GRID VIEW LIST VIEW

African Markets and the Utu-buntu Business Model: A Perspective in Economic Informality in Nairobi

The persistence of indigenous African markets in the context of a hostile or neglectful business and policy environment makes them worthy of analysis. An investigation of Afrocentric business ethics is long overdue. Attempting to understand the actions and efforts of informal traders and artisans from their own points of view, and analysing how they organise and get by, allows for viable approaches to be identified to integrate them into global urban models and cultures.

 

Using the utu-ubuntu model to understand the activities of traders and artisans in Nairobi’s markets, this book explores how, despite being consistently excluded and disadvantaged, they shape urban spaces in and around the city, and contribute to its development as a whole. With immense resilience, and without discarding their own socio-cultural or economic values, informal traders and artisans have created a territorial complex that can be described as the African metropolis.

 

African Markets and the Utu-buntu Business Model sheds light on the ethics and values that underpin the work of traders and artisans in Nairobi, as well as their resilience and positive impact on urbanisation. This book makes an important contribution to the discourse on urban economics and planning in African cities.

 

Mary Njeri Kinyanjui is a writer, researcher, teacher and volunteer community organiser. She is a firm believer in social and economic justice and self-reliance. She holds a PhD in Geography from Fitzwilliam College at the University of Cambridge in the UK and is a senior research fellow at the University of Nairobi’s Institute for Development Studies. At the time of writing, she was a visiting associate at the Five College Womens’ Studies Research Center in Mount Holyoke, Massachusetts.

 

She has researched economic informality and small businesses, with particular focus on the role of grassroots and indigenous institutions, as well as gender, trade justice and peasant organisations, in the organisation of economic behaviour. Her current research is on the positioning of women peasants, artisans and traders in the global economy. Her publications include Women and the Informal Economy in Urban Africa (Zed) and Vyama Institutions of Hope: Ordinary People’s Market Coordination and Society Organization (Nsemia).

The Next Generation of Scientists

Young scientists are a powerful resource for change and sustainable development, as they drive innovation and knowledge creation. However, comparable findings on young scientists in various countries, especially in Africa and developing regions, are generally sparse. Therefore, empirical knowledge on the state of early-career scientists is critical in order to address current challenges faced by those scientists in Africa.

 

This book reports on the main findings of a three-and-a-half-year international project in order to assist its readers in better understanding the African research system in general, and more specifically its young scientists. The first part of the book provides background on the state of science in Africa, and bibliometric findings concerning Africa’s scientific production and networks, for the period 2005 to 2015. The second part of the book combines the findings of a large-scale, quantitative survey and more than 200 qualitative interviews to provide a detailed profile of young scientists and the barriers they face in terms of five aspects of their careers: research output; funding; mobility; collaboration; and mentoring. In each case, field and gender differences are also taken into account. The last part of the book comprises conclusions and recommendations to relevant policy- and decision-makers on desirable changes to current research systems in Africa.

Research Universities in Africa

From the early 2000s, a new discourse emerged, in Africa and the international donor community, that higher education was important for development in Africa. Within this ‘zeitgeist’ of converging interests, a range of agencies agreed that a different, collaborative approach to linking higher education to development was necessary. This led to the establishment of the Higher Education Research and Advocacy Network in Africa (Herana) to concentrate on research and advocacy about the possible role and contribution of universities to development in Africa.

 

This book is the final publication to emerge from the Herana project. The project has also published more than 100 articles, chapters, reports, manuals and datasets, and many presentations have been delivered to share insights gained from the work done by Herana. Given its prolific dissemination, it seems reasonable to ask whether this fourth and final publication will offer the reader anything new.

 

This book is certainly different from previous publications in several respects. First, it is the only book to include an analysis of eight African universities based on the full 15 years of empirical data collected by the project. Second, previous books and reports were published mid-project. This book has benefited from an extended gestation period allowing the authors and contributors to reflect on the project without the distractions associated with managing and participating in a large-scale project. For the first time, some of those who have been involved in Herana since its inception have had the opportunity to at least make an attempt to see part of the wood for the trees.

Different does not necessarily mean new. An emphasis on the ‘newness’ of the data and perspectives presented in this book is important because it shows that it is more than a historical record of a donor-funded project. Rather, each chapter in this book brings, to a lesser or greater extent, something new to our understanding of universities, research and development in Africa.

 

“This is an important book, synthesising 15 years of carefully gathered data and analysis, digging deep into the institutional lives of some of Africa’s best-known universities, and asking challenging questions about what it means to produce knowledge for society and whether these universities are really being enabled to do so. It offers a substantive guide to university leaders and planners, and by connecting empirical evidence to an examination of incentives, funding systems and policy prescriptions, it highlights the competing and contradictory pressures that many institutions and their staff face – and which must be urgently resolved if the potential of African higher education – for the world, not just the continent – is to be realised.”
– Jonathan Harle, Director of Programmes, INASP, Oxford

 

“The higher education landscape in Africa has changed considerably in the last two decades. Research universities are emerging as the more competitive of the universities in each country. Their effectiveness is driven by national and institutional cultures and the ability of leadership to manage change. This book documents, in a way no other book has done, the nature of the changes taking place in the region and the forces behind them. It is very analytical and it is very informative. Above all, it is comprehensive and essential reference material.”
– Ernest Aryeetey, former Vice-Chancellor, University of Ghana & Secretary-General, African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA)

 

“Research Universities in Africa is a welcome addition to the academic literature on African universities. This well-researched book which, in addition to the contribution of the main three authors, incorporates valuable inputs from a large number of researchers from sub-Saharan Africa and beyond, carefully analyses the challenges faced by African research universities through a skillful combination of theoretical pieces and case studies of eight universities. The book presents a balanced assessment of the role and potential contribution of research universities in the African context. The authors should be congratulated for this excellent contribution that can guide African universities all over the continent in thinking more strategically and achieving better results as they seek to develop their research capacity and increase the relevance of their research output.”
– Jamil Salmi, global tertiary education expert, former co-ordinator of tertiary education at the World Bank & Emeritus Professor of Higher Education Policy, Diego Portales University (Chile)

North-South Knowledge Networks: Towards Equitable Collaboration Between Academics, Donors and Universities

Since the 1990s, internationalisation has become key for institutions wishing to secure funding for higher education and research. For the academic community, this strategic shift has had many consequences. Priorities have changed and been influenced by new ways of thinking about universities, and of measuring their impact in relation to each other and to their social goals. Debates are ongoing and hotly contested.

In this collection, a mix of renowned academics and newer voices reflect on some of the realities of international research partnerships. They both question and highlight the agency of academics, donors and research institutions in the geopolitics of knowledge and power. The contributors offer fresh insights on institutional transformation, the setting of research agendas, and access to research funding, while highlighting the dilemmas researchers face when their institutions are vulnerable to state and donor influence.

Offering a range of perspectives on why academics should collaborate and what for, this book will be useful to anyone interested in how scholars are adapting to the realities of international networking and how research institutions are finding innovative ways to make North–South partnerships and collaborations increasingly fair, sustainable and mutually beneficial.

The Delusion of Knowledge Transfer: The impact of foreign aid experts on policy-making in South Africa and Tanzania

With the rise of the ‘knowledge for development’ paradigm, expert advice has become a prime instrument of foreign aid. At the same time, it has been object of repeated criticism: the chronic failure of ‘technical assistance’ – a notion under which advice is commonly subsumed – has been documented in a host of studies. Nonetheless, international organisations continue to send advisors, promising to increase the ‘effectiveness’ of expert support if their technocratic recommendations are taken up.

This book reveals fundamental problems of expert advice in the context of aid that concern issues of power and legitimacy rather than merely flaws of implementation. Based on empirical evidence from South Africa and Tanzania, the authors show that aid-related advisory processes are inevitably obstructed by colliding interests, political pressures and hierarchical relations that impede knowledge transfer and mutual learning. As a result, recipient governments find themselves caught in a perpetual cycle of dependency, continuously advised by experts who convey the shifting paradigms and agendas of their respective donor governments.

For young democracies, the persistent presence of external actors is hazardous: ultimately, it poses a threat to the legitimacy of their governments if their policy-making becomes more responsive to foreign demands than to the preferences and needs of their citizens.

Student Politics in Africa: Representation and Activism

The second volume of the African Higher Education Dynamics Series brings together the research of an international network of higher education scholars with interest in higher education and student politics in Africa. Most authors are early career academics who teach and conduct research in universities across the continent and came together for a research project, and related workshops and a symposium on student representation in African higher education governance.

The book includes theoretical chapters on student organising, student activism and representation; chapters on historical and current developments in student politics in Anglophone and Francophone Africa, and in-depth case studies on student representation and activism in a cross-section of universities and countries.

The book provides a unique resource for academics, university leaders and student affairs professionals as well as student leaders and policy-makers in Africa and elsewhere.