The 2018 CSAE Conference featured more than 300 presentations in 106 sessions over 3 days. Held at St Catherine’s College, Oxford various researchers converged from Europe, Africa and other places to present new research on issues relating to African economies.
Among the papers presented were Gender Inequality and Marketisation Hypothesis in sub- Saharan Africa presented by Tendai Zawaira of the University of Pretoria; Subsidies for agricultural technology adoption: Evidence from randomized experiment in Uganda presented by Oluwatoba Omotilewa of Purdue University; and Patterns of Poverty in South Africa: A Mixed-Methods Investigation presented by: Rocco Zizzamia, University of Oxford.
Professor Augustin Fosu of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana, was awarded the Elsevier Atlas Award for his paper ‘Growth, inequality, and poverty reduction in developing countries: Recent global evidence’ in a special ceremony at the Conference. Prof. Fosu is editor-in-chief of the Journal of African Trade (Elsevier) and is co-managing editor of the Journal of African Economies (Oxford).
The Chief Economist of DFID, Rachel Glennerster gave the Keynote Speech titled ‘Using evidence to inform policy’ in which she exhorted economists to draw on a rich variety of multiple studies and data sources to inform theory-driven policy recommendations.
The CSAE Visiting Fellowship 2019 was also launched during the conference. It is open to citizens of all countries in Africa, and supports a two month residency in Oxford, including flights, accommodation, and a small stipend. It will be held during January to March 2019, and successful applicants will work on a specific piece of work during the Oxford University term, attend seminars and the CSAE conference.
The fellowship aims to facilitate collaboration, as well as to foster research and teaching excellence in African institutions and in The University of Oxford. The fellowship is for a duration of 4-6 weeks, to be taken up from July to September, 2018.
Fellows will be provided with accommodation, meals and temporary membership of Senior Common Rooms at their host colleges for the period of residency. The fellowship will also include airfare, visa fees and a maintenance allowance.
Applicants should be legal residents of an African country, holding an appointment in an academic or research institution in an African country. They may already have established links with an Oxford collaborator or, alternatively, can search the AfOx database for potential collaborators and contact them before making the application.
Application Deadline: Midnight, 11th March, 2018.
For more details, FAQs and to apply, visit: www.afox.ox.ac.uk/afox-visiting-fellows-program/
The Development in Africa with Radio Astronomy (DARA) project, supported by the UK’s Newton Fund through the University of Namibia (UNAM) and Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST), recently concluded their two week Radio Astronomy training programme.
Dr Michael Backes, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Physics at the University of Namibia explained that the SKA radio astronomy project is one of the biggest astronomical projects in the world. “The first phase of the SKA project is to build telescope dishes all over South Africa, and the second phase is to go across the borders and build dishes in the African partnering countries” he said, “From the experience in South Africa, we are aware that it takes roughly 10 years to build a human capacity base needed for the project, and this workshop is part early on capacity building, needed for SKA phase two, which is expected to start in roughly ten years from now”.
The participants of the two weeks training programme were graduates and postgraduate students in physics, electronics engineering, and computer science from BIUST, Namibia University of Science and Technology, University of Botswana and UNAM. The training was conducted by Professor Garret Cotter from the University of Oxford, supported by two of his PhD students. The Namibian and Botswanan students will be invited to South Africa for a 4 week hands-on training at the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory before taking a 2 week training in data analysis conducted in Botswana.
In this video, he speaks about how he got into medical research, opportunities for research careers in Africa and more.
Sir Charles holds a number of leadership positions across the research and policy arenas. He is a member of the AfOx Steering Committee, part of Target Malaria, a multi-university consortium of researchers working on the control of the mosquitoes that transmit malaria in Africa, Chair of the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Science Advisory Council, a Trustee Director of Rothamstead Research and a Trustee of the Food Foundation, as well as sitting on a number of other scientific advisory committees.
I want to talk about Georg as my supervisor and my mentor. I know I do this from a position of authority because I am speaking about my own experience, but I believe I speak for many students of Georg. I also remember Georg as a scholar.
It was, in fact, Georg who made me think of Oxford as a possibility for my DPhil. I had heard him present a paper at SOAS, and the content of his presentation, together with the way he handled his sources, struck me as a style that I would want to use in my own work for the DPhil. The paper that Georg presented was a sort of local perspective on global reality. He had gathered his material from a small street in Zanzibar called Soko Muhogo (literally meaning “Cassava Market”). Georg had spent time at Soko Muhogo, learning from the residents, interviewing some of them, and gathering any written material that emanated from there. He made a genuine effort to see global reality from the perspective of Soko Muhogo. In the end, the people of Soko Muhogo were presented as active participants in that global reality—they had been shaped by realities far beyond their small street and, at the same time, they had shaped those same realities in their own small ways. At Soko Muhogo, the global mingled with the local.
When I sent Georg an email asking for his opinion about my project, his response was immediate and, as I would discover later, quite characteristic of him—a one-liner: “Why can’t you come over for lunch!” Respectful and personal, his response helped me drop all the fears and reservations that I had about Oxford; he helped me realize that I could actually have lunch with the scholars at Oxford! He that way, he initiated a relationship that was at the same time academic, friendly, personal, supportive, and empowering.
As my supervisor, Georg was my first human contact with the “University of Oxford,” which I found to be fairly nebulous as an institutional structure that holds together colleges, faculties, schools, and so many other things. Dealing with me personally, he helped me strategize. I wanted to graduate in the shortest time possible; I sat down with him and agreed on how that might happen. He often proposed seminars that I might attend, persons that I might talk to, and even some of his own tutorials with other students that I might simply audit. Moreover, more than anything else, Georg gave me the freedom to pursue my dream. I only needed to tell him what I was about to do and go through a brief session of his usually highly informed criticism, then I would be ready to go. The next thing would be to submit to him a piece of written work. This he would return within a week, usually with critical comments and affirming compliments. I never left his office feeling that I had done a horrible thing and that I had to start all over again, and this is not because my work was always brilliant; it is because Georg had a way of being critically affirmative, and that in a very personal way. I always left his office full of ideas of what more I could do to develop that chapter further, to re-phrase that statement, to re-conceptualize that section, or even to re-interpret that document. I left Georg’s office feeling optimistic about new possibilities.
So, I remember Georg as my supervisor, and I have been marked by his style of doing supervision—more of empowering the student than of directing him or her. Georg always made sure that my thesis remained my project, not his!
Besides, I remember Georg as a scholar, who had an incredible capacity to read and synthesize all that he read so that, ultimately, it had a bearing on each one of his opinions and comments. If Georg defended his opinion strongly, it is because he worked hard to inform himself before he took a position. And, as in the experience of Soko Muhogo, Georg paid attention to the small details that might be ignored by others. This, too, is something that has marked me personally. Above everything else, it has made me like books and, more generally, documents. As a result, collecting and preserving books and documents has actually become my career.
Currently I am directing a project called “Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa,” based in Nairobi, Kenya. This is a research facility where we maintain a good Africana library and archives. We collect books and other relevant documents and create an environment where researchers can come in and use the material for free. This project is only five years old now. Before we started, I discussed the project with Georg. He was enthusiastically supportive of the idea and even thought he would be happy to work there! In 2014 he visited me in Nairobi and saw for himself the small progress we had made. He remained supportive to the end. He eventually bequeathed his collection to the Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa, and, as I speak to you now, the books are already on their way to Nairobi.
We have decided that Georg’s books and all the other documents that he gave to the institute will be preserved there as a special collection in his memory. We will ensure that they are properly preserved, then made accessible to researchers of Africa in Africa, and that all those who will make use of them will always know who donated them to us. We hope in this way to make Georg’s memory alive and to continue his passion for African history.
The Scholarship will commence in the 2018/19 academic year and will be the the name of the Ooni of Ife, and will be open to African Students wishing to pursue an MSc African Studies.
The Ooni, in a speech, commended Wale Adebanwi for his achievement in being appointed the first black African head of the African Studies Centre, and the first black African Rhodes Professor of Race Relations at Oxford saying “As the Arole Oodua and Spiritual Leader of Yorubaland, I congratulate Professor Wale Adebanwi and I am very happy to be associated with you and African Studies Centre of Oxford University”
He also spoke about the need to unite Africa, and insisted that “Africa must become a place of pride and we must join hands to make it happen. There was nothing like Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, South Africa before, we used to be one single people of one humanity, one race, and one source with several Kingdoms.”
All applications must be submitted via the Electronic Application System by 12.30 (GMT) on 11 December 2017 at the latest.