Aslak Jangård Orre, CMI

Enhancing the Research Environment in Angola through Capacity Development 2019-2024

Centro de Estudos Africanos (CEA) - Universidade Católica de Angola

Centro de Estudos e Pesquisa (CEsP) - ISP Jean Piaget Benguela

Centro de Investigação Social e Económica (CISE) - Universidade Agostinho Neto

Arne Wiig

Research Professor

Aslak Jangård Orre

Senior Researcher, Coordinator Governance

Inge Amundsen

Senior Researcher

Elin Skaar

Research Professor

Ivar Kolstad

Associated Research Professor

Vegard Bye

Senior Partner, Scanteam

 Torun Reite

Responsible Business Good Governance Conflict and Fragility Gender Equality, Scanteam

Arne Disch

Responsible Business Good Governance Conflict and Fragility Gender Equality, Scanteam

Vibeke Skauerud

, Scanteam

Ken Ndalamba

Researcher, Centro de Investigação Social e Económica (CISE)

Fernandes Wanda

Researcher, Centro de Investigação Social e Económica (CISE)

José Oliveira

Researcher, Centro de Estudos e Investigação Cientifica (CEIC)

Manuel Rocha

Researcher, Centro de Estudos e Investigação Cientifica (CEIC)

Regina Santos

Researcher, Centro de Estudos e Investigação Cientifica (CEIC)

Nelson Pestana

Director of CEA, Researcher

Gilson Lázaro

Researcher, CEA

Cláudio Fortuna

Researcher, CEA

Osvaldo Silva

Researcher, CEA

Eduardo Sassa

Researcher, CEA

Mateus Agostinho

Researcher, CEA

Paula Fernandes

Reseach assistant and admin, CEA

Catarina Antunes Gomes

Senior Researcher, LAB

Cesaltina Abreu

Senior Researcher, LAB

Almeida Sebastião

Junior Researcher, LAB

Martíns Bota

Junior Researcher, LAB

Amélia Tomé

Research Assistant, LAB

Sabrita A. Velasco

Research Assistant, LAB

Angola is a resource rich country, yet the majority of its people live in poverty. The country faces many of the challenges that so many other countries with abundant natural resources experience: The resource wealth ends up in the pockets of a small, political elite and Angola has experienced negative growth rates during the last five years.  Can research surpass discussions about the resource curse and contribute to lift Angolans out of poverty? This Norwegian-Angolan research and capacity building project aims to find out.

Angola is among the resource rich countries in the global South with a generally challenging regime for social science research. It keeps a lid on essensial information, and budgets for research low. Yet, independent research is among the crucial factors that can push development forward. Building Angolan research milieus is on top of the agenda in this research programme.Despite the 2017 change in the Presidential office, the first since 1979, the situation for academic research in Angola is still precarious, and the Corona pandemic has exacerbated the problems.

There are only a few research institutes, some at universities, some associated with civil society organisations. They have actively been seeking to expand their international contact networks in order to develop their researchers’ capacities and to finance their research and institutions.

CMI already has a long-standing cooperation with the Catholic University in Luanda (UCAN), and well-developed networks amongst researchers in Angola. Central to the new programme is to promote the quality and quantity of research outputs by providing support for the financial, administrative and institutional environment for individual researchers. It will also help making a research career attractive for young researchers.

The research milieu in Angola is small and vulnerable to Angola’s severe economic downturn, exaggerated by the global pandemic. Hence, strengthening it is an important task for both the Angolan and Norwegian team members in this programme.

Enhancing the Research Environment in Angola through Capacity Development 2019-2024

  • Main objective: Strengthening research milieus in Angola
  • Funded by the Norwegian Embassy in Angola’s capital Luanda.
  • Carried out by a consortium consisting of CMI and Scanteam in partnership with Angolan researchers from Centro de Estudos e Investigação Cientifica (CEIC), Centro de Estudos Africanos (CEA), Laboratório de Ciências Sociais e Humanidades (LAB) (all three located at Universidade Católica de Angola), Centro de Estudos e Pesquisa (CEsP), Centro de Investigação Social e Económica (CISE) have partnered up with CMI and Scanteam in the start-up phase of the programme, but additional  Angolan partners may be included  as the programme develops.
  • The programme is worth 37.5 million NOK for a duration of four years.

 Projects started up:

The new programme consists of several research modules on some of the most crucial issues for socio-economic development, each of them encompassing measures to strengthen the participating research institutions in Angola:
 
•    Economic research in collaboration with UCAN / CEIC on CSR in extractive industries

International oil companies’ investments, and in particular the Norwegian state-owned energy company Equinor, has been frequent guests in the headlines in Norwegian news media over the last few weeks. 

The debate about international oil companies’ investments and conduct in resource rich countries in the global South is not only closely linked to topics like corporate social responsibility, cash flows and corruption risks, but also to questions of poverty, governance and the wider system of checks and balances that are supposed to hold authorities accountable and prevent rent seeking behaviour.
The main research questions in this module focus on how the ongoing sector restructuring and changing external expectations have affected the CSR levels and practices of oil companies and large oil service firms world-wide and in Angola. The programme will also study the local impacts of diamond production.

Researchers involved: 
Arne Wiig, CMI
Ivar Kolstad, CMI
Manuel Rocha, CEIC 
José Oliveira, CEIC 
Regina Santos, CEIC 

 •    The first local elections and new political actors – in collaboration with UCAN / CEA and CEsP / Benguela

Angola is among Africa’s most centralised states. It is now set to implement the most fundamental governance reform since the introduction of multi-party elections: for the first time, it will soon hold local elections. While parts of the old MPLA party-state resists reform, new social movements and new political actors gives it momentum.  This part of the programme aims accompany and observe the Angolan local governance reform, and to analyse and debate its institutional environment in-making, local finances and the political battle over local power. Studying the reform process from several angles will make it uniquely placed to provide unparalleled breadth of insight: From above, from below, through international comparison and with a gender-lens.
 
•    Accountability, with UCAN / LAB

Socio-economic development in Angola has suffered from a lack of checks and balances to the former president dos Santos’ excessive power.  Our research team will study institutions like the parliament, the courts and actors like civil society groups and youth organizations to see if there have been any changes in their ability to hold the government accountable.

The studies on the institutions of horizontal accountability will assess whether there have been any changes in the (lack of) checks and balances to the excessive presidential powers in Angola. On the basis of the constitutional changes made in 2010, and in comparison with earlier studies performed by the same team of researchers, this part of the programme will focus on the parliament, election commission, auditor general and the courts. The researchers will analyse the role and impact of the institutions of horizontal accountability in Angola, and in particular the Angolan legislature (including the parties in parliament), as well as the judiciary.

Crucial questions that need to be asked are for example under what circumstances and by what means the Angolan parliament can exercise its checks and balances function and be a democratically progressive force, and which role civil society can play in enhancing transparency and accountability in Angola. The component also contains a module on research based in Benguela. This module will focus on local dynamics seen from a gender perspective.
 
•    Economic research with CISE: Information and accountability

Information about government policies is a necessary condition for accountability of the government to the governed, but it is not a sufficient condition. In a country where multinational oil and diamond companies play such a significant role as in Angola, it is of particular importance having information about their activities, including financial transactions with the state. However, Angola scores low on all available transparency indicators. Angola is still not member of the EITI and limited transparency remains a serious accountability problem in Angola. In this type of political context, this project explores the effect of expanded requirements or new approaches to the provision of information on the oil economy to the citizens.
By contributing to serious media reporting and public discourse the hope is that the research we are  conducting  and supporting can contribute to a more pluralistic discussion about economic, social and political issues of high relevance for Angola’s future development.

Researchers involved: 
Arne Wiig, CMI
Ivar Kolstad, CMI
Fernandes Wanda CISE

Ken Ndalamba, CISE

•    Umbrella project

The programme will have an “umbrella project”, aimed at monitoring the possible political-economic transformations in post dos Santos Angola during the four-year duration of the programme. The project will consist of on-going communication / dissemination activities, and proper research that complement the other research projects and extract new knowledge from the programme at large.

The coordinator of this project is Programme coordinator Vegard Bye, Scanteam.