DIGI-FACE Kick-Off Meeting: A Move Towards Digital Ecosystems

*Version française de l’article*

A ‘Kick-Off’ Meeting was held from the 3rd to the 6th of March in South Africa to launch the innovative “Digital Initiative for African Centres of Excellence” project (DIGI-FACE). This event, which brought together pedagogical, media and technical experts from DAAD’s African-German Centres of Excellence, was jointly organised by the University of Applied Sciences Kehl (lead agent) in cooperation with one of its DIGI-FACE consortium partners, namely Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

DIGI-FACE is funded by the DAAD with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office. The project aims at supporting and improving the digital skills of all members and alumni of DAAD’s African Centres of Excellence and its network via the development of e- and blended learning modules and digital tools. The participants at the Kick-Off Meeting comprised 60 delegates drawn from Centres located in South Africa, Niger, Senegal, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Congo, Mali, Namibia and Germany.

Key ideas shared

Professor Cheryl Foxcroft, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Learning and Teaching at Nelson Mandela University, officially opened the meeting. She emphasised the need for all universities to prepare for student learning in digital spaces. Prof Ewald Eisenberg (University of Kehl), Prof Bernd Siebenhuener (Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg), Junes Arfaoui (Frankfurt School of Finance & Management) and Prof Paul Webb (Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth) outlined the structure, objectives and activities of the DIGI-FACE project.

Inspiring presentations and inputs from lecturers and experts with great experience in implementing professional e-learning formats on digital platforms stimulated the participants’ expectations. Prof Michael Samuel, the moderator of the event from University of KwaZulu Natal, gave a mind-expanding presentation on collaborative approaches to capacity development and digitalisation through constructive disruption.

Dr Dorothee Weyler, the DAAD programme manager of the African Excellence programme, explained the background of the project from the DAAD perspective. She noted that the DIGI-FACE programme was created to help achieve the overall goals of the African Excellence Programme more efficiently and effectively. These goals include improved teaching and learning and the creation of a better research environment for greater impact via digitalisation. She pointed out that DAAD’s interest goes far beyond the platform that is going to be established. The project has great potential to open its content and outcomes to other users, learners, researchers and projects beyond the African Excellence programme. Consequently, the DIGI-FACE project is a pilot example to show what is possible when using digital components to produce (open) short courses that will be useful for other university staff and students across Africa, beyond this project.

Alexander Knoth, Senior Expert for Digitalisation at DAAD emphasised that DAAD wants to avoid “digital islands” and instead supports the creation of digital ecosystems that bring together different skills, knowledge and experience. The aim is to give students the opportunity to get to know different cultures and languages via intercultural communication, not only through international mobility, but also through “virtual mobility”.

Prof Johan van Niekerk from the Noroff School of Technology and Digital Media in Norway gave insights and perspectives from an online focused university. He pointed out that a professional production team is not absolutely necessary for the production of technology-supported learning content. He noted however, that there is still a great need for human resources to produce appropriate content. Mike Swanepoel, who leads digital transformation at Nelson Mandela University, encouraged the delegates to address current challenges and accelerate curriculum and classroom design in the future based on mobile and digital learning technology. He emphasised that educators need new skills if digital transformation is to succeed and stressed that transformation is not only about digital technologies, but also about people and their mind-sets. Both Johan van Niekerk and Mike Swanepoel emphasised that the main challenge is to produce content in a way that the material has added value and a relevant benefit for the end user. Simply filming normal teaching activities does not make for a successful online-course – a clear script and concept that provides for meaningful online activities, support and assessment is vital.

Hands-on activities and practical sessions

Following the presentations, hands-on activities and practical sessions enabled the delegates to experience how digital content can and should be developed in an exemplary manner. They developed scripts, short videos and quizzes for an online course in small groups and, with the use of a Padcaster and sequencing tools, they discovered that producing e-learning material is not that complicated. These activities included pedagogical inputs and advice, which allowed the participants to reflect on how to use which tool and scenario to prepare and produce e-learning modules and materials in a worthwhile and proper way.

After the practical sessions, the delegates discussed their own visions and action steps, the challenges and responsibilities of digitalisation, and how DIGI-FACE and digital transformation can be implemented in the Centres and throughout the African Excellence network. Delegates from each Centre reflected together on the profile, skills and needs of their target group in order to identify centre-specific approaches. Upon having outlined the different responsibilities at each Centre for this project, they will report to their universities and create teams that will contribute to DIGI-FACE.

Project leaders and coordinators, pedagogical experts, multi-media and ICT heads of the Centres, as well as representatives of the Alumni association, worked in transdisciplinary and transnational groups. They pooled their experiences and needs to define how the project could contribute significantly towards improving higher education and research activities both within each Centre and between the African-German Centres of Excellence. The heterogeneous nature of the groups ensured that meaningful ideas and fruitful ideas on how to enhance cooperation, build networks and provide opportunities for exchanges via digital solutions.

The Centres welcomed the project’s activities and recognised many positive points and benefits. They believe that DIGI-FACE will enable the Centres to reach more students and a broader public, facilitate cross-national cooperation, enhance the skills of lecturers, staff, alumni and students and will strengthen network activities. The delegates were highly motivated in terms of contributing to the project. They indicated their willingness to integrate existing courses as e-learning material into the platform and look forward with curiosity to the announcement of training courses.

Planning for project sustainability

Following presentations on the results of the group work session, the consortium representatives from the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, Nilly Chingaté Castaño and Junes Arfaoui, sketched out ideas and the basis for the project’s activities for developing a business plan. They pointed out the imperative of implementation of DIGI-FACE in a sustainable way in order to cover the costs of operating the platform, investing in innovation and developing content by the Centres beyond the funding period.

To this end, the delegates met in groups independently of their Centre affiliation to work in-depth on various topics of the project, including digital content and skills, training and the production of generic courses, as well as how to create a specific sustainable business plan for the project. They also discussed aspects of the successful management of the project and the necessary digital infrastructure.

The final kick

During the closing session of the Kick-Off Meeting, Dr Weyler presented the upcoming DAAD “African-German Network for Research, Innovation and Knowledge Transfer” (AGRIT) programme to the delegates. This programme aims at enhancing the research capacities of the African Excellence Programme and generating synergies together with the activities and digital tools of DIGI-FACE. After a short introduction by Dr Weyler, the delegates discussed in groups how this programme could be integrated into the African Excellence programme and DIGI-FACE.

The motivated involvement of the delegates and inspiring inputs resulted in better understandings by all of the architecture of the DIGI-FACE project, and an appreciation that the development of the project is a co-determined process involving all of the African-German Centres of Excellence.

After the official closure of the Kick-Off Meeting, everyone enjoyed a joint dinner together and a pleasant excursion on the following day – both which strengthened personal relationships and enabled fruitful informal exchanges.


Workshops on developing digital and online competencies will be held in East- and West-Africa during 2020. These workshops will include project leaders, academic leaders and multimedia- and ICT staff of the Centres. The format of these workshops depends on national and international travel restrictions and health advisories.



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


Education Research for Social Change: publication

Dear Colleagues

The Editors are pleased to announce the online publication of the tenth issue, Vol. 6 No. 1 April 2017 of the Journal ‘Education Research for Social Change’.

The theme is ‘Africanizing educational research and practice’ and the guest editor is CERM-ESA’s project leader at NMMU, Paul Webb. CERM-ESA has contributed several papers, amongst them a project report that gives you insights on how we work and how CERM-ESA contributes to Africanisation, engagement and social change. Here is the link to the tenth issue:

And here is the link directly to the CERM-ESA Project Report:

Educational Research for Social Change is an international peer-reviewed journal established in 2012 (an initiative of the Faculty of Education, NMMU) and received DoHET accreditation in January 2016. ERSC is also included in the IBSS from February 2016.

See or

Please read and enjoy!

Report on the Launch of the edited book ‘The African Criminal Court: A Commentary on the Malabo Protocol’

On 28 February 2017, the South African-German Centre for Transnational Criminal Justice (‘Centre’) launched the book: ‘The African Criminal Court: A Commentary on the Malabo Protocol edited by Professor Gerhard Werle and Dr. Moritz Vormbaum. The keynote lecture was held by Professor Dire Tladi, University of Pretoria, one of the contributing writers in the book, at the Law Faculty, University of the Western Cape. The book is volume 10 of the International Criminal Justice Series published by TMC Asser Press. The launch was attended by several guests including the Dean of the Law Faculty of the University of the Western Cape, the Directors of the Centre, Professors from the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch, LLM and PhD students of the Centre and staff of the Law Faculty.

The history of the book dates back to 2011 when a student of the LLM programme wrote a thesis on the idea of establishing an African Criminal Court. In 2014 when the African Union, adopted the Malabo Protocol, which aims to empower the African Court of Justice and Humans Rights with jurisdiction over international crimes, the Centre thought to comment on it, which culminated into the Berlin summer school symposium in 2015 that hosted presentations which form content of the book. The approach of the book is to avoid a ‘friend or foe approach’ to the Malabo Protocol, it looks into the actual content of the Protocol, it analyses, among others, the definition of crimes and the controversial immunity clause as well as the proposed Court’s relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC). The book also includes annexures of materials related to the African Criminal Court.

Key Note Address by Professor Dire Tladi

Following the brief introductory remarks on the African Criminal Court by the Director of the Centre, Professor Werle, and a short introduction of the keynote speaker by Co-ordinator of the Centre Dr. Vormbaum, Prof Tladi started his address by commenting on recent and unfolding events around international criminal justice. Tladi framed his lecture on three issues of particular interest in debates on Africa and the ICC from a South African context. These include the alleged ICC bias against African States, immunities under international law as well as the constitutional law impasse on whether or not South Africa needs a parliamentary approval to leave the ICC. All other questions that arise in the context of the Africa v ICC debate according to Tladi fall essentially within these three subjects.


According to Tladi, the claim that the AU is biased is often based on statistics. The contention is that one has only to look at the nine situations before the ICC to make a determination on whom it targets. Those who support the ICC counter this claim also by referring to statistics. The argument here is that most of these situations are self-referrals, thus claims of bias against African States are unfounded. The ICC, in fact,  claims that in other situations in which it is expected to act, the court does not have jurisdiction. Tladi argued that both positions are problematic. In the former argument, he noted that anti-ICC rhetoric in Africa arose after 2008 even though earlier than 2008 all situations before the ICC were from Africa. This gives rise to speculation that perhaps this is a dress up reason for the discontent with the ICC. According to Tladi, the latter argument does not stand either because it is not true that the ICC does not have jurisdiction in situations in which it would otherwise wish to act. Situations in Afghanistan or in Palestine were examples of these. However, the ICC had only taken extremely long drawn preliminary investigations, which were yet to be concluded in both situations. Thus Tladi argued that the claim of bias was actually an issue of power politics rather than skewed numbers. The AU would like to see the ICC go after powerful hegemonies, examples are the US and its allies. However, Tladi noted that while the ICC might desire to prosecute nationals of these countries, it is an overtly difficult political issue.

Immunities under International Law

The ICC has had occasion to deliberate over a number of cases on the failure to arrest President Omar Hassan Ahmed Al Bashir. South African domestic courts have two decisions on the issue. Of the total courts involved, only one court was correct on its interpretation of international law according to Tladi. The approach in both those cases basically has two strands. The first aspect emanate from the Malawi and Chad strand when they found themselves in the position South Africa found itself, with Al-Bashir in their territory and them failing to arrest him. The ICC found that both countries had the obligation to arrest him under Article 27 of the Rome Statute because there was no immunity before the ICC. The problem with this reasoning according to Tladi is that Article 27 speaks about immunity before the ICC, not immunity before the Malawian authorities. The Court he argued, had essentially merged these two issues and concluded that because Al-Bashir does not have immunity before the ICC, he lacked the same under Malawian law. The ICC completely ignored the fact that the Rome Statute itself recognises the possibility of immunity under customary international law and essentially provides that the court should not request cooperation if it would violate international law.

The ICC again had occasion to settle the same issues in the Democratic Republic of Congo (‘DRC’) case, needless to say, it came to the same conclusion; i.e., it decided that the DRC was in violation of its cooperation obligations in failing to arrest Al Bashir while he was in that country. However, in the DRC case, the Court essentially reversed itself completely and found that in fact, as a general point of departure, a head of state of a non-party state would ordinarily enjoy immunity under the Rome Statute. However, this is dubious because under the Rome Statute any accused does not have immunity before the ICC, thus this decision also was misguided according to Tladi. The question then was whether there is a legal duty for third states to arrest Al Bashir. Here, the Court decided that even though Bashir ordinarily would have had immunity before the ICC, he could not enjoy immunity in casu because his arrest arose in the context of the UNSC referral and because Sudan had a duty to cooperate. However, the UNSC resolution on Sudan does not reflect this position according to Tladi. Interestingly, even though the ICC came to the same conclusions on the facts in the Malawi and Chad cases as well as in the DRC case, the reasoning in both is inconsistent, in fact exclusively.

The High Court in Pretoria, in turn, rendered an even more problematic decision on 23rd June 2015 in that its reasoning merged the problems in all the other cases. However, Tladi opined, the Supreme Court of South Africa had come to a right conclusion as far as the interpretation of international law was concerned. It found that there was an international law duty not to arrest Al Bashir. Its point of departure, however, was that this did not matter because the South African domestic law required his arrest. Tladi then concluded that in his opinion there was no duty under international law for South Africa to arrest Al Bashir. It is important to note that there will always be a conflict of obligations as soon as Al Bashir lands in an ICC member state and these are some of the impasses that are inherent in international law.

Constitutional Law and Parliamentary Approval

On the question whether or not South Africa can withdraw from the ICC without the approval of the South African parliament, Tladi opined that it makes little sense that the South African government did not seek parliamentary approval to leave the ICC simply because it would not be difficult to get such approval. The argument essentially in the case was that since parliament approved ratification of the Rome Statute, it should approve cancellation of the same. However, Tladi argued that this does not necessarily have to be the position. He was of the opinion that parliamentary approval for leaving the ICC was not necessary because approval did not imply that parliament obliged the executive to become part of the treaty. Parliamentary approval merely gave permission to exercise a choice to become part thereof. Thus it would not make logical sense that the executive seek approval of parliament to leave the ICC.

It is worth noting that, on 7 March 2016, the South African government had revoked its withdrawal notice from the ICC.

Status Quo

There will be a hearing in The Hague on the 7th April 2017 on whether or not South Africa violated its obligations in its failure to arrest Bashir. Tladi preempted that the ICC would come to the same conclusion as it had consistently done in all Bashir matters. Secondly, he communicated that the South African government was contemplating on whether or not to appeal the decision of the Pretoria High Court. However, if this contemplation was based on legal considerations only, Tladi recommended that this would not be an ideal solution. On the other hand, if the government does not appeal, it means that the order of the court will be executed. Parliament will likely pass approval of the process to leave before the Supreme Court gets the opportunity to deliberate on an appeal. It thus seems futile to launch an appeal.

Tladi’s address ended with a question and answer session in which he emphasised that the problems within the ICC are not new, they are problems inherent in international institutions like the United Nations. However, this does not necessarily imply that the remedial action is to leave these institutions but rather to work out these problems within the institution itself.


Written by Thato Toeba

Visit of Kenyan Delegation of Government Representatives

From 17th to 21st October 2016, a delectation of representatives from the government of the Republic of Kenya visited Germany. The Cabinet Secretary for Mining, Hon Dan Kazungu, led the delegation. Members of the delegation were Mr. Raymond Mutiso – Ag. Director Mines, Mr. Stephen Mwakesi – Advisor to the Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Charles Obiero Afullo, Senior Deputy Director of Education, Ministry of Education, Prof. Hamadi Iddi Boga, Principal, Taita Taveta University, Ms. Helen Rosa, Second Counsellor, Kenya Embassy in Berlin.

Day 1 – 17 October 2016 – Berlin

Visit of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)



Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ) (from left Dr Benjamin Laag, Hon Dan Kazungu, Stephen Mwakesi, Charles Obiero Afullo, Prof. Hamadi Boga)

The first day began with a meeting before the arrival of the Kenya delegation with Mr. Günter Nooke, German Chancellor‘s Personal Representative for Africa, Dr Sören Dengg, head of Division Energy; infrastructure; raw materials at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Dr Benjamin Laag, Senior Policy Officer of Division Energy, Infrastructure and Raw Materials at BMZ, and Mr. Zimmermann, head of the DAAD office in Berlin. Prof. Feistel gave an introduction into the CEMEREM project. Mr. Nooke introduced Germany’s current Africa policy.

Dr Benjamin Laag presided the meeting on behalf Dr Nooke, Cabinet Secretary for Mining, Hon Dan Kazungu introduced the mining industry in Kenya, stating that the mining sector in Kenya is in an early stage of development with a contribution of mining and minerals to GDP of less than 1% to the GDP. He reported on the Kenyan government’s new strategy to increase that share to 10% by 2030. As a first step, a new Mining Act, replacing the pre-independence Mining Act of 1940 was adopted in May 2016. Its overall purpose are to give guidelines of the mining sector and facilitate for foreign investment. The Act regulates land policy, public land, land and property use, and environmental protection. It also has regulations on artisanal mining. An important element covers the shares of royalties with 70% accruing to the national government, 20% to county governments and 10% to local communities. Currently, the Mining Ministry is conducting an aerial geophysical survey project to map out the country’s mineral resources digitally. This project is monitored by a new national steering committee consisting of Kenyan cabinet secretaries, skilled geologists and technical experts.

Visit of the BDI-The Voice of German Industry


BDI Building Berlin (from left: Helen Rosa, Raymond Mutiso, Katharina Loy, Jakob Ebermann,  Hon Dan Kazungu, Prof. Ulrike Feistel, Dr Jiangxue Liu, Henry von Klencke, Prof. Hamadi Boga, Charles Obiero Afullo, Stephen Mwakesi)

The delegation was received by Mr. Henry von Klencke and Ms. Katharina Loy, Senior Managers at the department for Security and Raw Materials of BDI. Mr. von Klencke gave a presentation about the structure and activities of BDI and its current policy issues concerning raw materials. Ms. Loy, who happened to have returned a mission to Kenya explained BDI’s strategy and activities in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. BDI is monitoring and contributing to the German Government’s Africa policy with advice and support for the purpose of the promotion of an attractive and sustainable investment climate in African countries. BDI has set up its own catalogue of activities towards strengthening German business in Africa. As a member of the Sub-Saharan Africa Initiative of German Business (SAFRI), BDI draws attention to opportunities available to German industry. Ms. Loy also mentioned the second German-African Business Summit (GABS) to be held in Nairobi from 9th to 11th February 2017. GABS will focus on Africa’s economic potential and future trends in African-German cooperation.

Meeting with Frank Heinrich MdB and Veronika Bellmann MdB at the Bundestag


Bundestag, (from left Hon Dan Kazungu, Frank Heinrich, Veronika Bellmann, Prof. Hamadi Boga)

Day 2 – 18 October 2016 – Berlin

Visit of the German Federation of International Mining and Mineral Resources (FAB)


At the German Federation of International Mining and Mineral Resources (from left: Helen Rosa, Raymond Mutiso, Charles Obiero Afullo, Prof. Hamadi Boga, Dr Martin Wedig, Hon Dan Kazungu, Prof. Thomas Grischek, Jakob Ebermann)

On the second day, the delegation met Dr Martin Wedig, director of the German Federation of International Mining and Mineral Resources (FAB). Dr Wedig explained that FAB is a federation of more than 70 German member companies with activities in international mining and related activities. FAB offers a platform for exchange of information on mining activities and as consultant for member companies to find partners abroad. He pointed out that Africa’s countries are rich in natural resources, in particular in critical minerals, which are important sectors of Germany’s economy. He also mentioned the challenges for investor in African countries due to intransparencies in policy and legislation and insufficient infrastructure, including energy security. Hon. Kazungu presented the new Mining Act and the new mining strategy and the status of development of infrastructure in Kenya. He promised the encouragement of his government for investments in mining.

Visit of the DAAD Office in Berlin


At DAAD Wissenschaftsforum, (from left: Stephen Mwakesi, Helen Rosa, Daniel Zimmermann, Dr Dorothee Weyler)

After welcome words by Daniel Zimmermann, head of the DAAD office in Berlin, Dr Weyler, head of Fachzentren Afrika of DAAD, gave a presentation on DAAD’s activities in Africa with focus on postgraduate and alumni programs. Prof. Boga reported on the status and current achievements of the CEMEREM project since its start in April 2016. He highlighted bilateral exchanges of staff and students, the delivery of laboratory equipment to Kenya and the review of curricula. He announced the inauguration of the CEMEREM building in April 2017 and invited DAAD representatives to the opening ceremony. Together with Charles Obiero Afullo, Senior Deputy Director of Education, Prof. Boga explained introduced higher education and research polices in Kenya.

Day 3 – 19 October 2016 – Welzow


At open pit mine in Welzow, (from left: Charles Obiero Afullo, Raymond Mutiso, Prof. Hamadi Boga, Hon Dan Kazungu, Marco Drechsler).

On the third day the delegation visited the open lignite mine in Welzow-Süd guided by Marco Drechsler, Mining engineer of Vattenfall and the rehabilitation project guided by Thomas Neumann, Landscape engineer of Vattenfall.

Day 4 – 20 October 2016 – Dresden

Visit of the University of Applied Sciences (HTWD) and the Ministry of Science and Education (SMWK)


At University of Applied Sciences Dresden (first row from left Stephen Mwakesi, Prof. Ulrike Feistel, Hon Dan Kazungu, Prof. Ronald Stenzel, Prof. Hamadi Boga; second row from left Jakob Ebermann, Charles Obiero Afullo, Raymond Mutiso, Faith Tumwet)

The focus of the visits to HTW Dresden and SMWK was on education and the involvement of partners from industry and consultancy in university education and research. HTWD Rector Prof. Ronald Stenzel gave an overview on practice-oriented education at HTWD and current research activities. Prof. Ulrike Feistel used the example of collaboration among three partners, Vattenfall, Ingenieurbüro Wasser und Boden Dr Uhlmann (IWB Dresden) and HTWD to illustrate benefits of such collaborative work for all three partners and, above all, for students. Another example of collaborative research funded by SMWK was presented by Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Fabian Musche. These presentations triggered an intensive discussion within the Kenyan delegation and Hon Dan Kazungu urged that universities have a prominent role to play in assisting problems in industry, specifically in the mining sector. In conclusion, Stephen Mwakesi suggested a number of follow-up actions. Prof. Boga proposed to open up dialogues on such issues with relevant stakeholders and TTU staff.

Prof. Jörg Feller, Head of the division of Inorganic Chemistry, accompanied the delegation to the SMWK. Dr Kühme, Head of Division responsible for Universities at SMWK, presented the structure and the political functions and responsibilities the Ministry and its specific role in funding universities. Dr Zimmermann, Head of Division of Research at SMWK, explained research funding in Saxony in more detail for further discussion.

Day 5 – 21 October 2016 – Freiberg

Visit of the TU Bergakademie Freiberg


At TU BAF, Lampadius-Klause room (from left: Gloria Auma Njagah, Prof. Hamadie Boga, Dr. Jiangxue Liu, Jakob Ebermann, Prof. Mischo, Charles Obiero Afullo, Mr. Hon Dan Kazungu, Prof Reinhardt Nindel, Ms. Sylvia Morgenstern, Dr Wolfgang Reimer, Dr Andreas Barth, Ms. Katharina Rosin, Mr. Raymond Mutiso, Mr. Stephen Mwakesi, Prof. Reuter Markus)

The first visit took place at Research Institute of Mineral Processing in UVR-FIA GmbH guided by Prof. J. Schoenherr and Dr Morgenroth. This is a private Institute with official affiliations to TU Berrgakademie Freiberg.

The second meeting took place at TU Bergakademie Freiberg. Prof. Mischo, director of Institute of Underground Mining received the delegation. Also present were Prof. Markus Reuter, vice director of Helmholtz Institute Freiberg, Dr Wolfgang Reimer, Manager of Geokompetenzzentrum Freiberg e.V. (GKZ), Dr Andreas Barth, CEO of beak Consultants GmbH, Sylvia Morgenstern of Geotechnical, Environment and Civil Engineering Ltd (G.U.B. Ingenieur AG) and Prof. Dr Reinhardt Nindel, Chairman of the supervisory board of ibes AG.

Hon Kazungu presented the mining sector in Kenya and his willingness to expand co-operation with German Universities and German companies.

All participants gave presentations of their organisations and their activities related to mining in Africa. The meeting an exchange of ideas and proposals on future co-operation opportunities.

After the meeting, the delegation visited the Institute of Underground Mining Institute and the underground mine at Reiche Zeche.

The Freiberg visit was concluded by a complimentary meeting with Prof. Broder J. Merkel, Prorektor who gave an overview of TU Bergakademie Freiberg. On behalf of the delegation, Hon. Kazungu reported on the visit in Germany, highlighting the interesting opportunities for further co-operation between Kenya and Germany.

Other Activities

In addition to the technical meetings and excursion the delegation had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Dresden where they went on an evening tour around the historic town. In Freiberg the delegation was shown around the old mining town. A visit to the exhibition Terra Mineralia crowned the day. Some time for sightseeing in Berlin had been set apart at the end of the visit.

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.

New Research Seminars launched

photo: Dorothee Weyler

The Namibian-German Centre for Logistics (NGCL) just launched a seminar research series that is designed to discuss research ideas towards creating new knowledge and tools of long-term interest to the transport and logistics community in practice. This project will be a regular component in the NGCL calendar and it started out with already two successful seminars.

Dr. Kenneth Odero hosted the first seminar on „The State of Logistics in Namibia: A Book Project Proposal“ which illustrated the actual situation in Namibia and why this situation needs to change and how to do it.

The second seminar was held by Prof. Dr. Schmidt who made a provoking presentation on „Logistic Analytics: From Traditional Reports to Big Data“ which addressed the fact that, due to the growing use of mobile business intelligence, the changing processes of decision-making in electronic form and the use of rapid technologies and applications, the traditional reporting needs to alter in order to keep up with the changes. While the traditional reporting was based on data storage and analysis at the operational level for which multidimensional and visual methods were used, the so-called big data (such as high-value and high-velocity) and the high-volumes (such as terabytes and megabytes) are asking for new forms of processing in order to enable enhanced decision-making and insight discovery.

These research seminar series is being held at least once a month and it is open to the public.