. But what is so interesting is that the rest of the 80 will go either that way or mostly depending of the opportunity that has been presented to them.

The hanover insurance group has proposed some rules that entrepreneur can use among that: Pre-employment Screening, Procedural Controls and Devices, Improving Job Satisfaction and Apprehension and Prosecution.

This study stated that these principals are relevant in Kinshasa and it will reduce theft among employees. Please read more in the attached article.

Activity Based Costing and the MFI’s Performance By TAMELA Mouafo Alain

 “Until recently, microcredit critics and advocates alike focused attention on the pricing side of cost recovery without adequate attention paid to cost reduction strategies and efficiency” (United Nations, Blue book, page 58)


Indeed, talking about MFI performances and their aptitude to contribute on poverty reduction in the world, the literature always look for pricing site notably the price of different services for customers. Some (MFI critics) trying to argue that financial services are expensive enough for the MFI’s costumers ; others (MFI advocates) says that MFI’s costumers are able to support higher interest rate while keeping important profits to increase their activities.

Without the intentions to bring together the two ideas, we just tried in our memoir to look for the cost reduction strategies efficiency; we can found out how the MFI can optimize the allocation of their inputs by insuring the fair prize to their customers and perennity to their activities.

The cost reduction side first concern internal analysis and the management control offer a lot of tools that can be used for. Among all, the Activity Based Costing is a cost allocation method that enables an institution to first, split up his operating system in to a reasonable number of activities (that must be able to resume the entire system), and then allocate the different expenses made during a showed period (a month, quarter, half year, etc.) to these activities using   a distribution base called indicator. The guiding principle is that activities consume charges and products consume activities.

To implement the tool, we choose a Cameroonian institution (the one who accept to receive us and to provide all the data needed by our work, thanks to ACEP Cameroun SA). The main question we tried to answer is: how ACEP Cameroun can use the ABC method to increase his performances? And from that question deduce 4 secondary questions:

  • How ACEP Cameroun can use the ABC method to calculate the cost of his products?
  • What are the activities that consume the more important part of charges?
  • How ACEP Cameroun can reduce the amount of charge consumed?
  • What are the others uses of product costing for ACEP Cameroun?

In spite of difficulties we faced because of the fact that the management information system of ACEP Cameroun where not prepared for this type of operation, we made it, helped by the management control service. Here are the results we found out:

  • We identified and evaluate 21 activities, of which 4 consumed near of 80 % of charges;
  • With gross margin of about USD 400 000.00 (four hundred thousand US dollars) for the first half of the year 2015, it was not possible for them to know the effective origin of that (as products are concern). After our work, it is established that they had profit margin on three products (“prêts pour activités génératrices de revenus” that produce 93.5%; “credits à la consummation produce 2.8 % and “gestion des épargnes” produce 12 %) and sustain a loss on two of their products (“prêts aux agents de l’institution” that destroyed 7.1 % and “transfert d’argent” that destroyed 1.2 %);
  • We showed the possibility to reduce different products costing by using a part of Activity Based Management technique;
  • Finally we talked about how to use the result obtained to do budgeting (Activity Based Budgeting), and to improve his marketing politics (pricing, promotions organizations, commercial bargain with customers, etc.).

My memory is like a departure for me, because I am seriously interested by research in financial inclusion, especially on business management side. Special thanks to DAAD that permit me to follow my passion even far away from my native country (Cameroun).

Alumni SA-GER CDR: My Experience as a MILEAD 2015 Fellow

Chifundo Patience Chilera, MADM graduate and South African-German Centre for Development Research (SA-GER CDR) scholarship holder from Malawi from the 2012-2014 intake, has been selected as a fellow of one of Africa’s most influential young women leadership initiatives. She shares her experience of being a fellow of such a distinguished group.

In May 2015, the Moremi Initiative for Women Leadership In Africa named me as one of 26 Most Outstanding Emerging Young Women Leaders in Africa and by virtue, I was awarded the 2015 Moremi Initiative for Leadership Empowerment And Development (MILEAD) Fellowship to attend the Leadership Institute hosted at the University of Ghana.

Leadership Institute event

The Leadership Institute was an event that lasted three weeks. Every day, we were visited by distinguished speakers. We got to hear and learn from accomplished entrepreneurs, ranging from software developers to management consultants to social entrepreneurs; and from distinguished professors, leaders in the third sector, the corporate sector, and government officials. We also met with some of Ghana’s finest young professionals and even the boxing legend, Azumah Nelson, who is considered Africa’s greatest boxers of all time, came to spend some time with us. We had a crash course on what seemed to be everything: feminist theories, African history, photography, writing, organisational development, politics, personal motivation, public speaking, business management, civic leadership, environment, public health, fundraising, even Pilates. There were field visits to the World Bank Office and the Africa Women Development Fund headquarters in Ghana. There were also excursions to the historical Cape Coast and we got to tour the Kakum National Park, which is covered in the tropical rainforest and has a canopy walkway that is 350 meters long- I dare you to try this.

The Community of Fellows

Despite the many accomplished speakers and mentors we had, the true richness of being a MILEAD Fellow lies in being part of the community of Fellows. I have learned so much more from the 25 other Fellows I spent the time with in Ghana and continue to benefit from belonging to the wider community of about 200 Fellows from 7 cohorts, representing 44 countries.
MILEAD Experience Gruppenfotos
MILEAD class of 2015 (photo: private).

My peers in the class of 2015 were truly outstanding. Some were founders of initiatives that are making strides in leading community development and promoting the lives of women and girls. For example, one of the Fellows is an award winning young woman, who was born HIV positive and now runs an organisation called The Innocent League Uganda, raising awareness about the disease and provides counselling to young people. Another is a 13-time award-winning philanthropist who runs her own charity that sponsors the education of about 500 children from disadvantaged backgrounds in Zambia. Another is a local government councillor who also runs a non-profit organization supporting women and girls in her ward in Ghana. There was another woman from Malawi, who now runs a centre that provides physiotherapy and social support to women with children that suffer from cerebral palsy. Others were outstanding scholars from leading universities across the world, pursuing undergraduate, graduate, and even doctorate studies in fields such as architecture, actuarial sciences, law, and medicine, and young professionals in the corporate sector, government and non-profit sectors.
Each one of us was at a different phase of our personal progress. While some Fellows were just starting out, some had already established their organisations from as young as 16 years of age and had made strides in their careers. And while some of us were focused on policy at the international or national levels, the work of some Fellows was community-based. We came from all over Africa and the diaspora. There were not enough dinner time conversations to allow us to tap into the depths of the wealth of experiences and passion and ambition that made the Class of 2015. I was literally overwhelmed every day, basking in such greatness.

Representing group at UN Dialogue

During my time in Ghana, I also had the opportunity to represent my year group of the UN Women Africa Rising Gender Equality Dialogue on Ending Child Marriage through Young Women’s Leadership & Activism. It was a privilege to be among the contributors to the dialogue, including Nyaradzyi Gumbonzvanda (African Union Goodwill Ambassador for Campaign to End Child Marriage), Nana Oye Lithur (Minister of Women, Children & Social Protection of Ghana), Diana Ofwona (UN Women West and Central Africa Regional Director), and Mawuli Dake (African Human Rights Advocate and also the co-founder of the Moremi Initiative).

Not like any other leadership programme

Taken at face-value, the MILEAD Fellowship programme may appear to be just like any other leadership programme for African Women. It is not.

The MILEAD Fellowship is more than the three weeks spent at the Leadership Institute. In the year following the award, Fellows design and are expected to deliver a community change project, branded as MiChange Projects. Some projects have been about introducing innovative ways to deliver the Fellow’s already existing projects. Other projects have been new establishments in response to the needs in the Fellow’s community. There have been over one hundred new MiChange projects that have been initiated, most of which have evolved and are still ongoing projects. In 2013, two Michange projects were listed for the World Youth Summit Awards, and one of which won the award. My MiChange project is called MiStory. My goal is to document and profile the stories and projects of MILEAD Fellows through a series of blogs and social media, with the ain of creating a peer-to-peer sharing hub for knowledge and experience of young people leading change. Ultimately, I hope to compile a coffee table book that will showcase the cadre of youthful women leadership that Africa has – a selection of whom have been mobilised and mentored through the MILEAD Fellowship.

On-going commitment and new opportunities

The MILEAD Fellowship is not a one-off moment that passes with time. There is seemingly no end to being a MILEAD Fellow, with a constant stream of open opportunities. Recently, through the Moremi Initiative, I was invited to speak at the United Nations 60th Session of the Commission for the Status of Women (CSW) as one of the MILEAD Fellows, at the UN Headquarters in New York. CSW, a functional commission of the Economic and Social Council, is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. I spoke at the session: “Enhancing Young Women’s Voices for Women’s Empowerment and Sustainable Development: A Multi-generational Dialogue with Emerging African Women Leaders”, which was co-hosted by the Government of Ghana, and the Moremi Initiative to an audience of over 300 people. I, like the other Fellows on the panel, engaged the audience in a discussion about strategies for promoting women’s right and equality, led by young women based on our experiences. We were also exclusively invited to be part of the Africa Women Development Fund Gala, where we met and were mentored by a group of African Women that have financed women-led initiatives in Africa by providing over 20 million USD in grants over the last 10 years.
Being a MILEAD Fellow opens many doors. There are Fellows who have been part of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community, and some make it to spaces such as UN Advisory Groups.
There is not a single thing that sums up the making of a leader; but for me, the MILEAD Fellowship has been one of the most impactful opportunities ever granted me, a gift that keeps on giving. I belong to a community of young women who understand that the power to lead is the commitment to serve. And serve we do.

by Chifundo Patience Chilera

A picture shows the truth – a film shows 24 pictures per second

sound mixing zazudesign Sound mixing for the video of the Congolese-German Centre for Microfinance at the zazudesign postproduction suite

This quote of the French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard is, seen from a scientific background, everything else but the truth!

Since Immanuel Kant we know, that apperception is a function of our brain and to recognize the world, as it is “in-itself” is beyond our excellence. With the Austrian epistemologist Paul Feyerabend we could now shout out loud: Anything goes and there is no universal methodological rule! Karl Popper, another Austrian grumbler, would immediately jump in front of the camera, insisting: Yes, anything goes, just start with an arbitrary theory, but then my friend, you must do your homework and falsify with hard scientific proof, what looked in the beginning so nice and easy and felt like the final wisdom. Theodor W. Adorno climbs the stage, followed by his Frankfurt gang of brooders, and puts himself into the spotlight: Your whole perception of this film is blurred by the evil influence of the psycho-social-agencies in their totality, which are – you may not feel it by yourself – much stronger then your individual uniqueness. So if you are looking, maybe not for truth but for a better world – just change the institutions that formed you and with you your film. So what about the film? It will never be finished, if I have to wait for the institutions to change. Voices are raised, arguments hit the ceiling, ending in a positivism-dispute between Karl Popper and Theodor W. Adorno about what to do: fighting the total concept and ideology, that formed the film and the recipient, or as Popper would suggest: going picture by picture, frame by frame and looking for some truth by finding the lies in each image.

Making an image video for a Centre of Excellence always starts with a Paul Feyerabend feeling: Yes, anything goes! The imagination spreads its wings and creates a bright and colourful film idea, filled with humble truth and well-intentioned purpose.
In the preparation process Adorno starts creeping into the room and stands there with a bright smile on his face, as he observes my struggle with permissions, custom regulations, plane luggage limitations and all kind of organisational challenges, availabilities, not to talk about time and money limitations. It is not just the psycho-social-agencies, but as well the organisational agencies, beginning to form what – without having even started – will be possible. During filming I fight each moment with the spell of Immanuel Kant to find something – if not in general but at least for my own personal perception – that looks like it could be a unique moment – captured by the camera – of a little fragment of the “it is in-itself”.
Coming home with two hours of film footage for each Centre, the sorting and structuring process of the images seems interestingly to develop an underlying structure by itself. It is still chaos, but one could see the waves rolling on the ocean. The waves what you see,  Adorno would reply, is the casting mould that was formed by the psycho-social-agencies and is now perceived as structure that individuals in a definite social-time-frame only could agree on. As I look up to my bookshelf Douglas R. Hofstadter is whispering: Yes, inside a system the system mostly makes sense, but don’t forget, there is a world outside your system. So editing, not only for a European but also for an African audience – that was probably formed by a different casting mould – needs a good amount of questioning my own assessment and perception.

The next step after the sorting process is to find the best statements of each interview partner. Here it is important to hear, what the members of the Centre qualify as a good and important statement, hoping that a deeper insight and a higher quantity of reviewers pushes objectivity and therefor the overall quality.

After that stage I have to choose part of statements that fit into the five minutes timeframe of the final video. The statements need a clear starting point and an on the spot end point and in most cases they have to offer the possibility to cut out breathing spaces and slips of tongue. In this stage it is interesting to see that I loose more and more the absolute control of the editing and the system and structure creates its own demands. When the first statement is in the edit the other statements base and relate to it. Is everything said about the structure of the Centre, for the rest of the participants this topic is out of question and I have to look for statements about visions and growth of the Centre. So, if in any case, what felt for you was your best moment in front of the camera, or even your whole interview in itself, is not in the final film, don’t blame me, it’s the system. It’s the fault of Adorno, Marcuse and even Walter Benjamin, who put the structures over the good intentions of the individual.

Yes Mr. Adorno, we learned our rules and act accordingly, putting good beans in one pot and the so called bad ones in the other, while Pavlov’s dog is standing on his box, drooling saliva on the polished floor of our scientific lab. What can we do, it’s not punk and our audience doesn’t expect some Dada poems, so we flow with the rivers flow, longing for an ocean of applause.

By the time the selected interview parts are put together, the gear-wheels of arguments mesh with a pleasant sound, but the car that drives us all the way to glory shines only in its greyish mechanical beauty. To make it worse – in contrast to what a scientist would call, the desire to show the objective truth – we add some music. Now the film drifts even more in the misty world of subjectivity. Sigmund Freud would have his pleasure, it’s time to feature the unconscious mind, the secret world of hidden dreams.

It seems, that we are far away of showing the truth, not in one picture and not at all in 24 pictures per second. But: “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”, the painter René Magritte would reply. This is not the thing itself. A picture of something should not be confused with the object it is showing. And art, if it hits the spot, is capable of beeing more then the sum of the little light spots illuminating a computer monitor.


So in the end I hope that, beyond all subjectivity, there is some truth in every picture and the final film – even if it’s only inside the psycho-social-agencies that cover the world of our expected audience.


zazudesign postproduction – Video editing with FinalCut Pro X for the Ghanaian-German Centre for Development Studies


color matching Kenya
zazudesign postproduction – Color matching with DaVinci Resolve Professional for the East and South African-German Centre for Educational Research


Author: Thomas Hezel