The sugar rush in southern Africa

In a new post on his Zimbabweland blog, STEPS director Ian Scoones discusses a new special issue looking at sugar in South Africa. “It is a good moment to review the political economy of sugar in southern Africa. This is what a new open access special issue of the Journal of Southern African Studies does….

Why Britain’s decision to leave the EU is bad news for Africa

The fallout from the UK referendum that ended in victory for those wanting the country to exit from the European Union (EU) is still reverberating around the world. But what does it mean for Africa? The decision will fundamentally affect the continent’s relationship with Britain. It will have an impact on trade, aid and diplomacy….

Are China and Brazil transforming African agriculture?

A new Open Access Special Issue in World Development based on our work on the changing role of China and Brazil in Africa’s agriculture is now available (links to individual articles are below, and also via here).

The political economy of small-scale mining in Zimbabwe

There was much discussion about small-scale and artisanal mining at the STEPS Centre’s Resource Politics conference last month. This is where resources and politics come together; perhaps especially so in Zimbabwe. Ever since the enactment of  Zimbabwe’s Mines and Minerals Act, which gives the state rights over mineral resources wherever they are found, mining has been controversial. In the colonial period,…

Cecil the Lion and Zimbabwe’s conservation carve-up

The huge uproar generated by the shooting of Cecil the lion provides a fascinating lens into Zimbabwe’s new elite land politics and the relationship between humans and “wild” nature. The country’s extensive game ranches and conservancies were mostly subject to land reform in the early 2000s. Many of the former owners were evicted, along with…

STEPS Director Ian Scoones wins ESRC Impact Award

STEPS Director Ian Scoones was a winner of the Outstanding International Impact Award at the ESRC’s 50th anniversary Celebrating Impact Award ceremony, for his work on rural livelihoods in Zimbabwe. ESRC Blog: Building impact over time: experiences from Zimbabwe by Ian Scoones The awards recognise and reward the successes of ESRC-funded researchers who are achieving…

Space, markets and employment: 3 films from Zimbabwe

A new series of films explores the links between land reform and economic activity in Zimbabwe, focusing on three commodities: tobacco, beef and horticulture. The films are produced for the ‘Space, Markets and Employment in Agricultural Development’ (SMEAD) project by Pamela Ngwenya, supported by the field team. They are accompanied by an overview film. Zimbabwe is one…

Talking Zimbabwe & Land Reform at ASAUK14 this Wednesday

New research from Zimbabwe will be shared at a double panel session at the UK African Studies Association conference this week. This year’s event is at the University of Sussex, and our session is on Wednesday 10 September from 9 till 10.30 and 11 to 12.30. The session has been organised by Gareth James of…

Livelihood pathways after land reform in Zimbabwe

Understanding livelihood pathways requires sustained fieldwork in particular sites in order to understand what changes and why. Systematic longitudinal studies are sadly rare in many developing country settings. Project grants for a few years are insufficient to sustain the research effort required. Long term studies are especially important when major changes have occurred. We cannot…

Sustainable intensification: a new buzzword to feed the world?

The term ‘sustainable intensification’ (SI) has entered academic and policy discourse in recent years, including in debates about what to do about agriculture in Zimbabwe. I have been intrigued for some while to find out what it actually means. Is this yet another contradictory hyphenation of two words for political ends, or does it have…