Recent months were busy times for Economics Professor Karl Wohlmuth. He guided the project “Festschrift Anniversary of Thirty Years (1989-2019) of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook”. The Festschrift was finalized as a first edition in November 2020, and the second edition appeared in January 2021. The University of Bremen has republished the Festschrift as a major document on its media platform. The number of contributors to the Festschrift was very high, and the response to make recommendations for a further quality increase was great. It was proposed to move with the Yearbook to an open access system; negotiations are now underway. A great number of suggestions came in to make the Yearbook a real platform for success stories and sustainable reforms in Africa. It was decided by the Research Group on African Development Perspectives Bremen to publish a Festschrift, as a physical celebration of the Thirty Years Anniversary was not possible because of COVID-19.
Professor Wohlmuth and the editors of volume 22 (2020/21) of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook have in the meantime finalized the new volume. It is now in the process of publication. The new volume has two Units with twelve chapters and a further Unit with book reviews and book notes. Professor Wohlmuth and the team of Unit Editors have introduced the content of all the three Units. The volume is quite relevant as the theme “Sustainable Development Goal Nine and African Development” touches issues of promoting industrialization, developing infrastructure, and building innovation capacity in Africa. Also, the Research Group on African Development Perspectives Bremen has released in December 2020 the new call for papers for volume 23 (2022) on “Business Opportunities, Start-ups and Digital Transformation in Africa”. A Unit on “COVID-19 and repurposing industries in Africa” and Units with country cases of digital transformation and digital entrepreneurship are envisaged. There is already great interest to become part of the new Yearbook project.
Professor Reuben A. Alabi from the Department of Agricultural Economics at Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria has finalized important research work for international and regional African organizations, and for the Yearbook in cooperation with Professor Wohlmuth. Also, a major research report by the two professors came out on “Waste Management Policies in Nigeria and Germany”, with a focus on the municipalities of Lagos and Bremen. Professor Alabi has also finalized a study on “Financial innovations and agricultural development in Nigeria”. The study is part of his research programme “Environment and Development Management Nigeria-Germany”. He will now take up again his duties as a full professor of agricultural economics at Ambrose Alli University in Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria. In the Festschrift “Thirty Years Anniversary of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook” he gave an account of the role the Yearbook has played for enhancing reforms in Africa. Professor Alabi will continue his work as co-editor of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook.
Professor Wohlmuth was active in evaluating applications for professorship, research manuscripts, and international study programmes. He was again appointed as a member of a promotions committee for professors (associate and full professors) at a university in Michigan, USA. He did reviews for development economics and environmental economics journals. He evaluated international study programmes in Tajikistan. This work was possible only in the form of virtual meetings, what limits considerably real evaluations. Tajikistan is reforming its study programmes also in the field of economics. The study programmes related to economics and business studies in Tajikistan intend to support also the research component, especially so in the direction of increasing the competitiveness of the Tadjik economy. It was found out during the meetings that more international cooperation of teachers and researchers and higher financial support for individual research programmes are quite necessary. While the leading staff persons of the universities in Tajikistan are linked to the government offices and/or the traditional elites, the young teachers and researchers are mobile, motivated, mostly English-speaking, and interested to cooperate with universities in countries of the European Union and with universities in other geo-political regions (USA, China, Russia, India).
The Government of Bremen is on the move to develop a new “Innovation Strategy for the Country State of Bremen 2030” to replace the outdated Innovation Programme 2020 and the Cluster Strategy 2020. Professor Wohlmuth works on the issues of innovation and technology policy of Bremen since the 1980s when his institute produced a handbook “Bremen as a location for high technology industries”. In recent months, Professor Wohlmuth has contributed essays on new innovation policies for Bremen to support in this way a new innovation strategy for Bremen. The COVID-19-crisis gave an additional push for reforms of innovation policies as many industries in Bremen are severely affected, because leading cluster industries (space and aircraft industries, automotive sector, logistics and transport industry, tourism, and others) have to overcome the crisis in the medium- to long-term. The main issue is to combine new cluster and innovation strategies with a strategy to navigate the industries out of the COVID-19-crisis. The Professor has emphasized five elements of an action programme for Bremen (institutional reform component; strengthening the regional innovation system; value-added-focussed and employment-oriented component; further developing the health, medical support, and care sector; and supporting digitalization).
Professor Karl Wohlmuth has accepted the offer of the University of Bremen Archives (Universitätsarchiv) to transmit a considerable part of his scientific research and teaching fundus, with materials classified on eight categories (first, Teaching Projects since 1971; second, Integrated Introductory Study Programmes in the 1970s; third, Research and Consulting Activities on Sudan 1978-2021; fourth, Researches on African Development since the 1970s, Consulting on Africa since the 1980s, and Editing/Publishing the African Development Perspectives Yearbook since 1989; fifth, Shaping the development of the Faculty of Economics and Business Studies since 1971; sixth, Organising the research, teaching, advisory, and training activities as the Director of the World Economy Research Group since the 1970s and of the IWIM/Institute for World Economics and International Management since 1987; seventh, Developing the international cooperation projects since 1971 for the University of Bremen, for the Faculty of Economics and Business Studies, and for IWIM; and eighth, Documenting the personal development and the career of Karl Wohlmuth since the 1960s). Professor Wohlmuth celebrates in September 2021 50 years as professor of comparative economic systems at the University of Bremen, as he moved to the new university in September 1971. He came from the Institute for the Theory of Economic Policy at the FU of Berlin after work periods in Vienna and in Linz, Austria. He was part of a small group of professors who were in the first weeks of the new university appointed in meetings of the whole Senate of the Country State of Bremen, while months later the calls to Bremen and the appointments of professors were done by the Senator of Education and Science. An audio file of an interview with Professor Karl Wohlmuth about his life, his scientific work, and his experiences at the University of Bremen is also available in the University of Bremen Archives.
Das Land Bremen ist dabei, die „Innovationstrategie Land Bremen 2030“ in den nächsten Wochen fertigzustellen. Ein umfassender Strategieprozess ist seit Monaten im Gange. Dazu finden sich bemerkenswerte Aussagen der Initiatoren (vgl.: https://www.bremen-innovativ.de/innovationsstrategie-2030/):
“Im Jahr 2030 wird unsere Welt eine andere sein. Digitale Technologien wie die künstliche Intelligenz werden alltäglich in Industrie und Dienstleistungsbranchen eingesetzt, Fahrzeuge mit grünem Wasserstoff betrieben. Soziales Unternehmertum geht gesellschaftliche Herausforderungen neu an. Branchengrenzen verschwimmen zunehmend und der Wandel wird zu unserem stetigen Begleiter.
Eine Zukunftsvision, an der heute schon gearbeitet wird. Denn was wir heute behutsam pflanzen, wächst morgen kräftig heran. Das Land Bremen will überall, wo an diesen Veränderungen gearbeitet wird, zielgerichtet unterstützen und entwickelt dazu eine „Innovationsstrategie 2030“. Diese bezieht wichtige Zukunftstrends mit ein: das Älterwerden unserer Gesellschaft, die Digitalisierung oder die Energiewende, um nur einige zu nennen. Die Strategie soll zu einer Grundlage für künftige Entscheidungen im Land Bremen werden. Zum Beispiel in der Förderung innovativer Unternehmen durch das Land und die Europäische Union.“
Ein umfassender Planungsprozess ist in Gang gesetzt worden, und wichtige Akteure aus Wirtschaft, Wissenschaft, Politik und Gesellschaft sind beteiligt. Obwohl es schon über mehrere Jahre Überlegungen gibt, das aktuelle Innovationsprogramm 2020 und die Clusterstrategie 2020 weiterzuentwickeln, wird nun seit Juli 2020 intensiv an der Fertigstellung der neuen Strategie gearbeitet; im April 2021 soll die Strategie vorliegen. Nach einer Bestandsaufnahme wurde ein partizipativer Strategieprozess eröffnet und im April 2021 soll die bereits abgestimmte Strategie vorliegen (vgl. zu diesem Prozess die verschiedenen Hintergrundpapiere und Stellungnahmen: https://www.bremen-innovativ.de/innovationsstrategie-2030/; https://www.bremen-innovativ.de/hintergrundwissen-innovationsstrategie-2030/; https://automotive-nordwest.de/online-auftaktveranstaltung-innovationsstrategie-land-bremen-2030/; https://www.senatspressestelle.bremen.de/detail.php?gsid=bremen146.c.345782.de&asl=bremen146.c.19206.de; und ein relevanter Beitrag der Arbeitnehmerkammer von Steffen Gabriel aus dem Bericht zur Lage 2019: https://arbeitnehmerkammer.de/fileadmin/user_upload/Downloads/Jaehrliche_Publikationen/Lagebericht_2019_Gabriel_Innovationsstrategie.pdf). Die Kommentare der wichtigen Akteure in Bremen zeigen, dass nicht nur die Innovationsstrategie des Landes auf den Prüfstand muss, sondern praktisch alle Strukturprogramme des Landes neu vermessen werden müssen (Strukturkonzept, Masterplan Industrie, Maritimes Aktionsprogramm und Hafenkonzept, Wissenschaftskonzept, Fachkräftestrategie, EU-Strategie, Umwelt- und Nachhaltigkeitsstrategie, etc.).
Die meisten dieser Programme sind bereits im Jahr 2010 oder kurz danach vorgelegt worden. Es ist daher Eile geboten. Der Zeitfaktor spielt eine immer größere Rolle bei der Nutzung von Wachstumschancen. Erstens beschleunigen sich die globalen technologischen Entwicklungen rasant, und die Digitalisierung ist nicht nur ein nützliches Instrument, sondern zunehmend auch ein integraler Bestandteil der weiteren wissenschaftlichen und technologischen Entwicklung. Zweitens zeigt die COVID-19-Krise schon jetzt Langzeitfolgen für die Wirtschaftsstruktur in Bremen, denn die Navigation aus der Krise erfordert strategisches und taktisches Geschick, und zwar auf der Basis von Projektionen und Szenarien der Strukturentwicklung. In mehreren Beiträgen wurde bereits in Bremen auf diese Herausforderungen aufmerksam gemacht (vgl. vor allem die Universität Bremen/HWWI-Studie 2020: HWWI Policy Paper 128).
Jetzt liegt auch eine Studie von Professor Karl Wohlmuth vor, die in der Reihe „Globalisierung der Weltwirtschaft“ des IWIM als Band Nummer 45 erschienen ist. Der Titel der Studie „Die Innovationspolitik in Bremen – Herausforderungen durch die globalen Technologietrends und COVID-19“ verweist auf die neuen Herausforderungen und Schwerpunkte, die bei der „Innovationsstrategie Land Bremen 2030“ berücksichtigt werden sollten. Die Studie ist als Band 45 in der Reihe „Globalisierung der Weltwirtschaft“ erscheinen und ist als Download verfügbar (http://www.iwim.uni-bremen.de/weisse_reihe/). In der Studie werden in einem ersten Teil die Trends der globalen technologischen Entwicklung diskutiert, und zwar auf dem Hintergrund der Beschleunigung des gesamten Digitalisierungsprozesses. In einem zweiten Teil wird auf das Innovationsprogramm 2020 und auf die Clusterstrategie 2020 des Landes Bremen eingegangen, und es werden die Faktoren erläutert, die bei einer neuen Innovationsstrategie 2030 nun berücksichtigt werden sollten. In einem dritten Teil wird auf Handlungsfelder Bezug genommen, die dazu beitragen könnten, die Resilienz der bremischen Wirtschaft zu erhöhen. Fünf strategische Handlungsfelder werden für Bremen ausgewiesen. Die Studie ist auch als PDF verfügbar (Wohlmuth-Die Erneuerung - 2020).
The Festschrift contains various statements and chapters to celebrate the work over 30 years. In Foreword and Acknowledgements by Professor Dr. Karl Wohlmuth the history of the Yearbook project is presented. The Statements by the University of Bremen for the Press (in English and German) inform about the character of the annual publication on Africa and about the ambitions for the future work of the Research Group.
In Chapter 1: How did It Start: The Research Group on African Development Perspectives Bremen and the Formative Years of the Yearbook, there is a description of the work of the Research Group on African Development Perspectives Bremen and an essay by the co- founder of the Yearbook project Professor Dr. Robert Kappel, Professor at Leipzig University, Leipzig, Germany, and former president of GIGA, Hamburg, Germany about “The Formative Years of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook”.
In Chapter 2: What were the Topics: Thirty Years (1989 - 2019) of Africa’s Development and the African Development Perspectives Yearbook, there is for all volumes a short description of the Selected Theme, the Content of the Volume, the Highlights of the Volume, the Cover of the Book, and information about the Units of the Volume.
In Chapter 3: Who Did Cooperate and Why: The Statements of Supporters, Editors, Contributors, Reviewers, there is a great number of statements by cooperants to give an account of their affiliation with the Yearbook and with the Research Group, specifically about the type, the years, and the forms of cooperation, the main messages for and the impressions about the Yearbook, and the Proposals for the Future of the Yearbook.
In Chapter 4: How to prepare for the Future: Proposals for important Themes, changes of Format, and the adaptation of the Working Procedures we find a Statement by the Managing Editor of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook, Professor Dr. Tobias Knedlik, University of the Applied Sciences Fulda, and Research Professor IWH Halle, Germany, and a Statement by the Book Reviews and Book Notes Editor of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook, Professor Dr. Samia Satti Osman Mohamed Nour, Full Professor at the University of Khartoum, Sudan and member of numerous international research and advisory institutions. Also, the Key Pillars of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook are considered to answer the question: What should be preserved? Then, there is a presentation about The Future of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook: What should be changed?
Finally, the Festschrift contains information about accessing all the volumes and how to contact the editorial group; this is found under the title: The African Development Perspectives Yearbook: Information to access the volumes. This part has also relevant information about Websites, Contact, Wikipedia entry about the Yearbook, and the Imprint.
The Research Group on African Development Perspectives Bremen is presenting soon the volume 22 for 2020/2021 about “SDG 9 and Africa” (see the entry on the homepage) and has submitted an International Call for Papers for Volume 23 (2022) on the theme “Business Opportunities, Start-ups and Digital Transformation in Africa” (see the entry on the homepage). There is already great interest in reading volume 22 (2020/2021) and to become part of the new Yearbook project for volume 23/2022 (see the entry on the homepage: https://www.karl-wohlmuth.de/african_development_perspectives_yearbook/). The International Call for Papers for volume 23 (2022) is available as a PDF: International Call for Papers Volume 23).
In der Studie „Struktureller Umbruch durch COVID-19 - Implikationen für die Innovationspolitik im Land Bremen“ findet sich auch der Beitrag der drei Entwicklungsökonomen und Professoren Hans-Heinrich Bass, Robert Kappel und Karl Wohlmuth zu dem Thema „Veränderte weltwirtschaftliche Rahmenbedingungen für wirtschaftspolitisches Handeln in Bremen“ (Kapitel 9). Die von der Universität Bremen und vom HWWI (Hamburgisches WeltWirtschaftsInstitut) im Jahr 2020 herausgegebene Studie geht in 9 Kapiteln auf die Herausforderungen für Bremen durch COVID-19 ein (HWWI Policy Paper 128). In vier Teilen der Studie werden Themen wie Innovation und Gründungsgeschehen; Urbane Entwicklung und Nachhaltigkeitsinnovation; Finanzwissenschaftliche Aspekte; und Globale Märkte und Wertschöpfungsketten abgehandelt. Aus unterschiedlichen wissenschaftlichen und politischen Perspektiven werden die Implikationen für die Innovationspolitik in Bremen abgehandelt, die sich aus der COVID-19-Krise ergeben. Im Beitrag in Kapitel 9 (Veränderte weltwirtschaftliche Rahmenbedingungen für wirtschaftspolitisches Handeln in Bremen) wird auf fünf Gruppen von weltwirtschaftlichen Veränderungen eingegangen (Globale Technologietrends; Globalisierung 4.0; Globaler Wettbewerb der Wirtschaftsräume; Globale Makroökonomie und internationale Finanzmärkte; und Globale ökonomische Ungleichheiten und Armut). In einem Fazit wird erläutert, was in Bremen beachtet werden muss und wie die Innovations- und Wirtschaftspolitik reagieren kann.
Die Studie ist im November 2020 erschienen und hat bereits große Aufmerksamkeit in Fachkreisen gefunden. Es zeigt sich, dass das Land Bremen die Aufgabe ernst nimmt, die Strukturen der Wirtschaft und auch die Wissenschaftslandschaft an die neuen Realitäten der Weltwirtschaft durch COVID-19 anzupassen. Die Konrektorin der Universität Bremen, Prof. Dr. Jutta Günther, und der Leiter der Bremer Niederlassung des HWWI, Dr. Jan Wedemeier, betonten in einem Pressegespräch die Bedeutung der Studie für die Reform der bremischen Wirtschafts-, Struktur- und Innovationspolitik. An der Studie haben, wie der Fachbereich Wirtschaftswissenschaft der Universität Bremen betont, 18 Ökonominnen und Ökonomen mitgewirkt.
Zugang zur Studie und Einschätzungen: ECONSTOR: https://www.econstor.eu/handle/10419/226491?locale=de; HWWI: https://www.hwwi.org/publikationen/policy-paper/publikationen-einzelansicht/struktureller-umbruch-durch-covid-19-implikationen-fuer-die-innovationspolitik-im-land-bremen.html?no_cache=1; Research Gate: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/346037358_Struktureller_Umbruch_durch_COVID-19_Implikationen_fur_die_Innovationspolitik_im_Land_Bremen; Presseportal Universität Bremen: https://www.presseportal.de/pm/100150/4755466; Hochschulkommunikation und -marketing der Universität Bremen: https://www.uni-bremen.de/universitaet/hochschulkommunikation-und-marketing/aktuelle-meldungen/detailansicht/covid-19-brennglas-fuer-innovationspolitik-und-strukturwandel-in-bremen; Fachbereich Wirtschaftswissenschaft der Universität Bremen: https://www.uni-bremen.de/wiwi/news/detailansicht/18-oekonominnen-und-oekonomen-eine-studie-folgen-der-corona-pandemie-fuer-die-wirtschaft-im-land-bremen-1
Der Bremer Wirtschaftsprofessor Karl Wohlmuth hat einen Teilaspekt aus seiner Forschungsarbeit für die oben erwähnte Studie zwischenzeitlich vertieft. Er befasste sich in einer längeren Arbeit mit den Auswirkungen der globalen Technologietrends und der COVID-19-Krise auf die Reform der Innovationspolitik des Landes Bremen (die „Innovationsstrategie Land Bremen 2030“ wird von der Senatorin für Wirtschaft, Arbeit und Europa in den nächsten Wochen fertiggestellt), Die Studie von Professor Wohlmuth ist als PDF und als Download verfügbar (vgl. die PDF Wohlmuth-Die Erneuerung und/oder eine leicht veränderte Fassung in der Reihe „Globalisierung der Weltwirtschaft“ des IWIM, Nummer 45: http://www.iwim.uni-bremen.de/weisse_reihe/).
The African Development Perspectives Yearbook, Volume 22(2020/2021) with the title “Sustainable Development Goal Nine and African Development – Challenges and Opportunities” is now finalized by the publisher. The Volume 22 (2020/2021) focusses on the relevance of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 9 (“Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation") for Africa’s development. In three Units key issues in the context of SDG 9 and its eight targets and twelve indicators are analysed at the continental level and in country case studies.
Unit 1 presents in four essays the African continental perspectives and achievements - on developing productive capacities towards sustainable industrialization, supporting frugal innovations for bottom-of-the pyramid households, reorganising commodity-based industrialization through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, and making foreign direct investment work for inclusive growth and sustainable industrialisation.
Unit 2 presents six essays which are focussing on aspects of the eight targets of SDG 9. Two essays discuss perspectives of agro-industrial development and of financial innovations for Sudan and Nigeria; two essays consider the future of renewable energy projects in urban and rural areas of Nigeria and Cameroon; and two further essays analyse the importance of the roads system in Sudan for structural transformation and the role of sustainable mining activities in support of social infrastructure for Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Unit 3 presents book reviews and book notes in the context of SDG 9, classified around 11 categories. Reviewed are publications on SDG 9 and interlinkages with other SDGs, global and regional reports of relevance for Africa and/or coming from Africa, and new books on African Studies.
Volume 22 of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook is the first comprehensive publication on the relevance of SDG 9 for African development. See the focus on SDG 9 in the United Nations system: https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/envision2030-goal9.html, by UNDP: https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals/goal-9-industry-innovation-and-infrastructure.html, by the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs: https://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/space4sdgs/sdg9.html, and by The Global Goals initiative: https://www.globalgoals.org/9-industry-innovation-and-infrastructure. Also in and for Africa SDG 9 is intensively researched now by UNIDO: https://www.unido.org/who-we-are/unido-and-sdgs/africa-and-sdg-9; by UNDP: https://www.africa.undp.org/content/rba/en/home/sustainable-development-goals/goal-9-industry-innovation-and-infrastructure.html; by the SDG Philanthropy Platform: https://www.sdgphilanthropy.org/SDG-9-in-Africa-by-2030; and by the Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network: https://s3.amazonaws.com/sustainabledevelopment.report/2020/2020_africa_index_and_dashboards.pdf. The new study by the Research Group on African Development Perspectives Bremen is presenting in Volume 22 (2020/2021) a collection of analytic essays and country case studies.
In the meantime, a Festschrift was published at the occasion of the 30 years anniversary of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook (1989-2019). A second edition was just released (see: Wohlmuth-Festschrift Thirty Years). It contains information about the formative years of the project, a description of the volumes over the thirty years by themes, messages and highlights, and comments and statements by contributors, supporters, and editors. Also, the new International Call for Papers for volume 23 (2022) was released some weeks ago (see: International Call for Papers Volume 23). Over the years, the African Development Perspectives Yearbook became the leading annual English-language publication on Africa in Germany.
Invited are contributions for Volume 23 (2022) of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook with the title “Business Opportunities, Start-ups and Digital Transformation in Africa” (International Call for Papers Volume 23, 2022). The contributions should be evidence-based and policy-oriented. High academic standards are requested and will be reviewed by referees. Non-technical papers with deep analysis, which are readable by practitioners in development cooperation and by media people, have a high priority in the selection process. The analytical concept of the proposed contribution and the methodological framework of analysis should be outlined in the Abstract which is submitted to the Editors.
The theme for volume 23 (2022) on “Business Opportunities, Start-ups and Digital Transformation in Africa” is related to the ongoing global digital transformation, with impacts on productive sectors and the society also in Africa. African countries are differently advancing in the process of digital transformation, and some countries are even leading in this process by presenting digital solutions to current problems as we can see now in the COVID-19 crisis. The COVID-19 crisis reveals that health systems, education systems, government structures, financial services, and manufacturing processes are impacted by the digital transformation. Digital platforms give access to medical innovations, give information about hygiene advice, and provide for local availability of health protection utensils so that those living in remote rural areas and in semi-urban areas can also be reached. Those who are working in informal sector occupations get also access to digital media. In manufacturing sectors, we see a process of repurposing of industries towards basic goods for protecting people from COVID-19. We also encourage contributions along these lines.
The volume 23 (2022) of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook will cover three main issues:
First, the new business opportunities created by the digital transformation will be reviewed. Consumers, producers, traders, and entrepreneurs benefit from the new business opportunities. New products, new services, new forms of cooperation, and new supply chains emerge.
Second, the digital transformation increases the number of start-ups and venture capital funds in Africa. All types of start-ups are growing rapidly in Africa, and digital entrepreneurship is advancing not only in technology hubs but in all areas where Internet access is given. The many emerging start-ups (in all productive sectors and in all branches of digital transformation) and finance institutions (from venture capital funds to impact, innovation and technology funds) are important for employment creation, structural transformation, poverty reduction, and the connection to local, regional and global markets.
Third, there are longer-term implications of the digital transformation for the productive sectors, mainly for manufacturing sectors and for agribusiness. But there are also strong impacts on services and administration sub-sectors.
It is an intention to publish in volume 23 country-specific, company-specific and sector-specific digital transformation cases, company success stories, but also analytic essays on the perspectives of the “fourth industrial revolution” for Africa and on the impacts of “globalization 4.0” on Africa. It is also of great interest to see how informal sectors can become part of the core economy in Africa through the digital transformation. COVID-19 is affecting the pace of the digital transformation in Africa, and this process needs to be documented.
The Book Reviews/Book Notes Editor (Professor Samia Nour, University of Khartoum) invites authors, research institutes and publishers to send books, discussion papers, documents, and journals for review. The material should be related to the theme of volume 23 (2022).
To get an overview of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook project please look at the links: http://www.iwim.uni-bremen.de/africa/africanyearbook.htm, and: https://www.karl-wohlmuth.de/african_development_perspectives_yearbook/.
Digital transformation already changes the ways and means of manufacturing production in Africa. In this study, major issues of Africa’s technological efforts and capabilities are discussed in the context of the severe employment crisis and the ongoing digital transformation. First, the study introduces into the key concepts which are now of relevance in the context of manufacturing sectors, namely measuring technological efforts and capabilities in Africa, assessing structural change and employment in Africa, and analysing the progress of digital transformation in Africa. So far, the impact of digital transformation on the building of technological capabilities is under-researched, as is the impact on structural change and employment. It is understood that more clarity with regard of concepts and definitions is needed to support the policymakers. Second, evidence is presented on the extent of Africa’s technological heterogeneity, on the progress in different dimensions of digital transformation, and on the implications for structural change and employment creation of the ongoing digital transformation. The extent of Africa’s technological heterogeneity and the progress of Africa’s digital transformation are highlighted by using appropriate indexes and indicators. The role of technology development and technology diffusion for structural change and employment creation in times of digital transformation is discussed; the new conditions for the accumulation of technological capabilities in Africa are assessed. Accumulation of technological capabilities and participation in the digital transformation are key for sustainable manufacturing sector developments in Africa; in this context country case studies (Tunisia, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa) highlight important aspects of the potential benefits derived from digital transformation. Third, the impact of global techno-economic changes on manufacturing in Africa in times of digital transformation is reviewed, and the available options for building and accumulating technological capabilities are presented. A wider concept of capabilities is needed for Africa to be able to participate in the global digital transformation, by incorporating technological capabilities (how to engineer and to produce), innovation capabilities (how to organize processes of change), and ICT capabilities (how to store and to process data). Developing technological capabilities in the context of ICT capabilities and innovation capabilities matters for local and regional domestic firms and as well for foreign-owned enterprises in Africa. Examples brought in the study show that African countries and firms can react pro-actively to these global changes. Fourth, some policy recommendations and conclusions are following the analytical part of the working paper.
Source of Photo: Tony Blair Institute For Global Change; accessed from: https://institute.global/advisory/adapting-4ir-africas-development-age-automation
Manufacturing in Africa is affected differently by various elements and forms of digital transformation. Informal and formal manufacturing firms are affected differently; agro-based and resource-based industries are also affected differently; and the same is true for high technology, medium technology, low technology, and service industries. This means that industry policies have to look at the particular segment of firms. Digital transformation also allows for “green growth” and “green industrialization” patterns of change in Africa. Environmentally-sound technologies impact on agriculture, industry, and services sectors. Examples are presented in the study for such sectors also in the form of boxes. It is also good news that informal manufacturing firms in Africa can also benefit from the effects of the digital transformation on technological capabilities, innovation capabilities, and ICT capabilities. Cases of Nigerian informal sector firms in the automotive components, transport vehicle, and ICT hardware industry show this new trend which is associated with the digital transformation. Cases of Tunisian small informal and formal sector firms in textiles and garments, electronic and electric components, optical and medical products, waste management, renewable energy management, and in agro-business sectors show a similar trend. For South Africa, we see an impact of digital competences over many sectors with small and middle formal and informal firms, such as in mining, in agro-industries, and in service industries. It is also discussed in the study how employment creation and skills development are related to the trend of digital transformation. There is a spread of digital skills all over Africa, and digital entrepreneurship ecosystems are developing quickly, such as in Kenya. Digital hubs play an increasing role in Africa and combine the activities of researchers, of small and middle firms, and of start-ups. But, the progress is uneven, as we can see from the location of digital hubs which are found in many places of Africa; but we see a concentration of such hubs in some few countries, such as in Kenya. Digital skills impact considerably on employment creation, on the development of firms and start-ups, and on the growth of entrepreneurship; the spread of these skills transforms the manufacturing sectors widely in Africa. A new base for manufacturing development is created through digital transformation, also by using open innovation platforms in a cooperation between public and private research & development centres, start-ups, local and global customers, foreign direct investors, and African domestic firms.
Bibliographic Information (on two versions of the study):
Wohlmuth, Karl, 2019, Technological Capabilities, Structural Change, Employment and Digital Transformation, pages 3-53, in: Berichte, 29, Jg., Nr. 215, 2019 / II, ISSN 1022-3258, Thema des Heftes: Mut zur Unabhängigkeit: Afrika, Ukraine, Moldawien; Forschungsinstitut der Internationalen Wissenschaftlichen Vereinigung Weltwirtschaft und Weltpolitik (IWVWW) e. V., Berlin
Wohlmuth, Karl, 2019, Technological Development, Structural Change and Digital Transformation in Africa, 73 pages,
Berichte aus dem Weltwirtschaftlichen Colloquium der Universität Bremen, Nr. 128, Oktober 2019, ISSN 0948-3829, Hrsg.: IWIM/Institut für Weltwirtschaft und Internationales Management, Universität Bremen; Access: http://www.iwim.uni-bremen.de/blaue_reihe/
Project: Digital Transformation and Innovative Industrial Policies in Africa:
This is a research project supported by the Research Group on African Development Perspectives Bremen. Focus is on country experiences in manufacturing development in times of digital transformation for Tunisia, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and Sudan. Some studies with background material and project insights from cases in Africa are also published in volumes of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook (see: http://www.iwim.uni-bremen.de/index.php?content=345&lng=de, and: https://www.karl-wohlmuth.de/african_development_perspectives_yearbook/, and: https://www.lit-verlag.de/publikationen/reihen/african-development-perspectives-yearbook/?p=1). The volume of the Yearbook which is planned for the year 2022 will present Units and Contributions on “Business Opportunities, the Growth of Start-Ups, and the Digital Transformation in Africa”.
Professor Emeritus Karl Wohlmuth was very busy in recent months in research, evaluation and publication activities, but also as a lecturer in seminars and workshops.
Economics Professor Karl Wohlmuth was again called to cooperate with the Promotion’s Committee of the University of Khartoum, Sudan. The Committee invites External Assessors to prepare for the promotion to Full Professors and Associate Professors. The Faculty of Economics and Social Studies of the University of Khartoum had again proposed Karl Wohlmuth to assist in the promotion of a colleague. Professor Wohlmuth has already done such assessments prior to this assignment not only in Sudan, but also in similar Committees of Botswana, South Sudan, and Nigeria. The Committee of the University of Khartoum was several times calling the professor from Bremen to assist.
The Economics Editor of Routledge Publisher has again recruited Professor Wohlmuth to give an opinion on a book proposal on global technology and international development issues. The professor was several times asked by the Editor to give his advice. Also for refereed international development journals the professor is regularly asked to peer review manuscripts.
On Sudan and South Sudan, Karl Wohlmuth was writing encyclopaedic articles for an International Handbook on North Africa and the Near East about Sudan and South Sudan. The task was to balance an introductory text on economic, historical, social, political, and geographic issues. He has already contributed to various handbooks with articles about specific issues (such as trade and social policy) on Sudan and South Sudan. The International Handbook will be published in 2020. Karl Wohlmuth was also invited to share his knowledge and experience on Sudan/South Sudan with experts at the Foreign Office in Berlin, and he was invited to speak at the University of Mainz about the “Sudanese Revolution” since December 2018. Karl Wohlmuth has written widely about the economic philosophy and strategy of the Salvation Regime of Al-Bashir in Sudan. It is intended to write about the theme of the “Sudanese Revolution” along the lines of the lecture in Mainz. Professor Wohlmuth argues that six pillars of power centres and their interactions in politics have to be considered to make the “Sudanese Revolution” a sustainable success.
Professor Wohlmuth advises since 2015 the research programme of Professor Reuben A. Alabi at the Faculty of Economics and Business Studies in Bremen. Professor Reuben A. Alabi from the Alli Ambrose University in Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria, is researching in Bremen under a guest researcher agreement, but he is quite often travelling to his home university in Nigeria and to places in Africa to participate at workshops and seminars. Recently he was in Cape Town to join a research conference of African economists. He travels to Africa to cooperate with universities in Nigeria for the transfer of his research findings and to present his research findings at workshops which are organized by the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), which is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. AERC provides also generous research grants to the Nigerian professor. He was also Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Faculty of Economics and Business Studies. Professor Alabi is active on researching issues of agriculture development in Nigeria, focussing on agricultural value chain analyses, but he has also written a study, in cooperation with Professor Wohlmuth, on Waste Management Policies and Strategies in Nigeria in comparison with the Waste Management Policies and Strategies practised in Germany. The studies written by Professor Alabi are published through his international research networks, but also in the African Development Perspectives Yearbook, and in the White Series and Blue Series Working Papers of IWIM. He is co-editor of the Yearbook since around ten years.
Another guest professor, Professor Chunji Yun from Japan, who cooperates since many years with Professor Wohlmuth, has now presented some publications following from the research results of his study time at the Faculty of Economics and Business Studies at the University of Bremen between September 2017 and August 2018. He was researching in Bremen on macroeconomic effects on EU and Germany of global and regional value chains in automotive and electronics industries across Germany and the Visegrád countries (Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Hungary, and Poland). Professor Wohlmuth has supported the research programme as well as a prior research period of Professor Yun when he was working about “Japan and the Global and Regional Value Chains” for 18 months at IWIM in Bremen. He has published in the Book Series/Schriftenreihe of IWIM and in the White Series and Blue Series Working Papers of IWIM.
As the Chief Coordinator and Director of the Research Group on African Development Perspectives Bremen, Professor Karl Wohlmuth is responsible to edit, together with the Managing Editor Professor Tobias Knedlik from the Fulda University of Applied Sciences, the African Development Perspectives Yearbook. Professor Wohlmuth informed recently the public about an anniversary of the Yearbook Project. The volume for 2019 of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook was released by the LIT Verlag. As the first volume has appeared in 1989, the Yearbook Project has now a history of 30 years. Therefore it is time to celebrate the Anniversary of the year 2019; a programme for this event is worked out. The University of Bremen released a press information about the Yearbook Anniversary. The first issue of 1989 had as the theme “Human Dimensions of Adjustment”, while the issue for 2019 was on “Science, Technology and Innovation Policies for Inclusive Growth in Africa - Human Skills Development and Country Cases”. Research groups work now for the volume of 2020/21 on the theme “Sustainable Development Goal Nine and African Development - Challenges and Opportunities”. There are already plans for the 2022 volume. Focus will be on “Business Opportunities, Growth of Start-Ups, and Digital Transformation in Africa”.
Professor Wohlmuth was invited in February 2020 by the German Development Institute (DIE) in Bonn to participate at the International Conference on “Africa’s Employment Perspectives up to 2040”. This was a high-level event with key participants, speakers, and discussants. The DIE is now established as a high-rated global Think Tank. In contrast to the Asian employment creation strategies the policies for Africa to absorb annually more than 20 million people joining the labour force will be more complex.
Professor Wohlmuth participates from time to time at accreditation missions to evaluate international study programmes at universities in Germany. Recently he did this in Heidelberg, but other missions brought him to Berlin, Göttingen, Hannover, Wolfsburg, Giessen, and to other places. There is an increasing diversity of such programmes in Germany, what also means that foreign students are attracted more and more to such English-language programmes.
At the International Graduate Centre (IGC) of the University of Applied Sciences Bremen Professor Wohlmuth gives lectures at seminars for Chinese professional expert groups from provinces, autonomous regions, and major towns in the PR of China. He speaks about innovation policies in Bremen and he was also invited to speak about proposals for a European Belt and Road Initiative (analogues to the Chinese Belt and Road cross-border-project). The purpose of the European Belt and Road Initiative is to give Europe a new perspective of integration on the basis of a giant infrastructure project. The idea for such a project was developed by an international research institute in Vienna, Austria. In contrast to the Chinese project the European project would involve more companies from the countries involved, and so it could become a true multinational project with a fair distribution of benefits. The Corona Pandemic will however change the course of the project, but will not make it obsolete.
In a new research project of the Research Group on African Development Perspectives with the theme “Digital Transformation, Manufacturing Growth and Structural Change in Africa” Karl Wohlmuth has published two versions of a working paper on “Technological Capabilities, Structural Change, and Digital Transformation”. In the new research project which was preceded by consulting work for UNIDO, Karl Wohlmuth looks at the role of digital transformation for structural change and manufacturing growth in Africa, focussing mainly on countries like Tunisia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Sudan. Especially, the repercussions of the digital transformation on deindustrialization and reindustrialization will be investigated. Already, studies on Tunisia were made available.
When the Yearbook Series started in 1989 with a volume on “Human Dimensions of Adjustment” no one of the founders thought that this project would exist for thirty years and more. But now we can say that the demand for this Yearbook was continuously on the increase. The volumes became over time important additions to the literature on African Development Perspectives. We are proud to say that the African Development Perspectives Yearbook is now the leading English-language annual in Germany on Africa. The volumes are still organized around Units, comprising three to five essays, and each Unit is introduced by editors through a presentation of issues and strategies that follow from the messages of the essays. Each volume has a specific theme which is of utmost importance in the discussion about development policies for Africa. The editors still preserve this way of grouping the material, when presenting the analytical essays, the field studies, the documents, the reviews, the briefs and the notes.
We observe that some of the volumes which appeared in the 1990s and in the 2000s are again at the centre of policy discussions about Africa, just to mention “Good Governance and Economic Development” or “Industrialization based on Agricultural Development” or “Africa - Escaping the Primary Commodities Dilemma” or “Active Labour and Employment Policies in Africa”. It is interesting to see how relevant some of the proposals mentioned there still are in the policy discussion, and so they are cited again and again. These volumes are still sold and read, and the impact on the policymakers in Africa and at the global level encourages us to continue with the work for the Yearbook Project. The strong interest about the Yearbook themes follows the discussion about development strategies for Africa at global and regional levels. So, the launch of the Yearbook volume for 2015/16 on “Africa's Progress in Regional and Global Economic Integration – Towards Transformative Regional Integration” by UNECA in Kigali, Rwanda had a great effect; the messages and the lessons were taken up Africa-wide with great interest and recognition.
The new volumes for 2018 and 2019 are unique as they highlight a Science, Technology and Innovation (STI)-led development strategy for Africa (see the Cover of each volume below). The strategies developed are taking up African positions and proposals, but these are critically analysed and confronted with the “state of the art” analyses about global achievements with regard of STI and Inclusive Growth policies. Country cases play in all the volumes a great role. In these two volumes we have taken up country cases for Nigeria, Sudan, Cameroon, Tunisia, Mauritania, and Egypt. Some country cases are considered in a full Unit, like for Sudan, Nigeria, Egypt and Tunisia, others in the form of one or two essays (such as for Mauritania and Cameroon). The specific theme for a volume is also enriched by a full Unit on Book Reviews and Book Notes. All the relevant literature on global, regional, national and local issues is considered by reviewers who are working in the area of STI and Inclusive Growth policies.
Contributors, Editors, and Supporters of the Project will work on an Anniversary Festschrift on “Thirty Years (1989-2019) of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook” to highlight the achievements and main outcomes, the messages and lessons for policymakers, and to make proposals and plans to prepare for the future perspectives of the Yearbook project. The University of Bremen has supported the project now over more than three decades. A press report was prepared and issued by the Faculty of Economics and Business Studies and the University of Bremen (see it as a PDF FB 7 - Info Jahrbuch/Yearbook, and as a Link https://www.uni-bremen.de/wiwi/news/detailansicht/ein-projekt-der-afrikaforschung-an-der-universitaet-bremen). The volume for 2020/21 with the title “Sustainable Development Goal 9 (Infrastructure, Industrialization, Innovation) and African Development – Challenges and Opportunities” is now finalized by research teams. There are already concrete plans for the 2022 volume with the theme “Business Opportunities, Growth of Innovative Start-ups, and Digital Transformation in Africa”. An International Call for Papers for the 2022 volume will be made available in the next few months.
Information about the Yearbook Project is made available under:
The LIT Verlag is the partner of the Yearbook project:
Under a WIKIPEDIA entry you see a short description:
African Development Perspectives Yearbook 2019
Science, Technology And Innovation Policies For Inclusive Growth In Africa - Human Skills Development And Country Cases,
Edited by Achim Gutowski, Nazar Mohamed Hassan, Tobias Knedlik, Chantal Marie Ngo Tong, Karl Wohlmuth,
LIT Verlag Wien, Zürich 2020
ISBN 978-3-643-91173-5 (pb)
ISBN 978-3-643-96173-0 (PDF)
i-xxxvi und 527 Seiten und i-x
African Development Perspectives Yearbook 2018
Science, Technology And Innovation Policies For Inclusive Growth In Africa – General Issues And Country Cases,
Edited by Reuben A. Alabi, Achim Gutowski, Nazar Mohamed Hassan, Tobias Knedlik, Samia Satti Mohamed Nour, Karl Wohlmuth,
LIT Verlag Wien, Zürich 2018
ISBN 978-3-643-91042-4 (pb)
ISBN 978-3-643-96042-9 (PDF)
i-xxx und 555 Seiten und i-v
Related to the publishing activity for the Yearbook is the research activity of the Research Group on African Development Perspectives Bremen (see about the Research Group the PDF ADPY Research Group, and the links to follow-up the research activity related to the themes of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook:
Guest researchers, currently from Nigeria, are participating in the researches of the Research Group on African Development Perspectives Bremen (see: http://www.iwim.uni-bremen.de/environment_and_development_management_nigeria_germany/). They also serve as editors and co-editors of Units/Volumes.
From Dr. Dieter Ernst, who has made his PhD at the University of Bremen in the field of microelectronics and development, reaches us a very important information. He has produced a new report: Competing in Artificial Intelligence Chips: China’s Challenge amid Technology War. As the trade and technology war between USA and China is escalating, with tremendous effects on the rest of the world, this study is a very important reminder that all nations will lose if global trade is politicized further.
Dieter Ernst describes the study in this way: “Drawing on field research conducted in 2019 in cooperation with Tsinghua University, this report assesses the challenges that China is facing in developing its Artificial Intelligence (AI) chip industry amid unprecedented US technology export restrictions. Success in artificial intelligence (AI) is not limited to data and algorithms alone. The third component that determines success in research and applications are advanced specialized AI chips that provide increased computing power and storage, while decreasing energy consumption. Companies that have access to leading-edge AI chips are essentially in the fast lane, where improvements continue to be rapid and mutually reinforcing. China has relied almost solely on the United States to import such advanced AI chips, but the US-China technology war has abruptly disrupted China’s access to these critical sources of AI success. Will America’s unprecedented technology export restrictions cripple China’s AI ambitions? Or will it force China to race ahead on its own? Specifically, what realistic options does China have to substitute AI chip imports from the United States through local design and fabrication or through imports from other non-US sources?
The report written by Dieter Ernst highlights China’s challenge of competing in AI, and contrasts America’s and China’s different AI development trajectories. Starting much later than the United States, Chinese universities and public research institutes have conducted a significant amount of AI research (some of it at the frontier), but knowledge exchange with industry remains limited. Drawing on deep integration with America’s AI innovation system, Chinese AI firms, in turn, have focused primarily on capturing the booming domestic mass markets for AI applications, investing too little in AI research. To find out what is happening today in China’s AI chip design, capabilities and challenges are assessed, both for the large players (Huawei, Alibaba and Baidu) and for a small group of AI chip “unicorns”. The report concludes with implications for China’s future AI chip development, considering the disruptive effects of the technology war and the global coronavirus pandemic.”
The report informs about an intense technology war between USA and China, but also reveals how dynamic the actors in China are to respond to a politics of US sanctions and restrictions. The chapter “What’s Happening in China’s AI Chip Industry” is of great interest to all those being interested in the future competitive position of Chinese AI firms, especially also of the many start-ups which emerged since 2016. There is globally an increasing interest in the AI Unicorn Club (see the research brief: https://www.cbinsights.com/research/ai-unicorn-club/), and the study by Dieter Ernst is an important additional source to understand the most recent AI industry developments.
To read and to download the full report please click on: https://www.cigionline.org/publications/competing-artificial-intelligence-chips-chinas-challenge-amid-technology-war.
Dr. Dieter Ernst is associated with the Centre for International Governance Innovation/CIGI, Waterloo, Canada & East-West Center/EWC, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA; see about his studies and the works at CIGI and EWC:
For citation of the new CIGI Study:
Ernst, D., 2019, Competing in Artificial Intelligence Chips – China’s Challenge Amidst Technology War, published in March 2020 by the Centre for International Governance Innovation, Waterloo, ON, Canada N2L 6C2, pages vii plus 60 pages, homepage: www.cigionline.org