UKZN Professor Shares Insights at International Seminar in Kenya

An academic in the School of Management, IT and Governance’s Discipline of Public Governance, Professor Fayth Ruffin, has attended two events in Nairobi in Kenya at the invitation of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) of the African Union.

Ruffin provided feedback on the launch of the African Governance Report and also presented a paper at the African Governance Seminar Series (AGOSS) where the theme was Governance Futures and the AU Agenda 2063.

Attended by experts from all over the globe, the AGOSS aims to provide an interactive platform for debate and analysis of emerging novel developments and trends within governance in Africa as well as to function as a Peer Review Panel for APRM papers submitted by various experts at the seminar.

Ruffin’s paper examined issues such as the African Union’s silence on epistemologies underlying Agenda 2063 and its aspirations, incoherence of multilevel governance in Africa, challenges of absolute sovereignty and refugee constructions, posing the question: How can African epistemologies help address complexities of migration of refugees?

She used maps of Africa from the 16th century to show that by the 19th century – externally imposed artificial borders existed. This helped give rise to divisive attitudes of people in different sovereign states post-independence which still manifests today as xenophobia.

The paper drew upon secondary evidence of empirical studies on migration of refugees to Rwanda and South Africa respectively. Both the refugee camp model in Rwanda and the refugee integration model in South Africa demonstrate that the entrepreneurialism of refugees increased economic growth of the respective countries.

The paper went on to show how African epistemologies can help bring coherence to regional, national and sub-national governance and mitigate against Africans seeing each other as foreigners.

‘Both the launch of the African Governance Report and the seminar series were intellectually stimulating,’ said Ruffin. ‘Every region of the African continent was represented and there were also delegates from overseas. I am grateful to have had this opportunity for continental engagement with a global audience.’

Words: Lungile Ngubelangabr>
Photograph: Supplied