Professor Erik Reinert, Technology Governance and Development Strategies, Tallinn University of Technology
‘This tendency to Diminishing Returns was the cause of Abraham’s parting from Lot, and of most of the migrations of which history tells’ wrote the founder of neo-classical economics, Alfred Marshall, in the first edition of his textbook Principles of Economics(1890). In a footnote he refers to the Bible’s Genesis xiii : 6: ‘And the land was not able to bear them that they might dwell together; for their substance was great so they could not dwell together’. (Marshall 1890: 201).
Marshall’s observation also applies to today’s migration patterns: from countries where most activities are subject to constant or diminishing returns to countries whose key economic activities are subject to increasing returns to scale. Diminishing returns occur when one factor of production is limited by nature, which means that it occurs in agriculture, mining, and fisheries. Normally the best land, the best ore, and the richest fishing grounds are exploited first, and – after a point – the more a country specialises in these activities, the poorer it gets. OECD (2018) shows how this occurs in Chilean copper mining: every ton of copper is produced with a higher cost than the previous ton.
Rose Jaji (PhD), University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe
Researchers, whether their research sites fit into the classical home-field dichotomy or conflate home and the field, plan the field trip with the supposition that they will find research participants. What researchers may not have discussed on the numerous academic platforms available to them is the possibility of encountering a research-fatigued or research-weary community. Potential research participants may also have expectations of the research. But do researchers consider research from the perspective of research participants and what it means to tell one’s story and not see the relevance of the research to one’s life? Relevance of the research to research participants plays an important role in facilitating access (Coleman 1996). Some research participants may have participated in previous researches and may want to know why they should keep telling their stories. I address my experiences as I carried out research with farmers in an irrigation scheme in Zimbabwe and urban refugees in Kenya.
Muhammad Dan Suleiman, University of Western Australia, Perth
In recent years, West Africa has come into the global spotlight due to the prevalence of famines, religious terrorism, anti-state rebellions, and arms, drugs and human trafficking. These developments are the product of both local and global dynamics and they remain substantial challenges for the region in 2017 and beyond. There have been positive developments, including an emerging consolidation of support for democratic transitions of power through both popular protests and elite-led regional diplomatic and military interventions against unconstitutional changes of government or attempted unlawful retentions of power. While there are positive developments, concerns have increased of late about insecurity in West Africa in an era of violent criminal and political movements operating across borders. Indeed, West Africa suffers from ethno-religious tensions, political instability, poverty and natural disasters. West Africa is a vast sub-region. Nevertheless, I offer below a highlight of key developments and events to watch in a few countries and locations in the sub-region, and the best way to address pressing issues.
Kyle Anderson (MS), Data Analyst Research Aide, The Zambakari Advisory
Richard Rivera (MA), Statistician & Psychometrician, The Zambakari Advisory
Prior to its birth on July 9th, 2011, the area that is now South Sudan has faced instability, which can be seen as a result of its history of colonization that has, in turn, led to a legacy of instability and violence (Metelits, 2016). The current conflict in South Sudan can be thought of in terms of social, political, and economic factors. The Fragile States Index quantifies these factors, creating a composite score for each country. As of 2016, out of 178 countries that were studied, South Sudan was the second most fragile, only trailing Somalia (Fragile States Index, 2016).
This piece discusses two research questions investigating events within the five years following the birth of South Sudan: 1) What is the frequency and distribution of the interaction of actor type and event types for events in South Sudan from July 9th, 2011 to July 8th, 2016?, 2) What is the frequency and distribution of actor types within the different states in South Sudan from July 9th, 2011, to July 8th, 2016?
Rose Jaji (PhD), University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe
Many anti-homosexual Africans claim that homosexuality is “unAfrican” and view advocacy by Western governments for homosexuals’ rights in Africa as cultural imperialism. The crisis of attribution regarding homosexuality has created confusion manifest in its westernization. Juxtaposed with traditional accommodation of non-conformity and diversity in African cultures, the prevailing intolerance and homophobia among many Africans was in fact introduced by missionaries who condemned traditional practices on the continent as pagan, primitive, and evil. It is puzzling how African Christians question the “Africanness” of homosexuality without questioning the “Africanness” of Christianity which was brought to Africa by Western missionaries. If homosexuality is “unAfrican” and “Western” for the reason that Western governments advocate homosexuals’ rights, why have the same Africans embraced Christianity which came to Africa through Western missionaries and is thriving in Africa decades after the continent shook off the colonial yoke?
Researcher - Research Officer at Centre d’Etudes et de Formation pour le Developpement (CEFOD) in N’djamena (Chad)
The Central African Economic and Monetary Community known as CEMAC, is made up of six States in Central Africa, namely: Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, the Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea.It is no exaggeration to say that CEMAC countries rely heavily on the exploitation of Extractive Industries (EI) for their respective development. Yves Alvarez et al. note that “like many other countries in Africa, the member countries of the CEMAC rely heavily on the exploitation of raw materials to support growth. However, for many reasons, these countries find that industrial exploitation based on foreign direct investment (FDI) does not create sufficient wealth to maintain growth and sustainable development.” Does heavy reliance on the exploitation of raw materials enough to sustain growth?
Tarnjeet Kang, Ph.D Candidate, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Walking around the central city area of Juba, South Sudan’s capital, it is difficult to miss the copious signs directing people to the compounds of CSOs, NGOs, and other international organizations such as the numerous United Nations agencies. Many of the public institutions scattered across the city also bear markers of international sponsorship. This phenomenon is replicated in the hearts of state capitals across the country. While the presence of foreign interventions in South Sudan has been discussed colloquially, the implications and long-term consequences, particularly within the context of a neoliberal era of development, has not been critically investigated thus far.
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