Business for peace?

It is difficult to avoid being swept up in the current tide of optimism about Africa and resource development. For once, Africa is not only portrayed by outsiders as a continent of poor people suffering and fighting over civil wars and dependent on good will and aid. At the same time, the new, positive single…

David Ockwell at UNFCCC workshop on innovation systems (live webcast)

On 13–14 October, the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) of the UNFCCC is holding a workshop on Strengthening national systems of innovation in developing countries, covering the entire technology cycle for climate technology. This workshop will be webcast (see link below). The workshop includes a presentation by David Ockwell, convenor of the STEPS Centre’s Energy and…

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…

Same meat, different gravy? The new Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA)

  By David Ockwell, STEPS Centre Deputy Director, Research On 2 July African Union Heads of State and Government adopted the new Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024 (STISA-2024)[i]. This replaces the previous African Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action (CPA) that was adopted by the AU back in 2006. STISA-2024 sets…

Building low carbon, high growth futures in Africa

An article in New Scientist magazine pubished today sets out one of the most hotly-contestated questions about increasing energy access in the global south: can low carbon techology deliver meaningful opportunities for economic growth? Author Fred Pearce, who sits on the STEPS Centre’s Advisory Committee, in unconvinced that those on either side of the low carbon argument have made a strong enough…

Community-based Micro Grids: Experiences in Rural Kenya

By Lorenz Gollwitzer I am standing in Olosho-Oibor, a small village three-hours from Nairobi, at the bottom of the Ngong Hills (famous as the place where Denys Finch Hatton crashed his plane and died in Karen Blixen’s autobiography Out of Africa). Beeping in my pocket, my smartphone has just received an email, yet the nearest connection to the national grid…

Ebola: failures, flashpoints and focus

By Annie Wilkinson, post doctorate researcher, Institute of Development Studies As the worst Ebola epidemic on record shows no signs of abating in West Africa, fear and ignorance are increasingly said to be playing a role in its continued spread. Meanwhile, local practices such as the consumption of bushmeat and deforestation are the go-to explanations…

Ghana,’Brazil of Africa’: Keeping lights on for the World Cup

By Sandra Pointel in Accra Over recent years, concerns to “keep the lights on” have featured high on energy policy agendas and in media headlines, especially in the developed world. Competing concerns to ensure energy security – including geopolitical turbulence associated with oil and gas supply, potential terrorist attacks and attempts to mitigate climate change and transition…

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…