Six million euro for new research on inclusive development in Sub-Saharan Africa

23 June 2014

WOTRO has recently awarded funding to ten new research projects on inclusive development in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the next two to three years, the projects are going to investigate how the current fast growth of economies in Sub-Saharan Africa can be guided so that it will lead to more inclusive development. Each research project focuses on one of two themes: strategic actors for inclusive development or productive employment. The budget of the projects combined is approximately 6 million euro.

The ten new projects are the result of the first two calls for proposals that were developed by WOTRO and the Knowledge Platform on Development Policies. The goal of the projects is to contribute to knowledge about inclusive development, both within donor organisations as well as in developing countries. The research is conducted by consortia consisting of at least one research organisation from the Netherlands and one from a Dutch partner country for development cooperation in Sub-Saharan Africa, plus a practitioner organisation from the partner country that the research focuses on.

Projects on productive employment

The awarded projects on productive employment are listed below.

How road development can promote inclusive and productive employment in Ethiopia

Consortium led by Dr Maggi Leung, Utrecht University (NL). The other consortium members are: Bureau of Construction, Road and Transport (Ethiopia), Mekelle University (Ethopia),  Meta Meta (NL); Horn Economic and Social Policy Institute (Ethiopia) and University of Sussex (UK).

Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are investing heavily in road infrastructure, which is supposed to create important employment opportunities. Taking Tigray (Ethiopia) and the Tana Basin area (Kenya) as case studies, this research investigates whether feeder road construction really boosts local economies, generates jobs and supports the empowerment of labourers and contractors. Research findings will be used to promote more inclusive infrastructural planning.

Changing the mindset of rural, female entrepreneurs in Uganda: from Muppets to Gazelles

Consortium led by Dr Henny Romijn, Eindhoven University of Technology (NL). The other consortium members are: Leuphana University Lüneburg (Germany), Makerere University Business School (Uganda), Uganda Investment Authority and Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association Ltd.

Low-income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa sorely need innovative entrepreneurs to generate productive employment and boost inclusive growth. However, the majority of small subsistence activities are seldom taken to an enterprising level. This research investigates the barriers to dynamic entrepreneurship among rural and female entrepreneurs in Uganda. The findings will support entrepreneurship coaching and training services offered by the Ugandan Investment Authority and the Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association Ltd.

Multipliers for employment creation: the case of the IT industry

Consortium led by Prof. Harry Barkema, Erasmus University Rotterdam (NL). The other consortium members are: Africa Creative Hub (Kenya), Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (Kenya), East Africa Social Enterprise Network (Kenya), iHub Research (Kenya), London School of Economics (UK) and Strathmore Business School (Kenya).

This research investigates what drives the successful growth of IT companies in Kenya and what business model innovations are needed to facilitate this growth. The findings will be shared with policymakers and entrepreneurs in order to contribute to productive employment opportunities in a country where nearly half of the population earns less than USD1.25 per day in unproductive and informal jobs.

Productive employment in the segmented markets of fresh produce in Kenya

Consortium led by Dr Bekele Shiferaw, Partnership for Economic Policy (Kenya). The other consortium members are: Fresh Produce and Exporters Association of Kenya and VU University Amsterdam (NL).

The fresh produce sector in Africa is a dynamic and important driver of economic growth. However, the sector is increasingly becoming divided into an innovative and a traditional segment. Zooming in on avocado production in Kenya, this research investigates the impact that this economic transformation has on productive employment opportunities in particular for smallholders, women and youth.

Increasing the value of Dutch multinationals for national economies: a comparative study of Kenya and Nigeria

Consortium led by Prof. Chibuike Uche, African Studies Centre (NL). The other consortium members are: Kenya Association of Manufacturers and University of Nairobi (Kenya).

African countries would benefit more from the presence of multinational companies (MNCs) if these companies were to integrate local businesses into their value chains and to promote the transfer of skills. Taking Kenya and Nigeria as examples, the research investigates the relationships between MNCs, home and host governments. The findings are meant to help reduce the tensions between them that influence the impact of MNCs on employment and economic opportunities in their host countries. 

Projects on strategic actors for inclusive development

The awarded projects on strategic actors for inclusive development are:

Creating opportunities for economic and political empowerment of sex workers in Kenya and Ethiopia

Consortium led by Dr Lorraine Nencel, VU University Amsterdam (NL). The other consortium members are: Hoymas/Kenya Sexworker Alliance, International Centre for Reproductive Health (Kenya), Nikat Charitable Association (Ethiopia) and STI AIDS Netherlands.

While the empowerment and participation of sex workers are issues on the global human rights agenda, locally sex workers remain vulnerable and excluded. This research maps practices and policies that affect sex workers in Ethiopia and Kenya. Involving local and regional stakeholders, the research will develop knowledge to advance the economic resilience and human rights of sex workers and strengthen the social capital of their communities. 

How can inclusive business models and PPPs contribute to inclusive development in Sub-Saharan Africa?

Consortium led by Prof. Rob van Tulder, Erasmus University Rotterdam (NL). The other consortium members are: AMREF Flying Doctors (NL), BAM International (NL), Bank of Africa (Uganda), Bank of Kigali (Rwanda), Barefoot Power (Uganda), Centre for Frugal Innovation/ISS (NL), Cordaid (NL), Eastern and Southern African Management Institute (ESAMI), FMO (NL), Green Dream Company (NL),  ICCO (NL), Inyange Industries (Rwanda), Netherlands African Business Council (NABC), New World Campus (NL), Philips Medical Systems (NL), PUM Netherlands, Rabobank Development (NL), Roskar Travel Limited (Kenya), SNV (Vietnam) and WISE Organisation for Women in Self Employment (Ethiopia).

Dutch firms increasingly look for more 'inclusive' business models and enter into Public Private Partnerships in order to contribute to inclusive economic growth in the African countries where they invest. Through the study of Dutch frontrunner companies in five East-African countries, this research investigates the critical success factors of such partnerships and their potential to contribute to sustainable development.

Advancing decent work policies for informal workers in Ghana and Benin

Consortium led by Dr Mayke Kaag, Africa Studies Centre (NL). The other consortium members are: CNV International (NL), Confederation des Organisations des Syndicales Independantes (Benin), FNV Mondiaal (NL), Ghana Federation of Labourers, Ghanaian Trade Union, International Institute for the Advanced Study of Cultures (Ghana), KU Leuven – HIVA (Belgium), Streetnet International (South Africa) and University of Abomey Calavi (Benin).

Inclusive development will not be accomplished in Sub-Saharan Africa if the rights of informal workers to decent work continue to be ignored. This research studies the difficulties encountered by trade unions and informal workers' organisations in Ghana and Benin in promoting decent work policies for informal workers. The findings will help these organisations to be more effective in influencing this important political issue.

Partnership arrangements in the agricultural sector as strategic action for inclusive development in Ghana

Consortium led by Dr Annemarie van Paassen, Wageningen UR (NL). The other consortium members are: Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, SNV Ghana, Solidaridad Ghana and University of Ghana.

To counter structural inequalities in economic development in sub-Saharan Africa, various forms of partnerships are being promoted in agricultural value chains. This research investigates under what conditions public and private actors, NGOs and smallholders in Ghana are interested in joining or initiating such partnerships, how this affects the relationships between them, and what impact these innovative partnerships have on economic governance for inclusive development.

Investigating structural barriers to Batwa inclusion in development in Rwanda

Consortium led by Dr Morag Goodwin, Tilburg University. The other consortium members are: Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (Rwanda) and Rwandese Community of Potters (COPORWA).

The Batwa people are marginalised in both the economic and socio-political realms of Rwandan society. This research investigates the role that identity politics, (inter)national laws, government and Batwa leadership play in the persistent exclusion of the minority group. The findings can be used to inform public discussion and to help design appropriate strategies for including the Batwa people in the country’s development process. 

Source: NWO