In his statement “Sliding Doors: The Day US Democracy Almost Died” (see the blog on the homepage of Thomas Palley, Co-editor, Review of Keynesian Economics: https://thomaspalley.com/?p=1902) we find the following words:
“Sunday January 10, 2021. It is now four days since the January 6 mob attack on the US Congress which President Donald Trump incited. In a manner akin to a combat situation, the numbness induced by the overwhelming nature of the event is giving way to shock and anger. What is also becoming clear is just how close US democracy came to dying.
The film Sliding Doors begins with two different scenarios in which the course of the main protagonist’s life depends on whether or not she catches the subway by seconds. The events of January 6 have a Sliding Doors quality to them.
It now seems the attack has backfired for Trump and turned into a political fiasco. That fiasco resonates with Adolf Hitler’s failed 1923 Munich Beer Hall putsch (German for coup) – though lest we get carried away, let us not forget Hitler returned and took power ten years later, and we all know what followed.
Hitler’s failed Munich putsch is one scenario. The other scenario is the Bolshevik Party’s sudden seizure of power in St. Petersburg, Russia in October 1917. That coup succeeded and launched a totalitarian dictatorship that was to last almost seventy-five years.
It is easy to imagine a scenario in which Trump’s mob had been better organized and more ruthless, and in which they had seized Congress and summarily executed Democratic Senators and House members – along with Senator Mitt Romney, who has been heroic in his opposition to Trump. That would have left a rump majority of willing accomplice Republicans, plus a smaller group of Vichyssoise Republicans who meekly towed the line.
In that imagined scenario, Trump would have been able to declare a state of emergency which would have been supported by the military, under orders from his Secretary of Defence henchman. The rump Republican Party would likely have rubber stamped everything. In one swoop, US democracy would have been felled, in a manner similar to the Bolshevik takeover of Russia.”
Source: The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jan/06/trump-capitol-american-carnage-washington; Story: American carnage: how Trump's mob ran riot in the Capitol
In his E-Mail to colleagues Thomas Palley writes: “I have posted (see the PDF: Palley-Globalization, January 2021) a new research paper titled ‘National Policy Space: Reframing the Political Economy of Globalization and its Implications for National Sovereignty and Democracy’. The terrible political events of the last few months make it even more urgent that we unpack the political economy of the last forty years and its corrosive effects. I hope the paper can contribute to unpacking globalization’s contribution to the toxic brew.”
The paper is important as it shows that there are different alternatives to organize globalization to the benefit of the world economy, to the benefit of all geo-political regions, and to the benefit of the people, and that some alternatives are associated with the chance to preserve national sovereignty and democracy. When four economists published nearly 20 years ago an essay on the issue “How much globalization does the world bear?”, the collaborating economists had something like a political economy view in mind, although quite different theoretical views were prevalent in the group. A short summary in English of the study „Wie viel Globalisierung verträgt die Welt?“ is found below, an article written by Hans-Werner Sinn, Michael Rauscher, Rainer Bartel, and Karl Wohlmuth (Link to the article which is available for a download at: https://www.ifo.de/publikationen/2002/zeitschrift-einzelheft/ifo-schnelldienst-242002). The Abstract reads as follows:
“The term globalization has dominated the public debate for years. For some the opening of markets has not gone far enough, for others globalization has led to further inequalities between economies and has enlarged the distance between industrial and developing countries. Prof. Hans-Werner Sinn discusses the economic forces that have been released in the globalization process. In the opinion of Prof. Michael Rauscher, Rostock University, globalization will undoubtedly continue to progress, but it does not only need international co-ordination. On the contrary, in a globalized world there are good arguments for the subsidiarity principle: Problems should be dealt with and solved at the lowest possible level. Many problems that arise in connection with globalization can be managed at the national level. Also for Prof. Karl Wohlmuth, Bremen University, the structure of globalization is the determining issue. What is important for him is "the extent to which there is a willingness to adapt national and international framework conditions to the speed of globalization". For Prof. Rainer Bartel, Linz University, globalization must be "efficient" and "sustainable" but "scientists and politicians are still not ready for this". We now know that such analyses and recommendations remained confined to the academic circles; a real political shaping/reviewing/controlling/transforming of the globalization process was not done, neither at the national level, nor at the global level.
The Globalization Pentagon: Globalization traps, globalization trilemma, globalization dimensions (drivers), globalization phases, and globalization speed
Too many economists, political scientists and sociologists who were working on globalization issues followed the mainstream view that “the more globalization is enforced, the better the results for all will be”, assuming that the welfare effects will trickle down to all nations and to all people, But, neither the poverty of people, nor the poverty of regions were eliminated (SDG 1: No Poverty), and neither the lower middle class, nor the upper middle class have enjoyed stable jobs, social security, and sustainable income increases (SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth). Increasing inequality within countries and between countries occurred and became a growing burden (SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities). We speak now not only about a “middle-income trap” but also about a “high-income trap”. And all this has a lot to do with the globalization process as it unfolds. It is necessary to study these globalization traps and to work hard along the lines of identifying the causes of the two traps as these are associated with a severe globalization fatigue. The globalization trilemma is a second area for studying globalization as the tensions between globalization, the nation state, and the democracy are prevalent. Also, third, it is necessary to work more on the globalization dimensions/drivers (global trade of goods and services, global technology flows, global value chains, global financial flows, and global labour flows). Fourth, the globalization phases have to become more deeply researched, as the turn from globalization 3.0 (with computers, automation, and robots) to globalization 4.0 (with digitalization, industry 4.0, and artificial intelligence) will impact heavily on the stability of jobs and the changes of income distribution. Lastly, a fifth factor of research interest is the globalization speed, observed by the rapid growth of scientific and technological developments in conjunction with digitalization; this process will change the outlook for globalization quite rapidly. In order to control populism and extremism in conjunction with globalization processes, such researches along this pentagon are urgent. Professor Karl Wohlmuth researches since many years on this globalization pentagon, on these interconnected five elements of globalization. But, policy action on the basis of the globalization pentagon is most urgent to avoid populism and extremism.
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).
The Sudan Research Group (SRG) has now released its conference report on the first conference held in Khartoum, Sudan which took place some months after the Sudanese Revolution and the instalment of the Transitional Government. The title of the report is “Towards Sustainable Inclusive Development in Sudan“. The participants were divided into eight clusters to discuss 31 papers around the Conference’s main themes: 1- Macroeconomic Management for Inclusive Development; 2- Bringing the Productive Sectors back in Sudan; 3- Governance and Institutions; 4- Management of Natural Resources; 5- Sustainable Infra-Structure; 6- Social Policy and Public Service Delivery; 7- The Role of the Private Sector; and 8- Gender. The Report was published in 2020 and contains Recommendations on Macroeconomic Issues, Reviving the Productive Sectors, Governance and Institutions, The Management of Natural Resources, Sustainable Infrastructure, Social Policy and Public Service Delivery, and the Private Sector. There are specific recommendations to the Transitional Government, to the Ministry of Finance and to other competent ministries, to International Donors, and to Civil Society Organizations. The full report contains information about all the clusters of the conference.
The Sudan Research Group (SRG) writes about its mandate: “The Sudan Research Group is a UK-based voluntary organization. It was formed in 2003 by a group of academics and researchers who felt a pressing need for a specialized network that brings together multidisciplinary academics, researchers, activists and policy makers in a forum devoted to in-depth discussions of the key and pressing issues that face the country. Dedicated to impact, it aims to produce and promote research and scholarship that may inform home-grown policies to address the country’s urgent economic, political, and social needs.” And the SRG reports about the conferences: “The main conferences and events organized by the Group so far include “Economic Challenges in Post-conflict Sudan” (2004), “Institutional and Governance Requirements for the Future Development of Sudan” ( 2005 ), “Education and Capacity Building” (2006), “Assessing the Peace-building in Darfur”, (2008), “General Education Crisis in Sudan” (with an Open Themes Group), (2016), Training in Communication for Sudanese NGOs” (2019), and a series of Webinars.” Then, “Towards Sustainable Inclusive Development in Sudan” (2019) was the first conference that SRG was able to convene in Sudan after the Sudanese Revolution which started in December 2018. It was convened for June 2019, but was then postponed to November 2019 (SRG 5TH Meeting Tentative Agenda).
About the Report on the SRG Conference November 2019 in Khartoum, Sudan: “The Sudan Research Group (SRG) is pleased to introduce a summary of the proceedings of its Fifth Conference, with the title “Towards Sustainable Inclusive Development in Sudan”. Held only three months after the formation of the Transitional Government that followed the end of three decades of dictatorship, the conference sought to provide a neutral space for open discussions that help in shaping the agenda for change. More than 160 researchers, policy makers, private sector and civil society participants engaged in three days of constructive - and sometimes heated debate - about immediate reform programs and long -term development policies. This report provides a brief summary of the discussions on the key themes of the conference and its substantive findings. It should be noted that the messages and ideas summarized are not intended to indicate a consensus and they do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the SRG”. The report is available for download as a PDF under: Final SRG 5th Conf. 2019. Professor Karl Wohlmuth had the privilege to be invited to the conference as a speaker for the cluster Infrastructure. Professor Wohlmuth follows the studies and projects of the SRG carefully.
Dr. Gamal Al-Tayib from UNECA in Addis Ababa is one of the founders of the SRG.
Another important development about Sudan as two thinktanks are cooperating: SRG is joined by SWEA in development work
In the new Sudan independent NGOs can be founded and have space for action. SWEA (see below) is now ready to mobilise the women economists. There are links between SRG and SWEA. SERG in Bremen is cooperating with these groups.
Sudanese Women Economists Association (SWEA): Empowering the Women in the Peripheries through Capacity Building Projects
Women economists work together for a peaceful and prospering Sudan. Sawsan Musa Adam Abdul-Jalil from the Ministry of Finance in Khartoum, Sudan is a co-founder of the Sudanese Women Economists Association (SWEA). SWEA was founded in June 2020. SWEA is collaborating with the Sudan Research Group (SRG) in a capacity building project. The first (and so far the only) project was an online training on a research proposal writing for the students of Nayala, El Fahser, Gedaref and Kassala, but much more is in the pipeline. Sawsan Musa Adam Abdul-Jalil from the Ministry of Finance in Khartoum, Sudan is working now with the Aid Coordination Unit of the Ministry to restructure their strategy. We cooperate from the SERG in Bremen with SRG and SWEA to learn more about the reforms ongoing in Sudan and to support the process of change in the country. It is intended to cooperate on the new Yearbook project of the Research Group on African Development Perspectives Bremen (see the International Call for Papers Volume 23).
The Sudanese Women Economists Association (SWEA) is becoming an important partner for democratic development, inclusive growth, and economic change in Sudan.
Source: Website SWEA
About the Mandate of SWEA:
“The Sudanese Women Economists Association (SWEA) was founded in June 2020, on the ground of redeeming the prevalent gap of women economists participation in the policy and academic spheres in Sudan. Fuelled by the enthusiasm of its founders and members, SWEA aims at building capacities, encouraging and amplifying the contribution of women economists, and of young women pursuing degrees in economics. SWEA strives to achieve this by providing a platform to convene Sudanese women economists, offering networking opportunities and enriching the economic research space by the contributions from its members.”
The Vision of SWEA:
“SWEA’s vision is to advance Sudanese women economists’ participation in academic and public policy spheres in Sudan. Our aim is to promote solidarity between Sudanese women economists across generations, as a key step to build capacity of young women in economics and to amplify the voices of Sudanese women in economic research and practice.”
The website of SWEA is: https://sweasd.org.
Source: Website SWEA
Professor Samia Nour from the University of Khartoum, Sudan has published (in cooperation with Dr. Eltayeb Mohamedain) a working paper and two policy briefs on Food Security and Agricultural Development in Kassala State, Sudan. These are publications of the CMI (Chr. Michelsen Institute). The CMI Sudan Working paper Number 1 (21 July 2020) and the two CMI Policy Briefs (21 July 2020) are of interest as the focus is on research done by regional universities and for advice to policymakers in peripheral regions in Sudan. The two policy briefs are based on the findings in the CMI Sudan working paper number 1 (21 July 2020) that analyses agricultural development and food security with the use of survey data from Kassala State. This research is conducted as part of the Agriculture and Food Security cluster in the Assisting Regional Universities in Sudan (ARUS) programme. The ARUS programme is a collaboration between CMI, the University of Khartoum, Ahfad University for Women, the University of Bergen, and several regional universities in Sudan. The programme is funded by the Norwegian Embassy in Khartoum. The importance of these studies is that regional universities in Sudan are participating, and that key issues of peripheral areas like food security and agricultural development are more deeply researched.
Professor Samia Nour is now also Book Reviews/Book Notes Editor of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook. She has advised the editors of volumes 20 (2018) and 21 (2019) and is Unit editor and Volume Editor for volume 22 (2020/21). She is also collaborating with various international research organisations. She has recently published in the SERG discussion papers of IWIM on Sudan’s revolution (see Number 44 of the SERG discussion papers with the title: “Overview of the Sudan Uprising”: http://www.iwim.uni-bremen.de/sudan_economy_research_group/).
Access to these three CMI publications (see links below) which are co-authored by Professor Samia Nour:
CMI Sudan Working Paper Number 1: “Food Security and Agricultural Development in Sudan: The case of Kassala State”, CMI Sudan Working Paper Number 1, CMI (Chr. Michelsen Institute), Bergen, Norway, 21 July 2020, pp. 1-113. Link: Food Security and Agricultural Development in Sudan: The case of Kassala State
See the Abstract (shortened) below.
Sudan CMI Policy Brief Number 3: “Food Insecurity in Sudan as seen from Kassala State ”, Sudan CMI Policy Brief Number 3, CMI (Chr. Michelsen Institute), Bergen, Norway, 21 July 2020, pp. 1-4. Link: Food Insecurity in Sudan as seen from Kassala State
“This policy brief discusses the incidence of food insecurity, explores families’ survival strategies, and recommends measures that may combat food insecurity.”
Sudan CMI Policy Brief 4: “Agricultural development and food Security in Sudan as seen from Kassala State”, Sudan CMI Policy Brief Number 4, CMI (Chr. Michelsen Institute), Bergen, Norway, 21 July 2020, pp. 1-4. Link: Agricultural development and food Security in Sudan as seen from Kassala State
“This policy brief uses data from Kassala State to assess the close link between agricultural development and food security, and investigates factors and policies that can strengthen agricultural development, thereby increasing food security in Sudan.”
Abstract (shortened) of Sudan Working Paper 1, 21 July 2020
Food Security and Agricultural Development in Sudan: The case of Kassala State,
by Prof. Dr. Samia Mohamed Nour and Dr. Eltayeb Mohamedain, Bergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute (Sudan Working Paper 2020:1)This research discusses the relationship between agricultural development and food security, the determinants of the supply of food and of the demand for food, and the determinants of food insecurity in Kassala State. In so doing, it provides a significant contribution to the current literature. Used are new primary data from a Food Security Household Survey which was conducted in Kassala State (2019). It was found that the majority of households are food insecure (77%), out of which 32.9% of the households are severely food insecure, while fewer households are fully food secure (23%). There is a large variation in households' food insecurity between localities, with rural Kassala having most of the food insecure households. This may be explained by the variation in monthly income between localities.
Three hypotheses are examined. A first hypothesis is verified that the most significant determinants of production of food are the size of agricultural land, the available livestock, and the irrigation systems. There is support for the second hypothesis that the family's own production of food and the household income have positive effects on food consumption. It is found that the significant determinants of the production of sorghum (the main staple food) are the size of agricultural land and the available livestock, and that the significant determinants of consumption of sorghum are the family's own production of sorghum, the household income, and the family size. For small farmers, their own consumption of sorghum is to a larger extent determined by their own production of sorghum. Therefore, enhancing production of sorghum among smallholders would contribute to enhancing consumption of sorghum and hence supporting food security. The third hypothesis is verified that better working conditions of the farmers are crucial for family own production of food and are then supporting food security; the probabilities of households being food secure increase with better working conditions for higher family own production .
Investigating the gender gap related to food production and food security has led to the results that male-headed households produce more food and are more food secure than female-headed households. Some reasons for this observation are analyzed. Also, it was found out that agricultural production is impeded by the lack of agricultural land, the cultivation of only few crops, an insufficient irrigation system, and shortages of agricultural services, which are mainly related to the provision of agricultural technology. Therefore, the major policy implication is that measures aimed at increasing household incomes and enhancing family own production of food are important for eliminating food insecurity. Recommended are therefore policies that may increase household incomes and may enhance smallholders' own production of food. Relevant policy instruments may be increases of agricultural land ownership, increases of the size of cultivated land for smallholders, more diversification of agricultural food crops, an improvement of irrigation systems, measures for enhancing female participation in agricultural activities and food security, steps towards improvement of agricultural services, mainly related to the adoption of technology, improving access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation systems, and, in general terms, improved infrastructure which may help in access to food, to inputs, and to production requirements.
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”.