By Prisca Adaeze Nenger
On Thursday 14th November 2019, at Kampala International University (KIU), the Office of the Vice-chancellor together with the Directorate of Higher Degrees and Research - DHDR, hosted the formal launching of two books – ‘MOBILE AFRICA’ and ‘ROAMING AFRICA’, edited by Prof. Dr. Mirjam Van Reisen and others.
Prof Mirjam is a Professor of Computing for Society at Leiden University and a Professor of International Relations, Innovation & Care at Tilburg University in the Netherlands.
Why we made these books?
In her statement, Prof. Dr. Mirjam van Reisen noted that one of the reasons for writing the book is that digital data is the new gold and/or fuel of the international economy, yet the data is extracted from Africa and used for the production of knowledge in Europe and Asian countries like China. This knowledge lacks context. Research in context is needed to reflect issues of mobility, undertaken by researchers familiar with their own context.
Furthermore, Prof. Reisen asked the question – where does the problem of migration come from? And where does the idea that migration is a problem coming from? She stated that Europe, has brought its own idea into Africa that migration is a problem, but whether or not this is the case, needs to be investigated, recognizing that Africa is a continent where people are always on the move and that this adds to their socio-economic resilience. The current push and pull theories on migration are based on the myth that the internet provides information to everyone in the same way. “We need to find another approach with theories that explain mobility as social processes,” Prof. Reisen remarked.”
The nexus between policy and research
Hon. Hajat Zaminah Malole; Member of the Equal Opportunities Commission, and a policymaker in Uganda, urged that it is time for African researchers to begin to translate their research output into policy recommendations so that the research will be meaningful and relevant to the society.
“It is important to research on contemporary issues because we are the ones that face the problems ourselves. If we have to contribute to sustainable development goals (SDGs), then, we need to align the kind of research we are doing to where we are going at a regional or global level. Since we have our own unique problems, we also have to devise our own unique ways of solving the problem”, Hon. Malole categorically stated.
About the books
The books discuss the nexus of resilience migration and digital connectivity. The research is a result of close collaboration among scholars from African countries including Uganda, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, among others. The scholarly work provides clear insights that can inform policymakers on newly emerging issues. These books showcase exciting research from several emerging scholars who share new theories on mobility from an African perspective.
Launching the books
The Vice-chancellor KIU; Dr. Mouhamad Mpezamihigo thanked the authors for choosing KIU as a host for their book launch, at the time the institution is really transitioning from just a teaching institution to a research-based institution. The Vice-chancellor again appreciated the authors for also accepting to make the book available in the university repository for all members of the KIU community to benefit from. After which he formally launched the books ‘MOBILE AFRICA’ and ‘ROAMING AFRICA’.
The event was well-attended by KIU management and staff members from various campuses.