Public-Private Partnerships in Rural Development, Downplaying the Role of Politics and Power Relations – DPRN Two

SouthAfrica

wiki common

Introduction
Public Private Partnerships, or PPPs, are increasingly popular in the field of international development cooperation and sustainable development. Though PPPs are not a new phenomenon (see Linder 1999), their popularity in policy circles has steadily augmented since the late 1980s (Entwistle and Martin 2005) to a point where their promotion seems to have become a dominant ‘development narrative’ (cf. Roe 1991; 1995). PPPs are promoted as the most logical solution to a variety of service delivery and development problems, and are often presented as ‘technical’, politically neutral solutions (cf. Ferguson 1990). Nevertheless, the promotion and development of PPPs has a distinct ideological background and flavour (Linder 1999; Entwistle and Martin 2005). PPP’s present popularity followed after their (re-)introduction in the wake of the wave of privatisation of government institutions by conservative governments in Europe and the US – notably the Reagan administration and Thatcher’s government – in the 1980s. The idea of the need for the privatisation of government services was exported to developing countries through the many Structural Adjustment Programmes enforced by the IMF and supported by the World Bank. PPPs were considered ‘softer’ versions of the same process (Entwistle and Martin 2005) that would have less dramatic social consequences and therefore would be more palatable to the general public. Subsequently, New Labour stressed the partnership idea in PPPs, and the influence it is supposed to accord not only to the corporate sector, but also to civil society organisations (ibid.). However, there is an ongoing debate about whether the growing influence of civil society organisations is a counterpoint to the neo-liberal approach, as Escobar (1995) argues, or whether this is part and parcel of a neo-liberal approach (see e.g. Levine 2002). Read more

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Negotiating Knowledges for Development – DPRN Three

A Tribute to Saartjie Baartman

I’ve come to take you home –
home, remember the veld?
the lush green grass beneath the big oaks trees
the air is cool there and the sun does not burn.
I have made your bed at the foot of the hill,
your blankets are covered in buchu and mint,
the proteas stand in yellow and white
and the water in the stream chuckle sing-songs
as it hobbles alone over little stones.

I have come to wretch you away –
away from the poking eyes
of the man-made monster
who lives in the dark
with his clutches of imperialism
who dissects your body bit by bit
who likens your soul to that of Satan
and declares himself the ultimate god!

I have come to soothe your heavy heart
I offer my bosom to your weary soul
I will cover your face with the palms of my hands
I will run my lips over lines in your neck
I will feast my eyes on the beauty of you
and I will sing for you
for I have come to bring you peace.

I have come to take you home
where the ancient mountains shout your name.
I have made your bed at the foot of the hill,
your blankets are covered in buchu and mint,
the proteas stand in yellow and white –
I have come to take you home
where I will sing for you
for you have brought me peace

Diana Ferrus

Ferrus - blacklooks.org

Diana Ferrus – blacklooks.org

Saartjie Baartman
This poem, written by the South African Diana Ferrus, refers to the return of Saartjie Baartman to her home country. On Women’s Day, 9 August 2002, the remains of Saartjie Baartman were finally laid to rest in the area of her birth, the Gamtoos River Valley in the Eastern Cape. Thus ended a long period of exile in life and in death of a young Khoikhoi woman, who was to become an icon in South Africa as a victim of the horrors of colonialism and racism.
Born in 1789 and orphaned in a commando raid, Saartjie Baartman became the servant of the Dutch farmer Johan Cezar near Cape Town. When his brother Henrik Cezar and his friend, the ship’s doctor William Dunlop, visited Johan in 1810, they met with Baartman and convinced her that it would be to her advantage to accompany them to Europe. Each for his own reasons wanted to make the most out of her physical characteristics. From the 17th century onward, Europeans had been fascinated by the steatopygia, the broad hips and large buttocks, of Khoikhoi women. Furthermore, Khoikhoi women knew the custom of elongating the labia to conform to an ideal of beauty. The resulting sinus pudoris, or ‘curtain of shame’ equally was a source of fascination frequently mentioned in both popular and scientific literature. Read more

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Civil Domains and Arenas in Zimbabwean Settings. Democracy and Responsiveness Revisited – DPRN Five

Harare - goafrica.about.com

Harare – goafrica.about.com

Introduction (written 2008 – first published 2010)
A popular remedy for Africa’s predicament is the promotion of ‘civil society’. It is conventionally seen as a collection of various kinds of non-profit bodies separate from the state and business sector. It is framed within a consensual model of politics, and thus capable of working in ‘partnership’ with both state and business sectors in pursuit of common interests, particularly ‘development’ and ‘democracy’ [i]. Since the late 1970s donors sought substitutes for the state in the private sector. In the 1980s they discovered the virtues of the non-profit branch of this sector. They tasked older entities such as mission hospitals and newly-arrived non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with providing a range of services, from schooling and healthcare to small enterprise promotion, that were once considered responsibilities of the public sector.
Under their neoliberal paradigm, donors have tried to raise the nonprofit sector’s political status. Beyond service provision, its main task is to counter government power. Here civil society is cast as a hero, who routinely calls a villainous state to account. Yet this model of ‘civil society’ has evoked controversy. Questions have arisen about the effects of NGOs not only as substitute providers of basic services, but also as vehicles of public politics, effectively substituting for opposition political parties [ii]. A number of writers have called attention to ‘the obvious: that civil society is [largely] made up of international organisations’. Some argue that the whole concept of ‘civil society’ as promoted by outsiders does not match African sociological or political realities, and can ultimately weaken, rather than strengthen the power of common citizens. There are calls, in short, for a re-think. Read more

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Land and Agrarian Reform in South Africa: Caught by Continuities – DPRN Six

landreform

en.wikipedia.org

Introduction
Land and agrarian reform is often implemented with a view to breaking with the past, particularly by transforming ownership of land and its uneven distribution. The post 1994 land and agrarian reform in South Africa began with a similar agenda. In fact land reform was launched and implemented even before Apartheid was dissolved and the new ANC-led government took control. The Apartheid government under F.W. De Klerk initiated some kind of limited land reform during the period from 1990 to 1993.

In March 1991, De Klerk’s government repealed the 1913 and 1936 Land Acts. In November of the same year it appointed an Advisory Committee on Land Allocation (later renamed as the Commission on Land Allocation). The Commission made recommendations on state land disposal and the restoration of land to those disposed of formal land rights. This happened first in Natal, where dispossessed communities in Richards Bay (van Leynseele and Hebinck, 2008), Roosboom, Charlestown and Alcockspruit got their land rights formally restored in the years 1992-93 through this process (Walker 2004). The strengths and weaknesses of the pre-1994 land reforms were replicated post-1994 in the form of a lack of ‘coherent state procedures and institutional inadequacies’ to manage the land reform process (Walker 2004; 2005). Read more

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Donors and Governance in Southern Africa. The Case of Zambia, with Zimbabwe as a Counterpoint – DPRN Seven

Lusaka -worldtravelphotos.net

Lusaka – worldtravelphotos.net

Introduction: On donors and governance [1]
A key change in development policy since the early 1990s has been donors’ shift towards a principal concern with governance. Earlier, donors’ policy and practice had been mainly focused on filling gaps in knowledge, capital or foreign exchange. This implied that development was fundamentally a mechanical, technical undertaking. Gradually, however, development policy is being seen more and more as a political enterprise. Issues such as the division of power between the elite and society at large, basic freedoms and economic inclusiveness are at least as important for societal and economic development as technical considerations.[2]
This concern with governance has given rise to a considerable body of literature that has a paradoxical tendency to de-politicise the debate. A reason for this is that politics traditionally does not fit into the non-political mandate of international organisations. Also, declaring a political interest seems to clash with the altruistic rhetoric of the development community. Nevertheless, recent evaluations and analyses have begun to explicitly address the political nature of both the environment in which donors intervene as well as the political influence donors have in processes of change. As an example the Swedish development agency (Sida) commissioned explicit political evaluations of conditional lending, program aid or ownership.[3] The British Department for International Development (DfID) has had a series of studies carried out on ‘Drivers of Change’[4] and Netherlands embassies have undertaken Strategic Corruption and Governance Analyses that aim to look ‘behind the façade’ at what drives political and bureaucratic behaviour.[5] These analyses see aid as an influence on local society that is, in turn, shaped by the local political process. This thus explicitly links aid effectiveness to the quality of governance. Read more

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