Research Platform Africa

The Research Platform Africa aims to intensify and consolidate cooperation with excellent partners in sub-Saharan Africa and foster collaborations on research topics of joint interest. Alongside joint field research, we organise conferences and workshops as well as exchange stays among scholarly staff; new research findings are presented in joint publications. Among others, there is a longstanding collaboration with GovInn on the Land Matrix Initiative.

As part of its agenda, the Research Platform Africa has provided research grants for five competitively selected research projects carried out by doctoral students and early career researchers based at research institutions in sub-Saharan Africa.

1. Governing Irregular Migration: Influence of Material Power on Agency of Potential Migrants in Ethiopia
This study aims to better understand the decision-making processes of potential migrants in Ethiopia. In their analysis, Dr. Fana Gebresenbet Erda and Firehiwot Sintayehu Bahiru from the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) at Addis Ababa University show that material conditions are not necessarily the single most important factor driving the youth in particular into irregular migration. The project therefore aims to investigate the processes through which non-material factors constrain or enable the agency of potential migrants – and the extent to which they do so.

2. Sustainability of the Manufacturing Sector in Zimbabwe
This study examines the potential role that the informal manufacturing sector could play as a source of future growth and industrialisation in Zimbabwe. To assess the differences in productivity and earnings between formal and informal manufacturing firms, Godfrey Kamutando from the School of Economics at the University of Cape Town will collect and analyse a new round of panel data on workers and firms located in Harare and Bulawayo.

3. A Situation Analysis of the Voltian Basin Crude Oil Exploration Project in Ghana
This study aims to provide an ex ante situation analysis of the Voltian Basin area of Ghana, which the national government has earmarked for on-land crude oil exploration activities. Nene-Lomotey Kuditchar from the School of Social Sciences at the University of Ghana will collect information on existing land tenure, ownership, and acquisition systems; identify key stakeholders; and detect potential conflict flashpoints. This assessment should help to identify and track the long-term effects of the exploration project.

4. Analysis of Inclusion and Contribution of Grass-Roots Organisations in Mainstream Peacebuilding Efforts in South Sudan
This study analyses the failure of the peacebuilding mechanisms in South Sudan between 2005 and 2013, and of the efforts to achieve sustainable peace since the outbreak of civil war in 2013. Specifically, Emmaculate Asige Liaga from the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria aims to identify the impact that the involvement or exclusion of local grass-roots peacebuilding organisations may have on achieving peace objectives in South Sudan.

5. People-Centred Approaches to Regionalism: The Case of the Southern African Civil Society Networks
This study contributes to the literature on contemporary regionalism by expanding the focus of analysis to include non-state actors. Investigating the case of Southern Africa between 1989 and 2016, Leon Tshimpaka Mwamba from the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) at the University of Pretoria aims to develop a typology of how civil society groups interact both within horizontal networks and vis-à-vis the Southern African Development Community (SADC).