Friday, 20 July 2018

DARN Report: Is South Africa's Future Expropriated?

The following is a report of the talk given by Mr. Corrigan for DARN at the University of Dundee.

Swiftly building on the resounding success of the last talk in March 2018 on Cranofacial Research in Africa, and in line with the core ideals of DARN, Terence Corrigan delivered a pulsating talk on the current developments in land distribution issues in South Africa, on Thursday 12thJuly 2018.  Mr Corrigan is a Project Manager in the South African Institute of Race Relations. He is also a Research Fellow at the South African Institute of International Affairs.
In December 2017, the South African Parliament instituted a new policy - Expropriation Without Compensation (EWC) - to govern the distribution of land in South Africa. “Is South Africa’s Future Expropriated” sought to unpack the key issues and highlight the economic and socio-political implications of this policy in South Africa.
The speaker highlighted the progress of land reform in South Africa as slow, disappointing and characterised by unsuitable project designs, budgetary lethargy and post-settlement support. However, the policy of EWC, which is couched in the language of land reform, is a contextualized and realistic land reform policy grounded on rigorous research taking cognisance of the economic realities in South Africa. It was particularly interesting that no useful details have been offered by the policy makers on the potential of EWC to expedite land reforms. This is especially so considering the uncertainty surrounding EWC to create an atmosphere of insecurity for local and foreign businesses at a time when South Africa’s unemployment rate recently reached record highs. With these developments highlighted by talk, the future of land reform inSouth Africa is definitely one to look forward to.
The issues addressed in the talk, coupled with the positive feedback from attendees from varied academic and professional backgrounds, culminated in a rich discussion that will be remembered for a long time to come. Networking opportunities were impressively exploited, as it is one of the foundational goals of DARN. It is our hope that such opportunities for networking will continue to be keyed into. We heartily appreciate Terence Corrigan for giving this timely talk, and we hope this is one of many to come.
Urenmisan Afinotan
DARN Co-convener



Monday, 9 July 2018

Upcoming DARN talk: Is South Africa’s Future Expropriated?

Is South Africa’s Future Expropriated? 

DARN is proud to present its latest event on the 12th of July 2018. This time, our honorable guest is Terence Corrigan from South Africa's reputable Institute of Race Relations. His talk will center around the topic "Is South Africa's Future Expropriated?". Everyone is cordially invited to attend and join in on the discussion.

South Africa is facing a crossroads. Cyril Ramaphosa, a widely respected figure who participated in drafting the South African Constitution, has breathed new optimism into the national mood. His credentials as a trade unionist, negotiator, politician and businessman have convinced many that the country is in the hands of a leader who understands the needs of the population and business. However, deep structural problems continue to afflict the country and it is not certain whether South Africa will – or is in a position to – achieve the economic take-off that the country so desperately needs. 

Indeed, it is by no means clear that South Africa will not choose to move in another direction altogether. In recent months, South Africa’s ruling party has declared its intention to introduce a policy of expropriation without compensation. This has unsettled and confused investors as well as business people generally. While phrased as ‘land reform’, its impact stands to be considerably greater. What land reform signifies may well have been misunderstood. 

The Institute of Race Relations is one of South Africa’s oldest policy analysis bodies. Since 1929, it has striven to promote non-racialism, individual and societal freedom, and prosperity through a growing economy. Our analysis is widely sought by decision makers in politics, business and civil society. We have developed a comprehensive set of scenarios for South Africa over the next decade, and would like to present our analysis of recent developments (with an emphasis on property rights and the expropriation-without-compensation debate) within that framework. This analysis is critical not only for South Africans but also for other African countries where the question of land redistribution is at the core of foreign or local investment and economic rights. 

Speaker:
Terence Corrigan is a Project Manager at the Institute of Race Relations where he specialises in work on property rights, as well as land and mining policy. A native of KwaZulu-Natal, he is a graduate of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Pietermaritzburg). He has held various positions at the IRR, South African Institute of International Affairs, SBP (formerly the Small Business Project) and the Gauteng Legislature – as well as having taught English in Taiwan. His interests include African governance, land and agrarian issues, political culture and political thought, corporate governance, enterprise and business policy.

Date:                   12 July 2018
Time:                   1600hrs
Venue:                Dalhousie Building, 1G06

Saturday, 19 May 2018

DARN is looking for new board members!

The Dundee Africa Research Network (DARN) is a network of individuals around the world aimed at promoting Africa-focused research based in the University of Dundee. Formed in June 2015, our long-term aim is to become an international African research centre of repute, bridging the gap between academia, civil society, public authorities and industry on a wide range of policy and intellectual matters relating to the African continent. Our vision is to promote a clear link between African research, viable solutions and sustainable development. 

DARN has regularly organised events such as public lectures by reputable researchers. Such lectures have cut across many fields including international relations/politics, pure/applied sciences, law, and the social sciences generally. These events are open to DARN members as well as the general public. 

What are we looking for?
Starting from the 2018/19 academic year, we are looking for new members to support and join the board that keeps DARN running. In general, we invite everyone who wants to volunteer with DARN to contact us so that we can find a role that suits your skills and ambition. You can think of (but not exclusively):

-     General Secretary: This role essentially requires you to coordinate the affairs of organising committees, ensure internal administration, and sometimes attend to proposals or requests for collaboration from any part of the world.
-      Co-Convenor: In this role you will help with organising events such as contacting (potential) speakers, liaise with the University, and help shaping the core developmental strategy. 
-      Communications Director: In this role you help with the promotion of DARN through various means, both within the University (liaising with the different departments/schools that might promote our events, making sure we are present at events such as the Freshers’ Fair, etc.) as well as our external visibility (primarily social media channels).

Joining the board will require an average of 1 hour of your time per week but this is flexible. It might be slightly more in a week when there is an event yet there are also periods where it might be less. As we are a team, we are flexible and take your personal situation into account (e.g. during exam periods).

What a board position has to offer you?
Joining DARN will give you invaluable experience in the running of an international networking platform. Depending on your specific role current board members will support you to develop yourself in the areas where you are active. Being a DARN board member will not only look good on your C.V., but it also provides for an excellent opportunity to create a network of people interested in Africa both within and outside the University of Dundee!

Questions and contact:
For any questions you may have and for more information, please contact us at darn@dundee.ac.uk

Meanwhile, follow us on…

On behalf of DARN
Roeland Hemsteede

DARN Co-Convener

Thursday, 10 May 2018

New article by DARN founding member Howard S. Chitengi

DARN is very proud to announce that Howard S. Chitengi, a founding member, has published his latest article. The title is "Regulations and housing informality in African cities: appropriating regulatory frameworks to factors that influence resilience" and it is published in the latest volume of Housing and Society. View and download your copy here: https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/bmuiuY4GvmGQrcPhAcHS/full

Abstract:
"The paper examines the regulatory factors that constrain housing in African cities evinced in the growing informal housing delivery system that characterize them. This is intended to draw lessons for appropriating regulations to various house developer needs. The research uses a case study approach involving two informal settlements in Lusaka City, Zambia. Data collection methods included both physical observations and interviews with informal settlement dwellers. The paper indicates regulatory frameworks which shape the general context of housing development, generate high land access problems and transaction costs, and impact cultural aspects which influence the manner in which people respond to situations and opportunities when making decisions about housing. This contrasts with the informal system which offers developers the freedom to use alternative construction methods offering affordable means of house production. The informal setting also offers people freedom to construct houses according to individual preferences enabling people to “live their dreams” made possible by the relaxation in rules and regulations. This helps in filling the gap created by the demand and supply mismatch in the formal areas. To motivate regulatory compliance, this paper establishes an adaptive regulatory approach that balances social-cultural building practices and land delivery methods."

Friday, 30 March 2018

Craniofacial Research: Bringing Succour to Africa

History was made when Professor Peter Mossey delivered a DARN talk on Wednesday 21st March 2018. That was the first deliberative session concerning the applied or pure sciences since the inception of DARN. “Research and Innovations in Africa: A Model for Stimulating Research Collaboration in Africa” concerned craniofacial research and the giant strides made towards helping cleft lip or palate patients in developing countries, especially Nigeria where he has led and supported medical attention to patients. His talk also illustrated a core focus of DARN: interdisciplinary research especially as providing succour to cleft patients requires different aspects of medical expertise.

Professor Mossey’s interest in Nigeria was consolidated when he accepted to supervise a Nigerian, Azeez Butali, who obtained his University of Dundee PhD in 2009. Dr Butali has coordinated, with Professor Mossey’s support, the training of medical professionals and successful surgeries in Nigeria. Their successes have also extended to managing bureaucracies in Nigeria and securing the support of state governments (which can be very challenging even for those who are based in Nigeria). Participants at the DARN event were particularly impressed not only by the work done in Nigeria, but also the sterling mentorship that Professor Mossey provided to Dr Butali. Both of them have co-authored at least 14 papers published by very reputable journals.

The talk covered several interesting aspects including the environmental causes of clefts and the overarching effect of poverty in developing countries. Prof Mossey discussed “the three scandals” that provide an apt summary of contributing factors: inequality, infant mortality and invisibility. It is indeed a great irony that an overwhelming number of cleft patients are in parts of the world where patients are most ill-equipped to manage the challenges associated with clefts. Beyond Nigeria and Africa (”NigeriaCRAN”/”AfriCRAN” as influenced by “EuroCRAN”), Prof Mossey’s research extends to global craniofacial research: “Proportionate Universalism”. The World Health Organisation has provided support for Prof Mossey’s research in other parts of the world.

The very positive feedback which has been received from attendees self-evidently underscores the success of the talk. The interactive session was very engaging and there was a chance for networking and hopefully, people will continue to exploit such opportunities as networking is a major benefit at DARN. Many thanks indeed to Professor Mossey for joining DARN to make history.

Pontian Okoli

DARN Co-convener

Prof. Mossey and Dr. Butali
Geoffrey Mabea (a DARN co-convenor facilitated the event) and Prof. Mossey (speaker)


A cross-section of the participants



Friday, 2 March 2018

Pontian N. Okoli's co-authored article with Chinedum I. Umeche published in The International Journal of Human Rights

Pontian N. Okoli's co-authored article with Chinedum I. Umeche published in The International Journal of Human Rights . The title of the article is 'Jurisdictional conflicts and individual liberty – the encroaching burden of technicality in Nigeria'. the article can be accessed via: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13642987.2017.1383239. We congratulate you on this academic success. We look forward to more of you in the pursuit of African epistemic visibility. Accept our best wishes.

Edwin Ezeokafor's co-authored article on African security with Christian Kaunert published in the Journal Global Discourse

Edwin Ezeokafor's co-authored article with Christian Kaunert published in the Journal Global Discourse. The title of the article is 'Securitization outside of the West: conceptualizing the securitization–neo-patrimonialism nexus in Africa'. For further details, access the article via: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/23269995.2017.1412619?journalCode=rgld20 . We congratulate you on this academic success. We look forward to more of you in the pursuit of African epistemic visibility. Accept our best wishes.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

In conversation with Professor Kurt Mills of the University of Dundee


In conversation with Professor Kurt Mills of the University of Dundee (UoD); by Daniel Gilbert, UoD alumnus, Adviser to, and founding member, of DARN
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

This winter I had the pleasure and honour of interviewing Kurt Mills, Professor of International Relations and Human Rights at the University of Dundee (https://www.dundee.ac.uk/politics/staff/profile/kurt-mills) in the UK, Editor of the journal Global Governance (http://journals.rienner.com/loi/ggov?code=lrpi-site), and the Principal Investigator of the Dundee Africa Research Network (http://www.dundeeafrica.org/).  He is widely published (http://kurtmills.org/Publications.html) on domestic and cross-border conflict issues, ethics, legal frameworks, contexts, dynamics and modalities.

Likewise, our discussion frequently crossed over between consideration of high principals, and the more prosaic realities at conflict prevention in nations such as Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  The focus throughout was the link between conflict and competition for mining/ petroleum resources, e.g. for the cobalt, tantalum and niobium riches of the DRC, and Syria’s reserves of petroleum, roughly equal to both those of Argentina and Uganda (https://www.eia.gov/beta/international/rankings/#?prodact=53-1&cy=2016&pid=57&aid=6&tl_id=6-A&tl_type=a)

With respect to the DRC, as of January 18th 2017, the ICC’s own website (https://www.icc-cpi.int/drc) reports:
·      6 cases;
·      the conviction of both Thomas Lubanga Dyilo (former President of the Union des Patriotes Congolais) for offenses relating to child soldiers (https://www.icc-cpi.int/drc/lubanga), and Germain Katanga, an alleged commander of La Force de RĂ©sistance Patriotique de l'Ituri on the counts of war crimes and as an accessory to a murder (https://www.icc-cpi.int/drc/katanga)
·      1 ongoing trail;
·      7 warrants of arrest;
·      3 accused in custody;
·      1 suspect at large and 1 in custody; and
·      1 ongoing appeal.

The above is included by way of context.  As Professor Mills observes, this does not add up anywhere near to a comprehensive deterrence of jeopardy to actors in the DRC considering whether to contravene international law, e.g. through effecting yet more war crimes and/or crimes against humanity in that country.

On the plus side, encouragement was also taken from the previous conflict resolution success achieved in gold and diamond-rich Liberia, and the absence of violent conflict in good-governance Botswana, where 20% of GDP and 35% of fiscal revenue is provided by just one extractive industry (http://africanbusinessmagazine.com/sectors/commodities/a-rare-sparkle-in-botswanas-diamond-industry/): once again, diamonds.

The below extracts selected highlights from our discussion, starting with the international principal and global political commitment of a Responsibility to Protect (R2P) populations, endorsed and adopted by United Nations (UN) member States in 2005 (http://responsibilitytoprotect.org/index.php/component/content/article/35-r2pcs-topics/398-general-assembly-r2p-excerpt-from-outcome-document).

Daniel Gilbert (DG):
“Is the R2P principle genuinely prioritized in international conflict resolution and prevention where access to valuable mineral resources are also at stake?”

 Professor Kurt Mills (KM):
“The bigger question is whether R2P is actually prioritized at all.  To a very large extent, no it is not.  It is talked about periodically, and there is certainly a very large academic industry on the R2P but if you look at it in practice and in the way that the international community and the especially the UN Security Council draws upon the Responsibility to Protect it is relatively minimal.”

DG
“Why?”

KM:
“Because the States who are meant to be implementing the Responsibility to Protect don’t really have an interest in doing so… an economic interest, a political interest a military interest… again, we see this in Darfur.  Darfur was perhaps the test case for responsibility to protect, and I think it’s a test case that failed – really quite substantially.

Nobody had an interest in it. I mean, China has an interest in supporting the Sudanese government, because it wanted access to the oil, Russia too I suppose, the US in particular and other Western countries had an interest in not pushing Sudan too hard because they wanted the North/ South conflict to be resolved, and nobody (external) wanted to use any military resources, nobody wanted to challenge the government.”

A contested term in the extractive industries is that of a “Resource Curse”, the hypothesis that the presence of natural resources actually results in worse outcomes for a country than would be predicted in their hypothetical absence.  For Professor Mills, the above rests on “complex dynamics”, but “a lot of it is down to governance”. 

KM thus contrasts:

“Botswana..  a positive case of where the resources have been of benefit to the country, and then you have countries like Angola where for example the money has been siphoned off and hasn’t really been of benefit to the vast majority.”

Moreover, the dynamics behind any manifestation of such a “Curse”, need not be wholly domestic, e.g. in the

“DRC, and that’s obviously ongoing, but back in the early stages of the conflict in say the mid to late 1990s you have about twelve different countries involved in the region and they weren’t there just because they wanted to support DRC or one of the other parties they were there to get access to the natural resources.”

One of the main research focal points for Professor Mills is the International Criminal Court (ICC), also the subject for his 2017 inaugural DARN lecture, however its work is not (yet) seen as for human rights transgressions in nations such as the DRC:

KM:
“Generally, we haven’t seen a great deterrence effect yet (from the) ICC.  

There is some anecdotal evidence (of such a deterrence effect), in the DRC for example, that some of the actors that have used child soldiers have pulled back from that or at least not been so blatant about doing so, but not more generally.”

DG
“Why?”

KM:
The ICC has really only been in existence for 15 years as an operational cases, and there have only been a very few cases that have actually gone through the whole process, and it takes a very long time, and a lot of the people they have been trying to get they haven’t been able to get.  So, until this has become routinized, I don’t see much of a deterrence effect. (Also, NB) the threshold is so high to get the ICC involved.”
 
This lead to the question of how efficacious are/ can regional bodies such as the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), which body “emerged from the conflicts that had engulfed the region in 1990s, including the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and the protracted conflict, instability and war in eastern parts of the DRC” (http://www.greatlakesproject-africa.org/documents/130807897/0/FINAL+GLP%21%21%21%21.pdf/2b33ef7a-d937-41c2-a074-0c80fb7288c2), or the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in conflict prevention and resolution:

KM:
ECOWAS in particular has played some positive roles, especially in the Liberian intervention (1990s); I think that played a positive role there. I think that they are also constrained to a very large extent, and you see this with the African Union (AU) too, that frequently there is a reticence to be too critical of government actors in particular (as they are made up of governments) in trying to push them in a certain sort of way.  And you certainly saw this in Darfur when you had that AU peacekeeping mission, and then the AU/ UN sort of hybrid mission, a very great reluctance, on behalf of the peacekeepers, and their political masters, to push the Sudanese government, and they were basically at the whim of the Sudanese government, where they could go, when they could fly their helicopters, who they could bring in etc, so there’s significant limitations.

Finally, and looking beyond Africa to the Middle East:

DG
“Considering Islamic Sates (IS) and its (past) control of oil resources in the Levant – to what degree did this extend their ability to fight their many opponents on the battlefield?

KM:
“I think its is key to the reach that they’ve been able to have, but I think with groups like IS, they will always find some sources to keep going. .. But I when we focus on IS we forget about how the conflict started and who was exactly responsible for most of the deaths, which is the Syrian government.”

DG
“To what degree were the various Iraqi wars really about oil?”

KM:
“They were about oil to a certain extent..  I don’t think oil completely drove it because oil will still get to the market regardless of who controls it and the US would still get its oil.  I think 2003 especially wasn’t really about oil at all, it was about trying to remake the Middle East, which failed utterly and comprehensively.”

I would like to thank Professor Mills for agreeing to be interviewed for this blogpost.