Friday, 20 September 2019


‘Power relations in international development: the case of cash transfers in Africa’
Roeland Hemsteede, University of Dundee
The Sustainable Development Goals call for the implementation of nationally appropriate social protection systems. However, who decides what is 'nationally appropriate' and to what extent can governments of developing countries control this process when relying on development partners for financing and expertise? During this talk Roeland Hemsteede explores how power relations between national and international stakeholders shaped cash transfer programmes in Lesotho and Malawi. Cash transfers are small, regular payments to poor and vulnerable households. The presentation draws on interviews Roeland conducted with approximately 100 key policymakers in both countries. These have been analysed using a new framework for the analysis of social protection which combines insights around political settlements, organisational theory and decision-making, and processes of domination and resistance. The analysis explores how different stakeholders use different sources of power in attempts to influence the design and implementation of cash transfers… The paper offers insights into how power relations can shape development interventions.  Roeland Hemsteede is Doctoral researcher focusing on the power dynamics around cash transfers in Southern Africa. He has spent considerable time doing qualitative research in Lesotho and Malawi for his PhD. He has presented his work at multiple conference and a journal article based on his work is currently under review. Previously, he has worked on economic growth policies in Africa and Asia as well as on WaSH in Mozambique as a research assistant. For his Master’s degree he explored the Black Economic Empowerment of farm workers in South Africa on which he published a book chapter last year. He has also worked as a project coordinator organising projects to promote the inclusion of youth with African roots in the Netherlands.

‘Citizen Investment in Renewable Energy: The Role of Financial Literacy’
Bridget Menyeh, University of Dundee
Financing the energy transition in Sub-Saharan Africa is a pressing challenge as current investment volumes are woefully inadequate. In the last decade, the role of citizen investors as important financiers of the energy transition is being realised. Through crowdfunding, citizens can invest in renewable energy however this is not without risks as they often have to make their own financial investment decisions often without expert advice. This talk will discuss findings from a financial literacy assessment of middle-class investors in Ghana and what this could for design of policy and financial education programmes. Bridget Menyeh is Doctoral researcher focusing on household investor preferences for renewable energy investments. She has worked as a development consultant in Ghana with the SNV Netherlands Development Organisation on projects such as the World Bank InfoDev Ghana Climate Innovation Centre and the Improved Fish Smoking and Livelihoods Project. She has also worked as a research associate at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School Centre for Alternative Finance, the EU Horizon 2020 CrowdFundRes project and at the Climate Bonds Initiative in London, United Kingdom. She has a master’s degree in Energy and the Environment from Lancaster University, United Kingdom, and an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from the University of Ghana, Legon.

The Schedule:
                                                VENUE: DALHOUSIE 1S03
                                                TIME:  4.30 PM

Wednesday, 3 April 2019


Trends in Contemporary African Research: Prospects and Challenges
Research is critical to sustainable progress in spheres of theory and practice. African scholarly research has been largely influenced by non-African conceptualisation, a reality that has been complicated by power dynamics. There is a need to assess the current position and determine whether a rethink is necessary. In this context, possible answers are underpinned by a tripartite analysis: realisation, problematisation, and contextualisation. Determining whether, and to what extent, Africa should chart its own course will shape African prospects for the foreseeable future.


Dr Pontian Okoli
Dr Pontian Okoli
Pontian obtained his PhD in private international law and LLM in international commercial law at the University of Dundee where he also taught. Prior to his comparative doctoral research on foreign judgments, he worked in law firms and as In House Counsel. During his law practice, he represented clients based in Africa, Europe and the United States on various international commercial transactions. Among other modules, Pontian currently teaches on research methods at the University of Stirling.

Dr Geoffrey Mabea
Dr Geoffrey Mabea
Geoffrey obtained his PhD in Power Economics, focusing on electricity markets in the context of regional Power Markets coupling. He also holds postgraduate degrees (MSc and MBA) in energy economics and policy from the Universities of Surrey, and Jomo Kenyatta University respectively. He has vast experience in the energy industry and project delivery. He has worked in various energy organisations in Kenya and major international consulting firms. He has worked on various projects in East Africa, South Africa, and Indonesia.  Among other research and professional roles, Geoffrey has been energy economics teaching assistant at University of Dundee, and continues to provide consulting services to international clients on several various matters including energy markets integration.

Date: April 26th, 2019
Time: 17.00
Venue: University of Dundee, Dalhousie LT1

Thursday, 21 February 2019

A Call for Immediate Action in WaSH – Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.

Dr Emmanuel M. Akpabio (pictured centre, wearing red) and other participants of the Abjua-based workshop.   
Earlier this month, Daniel Gilbert chronicled DARN's own Dr Emmanuel M. Akpabio's call for immediate action on WaSH-UPP - Water, Sanitation and hygiene: Understanding Policy and Practice - during a Abjua-based national workshop, organised in cooperation with Nigeria’s Federal Ministries of Water Resources.  

Regarding WaSH-UPP, Dr Akpabio has said,
Unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene are a major challenge in developing countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Of the global deaths, from the 1 billion people without access to treated drinking water and [the] 2.5 billion lacking adequate sanitation, over 83% is concentrated in SSA. Ebola and other infectious disease outbreaks in this region are much related to our inability to get the WaSH act right.
To read the full report and for more information on WasH-UPP, please visit:

Reported by 
April Harvey,
Director of Communications 

Friday, 15 February 2019

Foreign Judgments Enforcement - Africa and The Hague Judgments Project

Earlier this Februari, Daniel Gilbert interviewed DARN's Dr. Pontian Okoli about the enforcement of foreign judgements in Africa. The interview starts as follows:

Q1. Firstly, please accept my congratulations on the successful completion of your PhD and on your new Stirling University academic position. Could I ask you to briefly provide a context for your thesis, and to reflect on recent developments? – I asked Dr Okoli, who replied:
“Thank you. International litigants want effective outcomes when they try to enforce judgments obtained abroad. There are, however, several barriers to enforcing foreign judgments. My thesis is a comparative analysis of certain African jurisdictions vis-à-vis the Hague Judgments Project – a forum for the harmonisation of Private International Law rules. Over several decades, efforts to agree on a Convention have been largely fruitless. There is, however, now renewed hope for progress. There have been positive developments in the past few years and there is a draft Convention on foreign judgments. More members have joined the (process) but certain powerful countries such as Nigeria are not members”
To read the full interview, please visit