A team from Aberdeen University has been given a grant of more than £580,000 to take part in a new international collaboration to address the political crisis in the Horn of Africa.
The three-year project will focus on Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan, all among the least developed countries in the world, and will aim to both research the crisis of governance in the region and train PhD and masters students and junior faculty to carry out research on governance.
It is supported by a £583,349 UK Research and Innovation Training Grant from the Global Challenges Fund.
The African Research Universities Association (ARUA) Centre of Excellence in Good Governance at Addis Ababa University will lead the project, in partnership with the universities of Aberdeen and Western Cape, South Africa.
The Aberdeen team will be led by Professor Zeray Yihdego, of the School of Law and an expert in international law and regional integration with extensive experience of research in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.
He will be joined by Professor Tamas Gyorfi, an expert in comparative constitutional law, and Professor Pamela Abbott, Director of the University’s Centre for Global Development.
Prof Yihdego said: “In all three countries, there are ethnic cleavages and conflict along ethnic lines. They also have poor governance indicators, and government corruption is rife.
“The crisis of government in each of them results from the extreme centralisation of power, weak institutions, and a failure to institutionalise the responsible use of power.”
The Aberdeen team will contribute to both elements of the project, with all three academics involved in the co-supervision of four PhD students and the teaching of masters students.
They will also contribute to the short-term training of policymakers and civil society organisations in each country, and the development of research-informed policy recommendations.
Aberdeen University will host visits from the PhD students, junior and senior faculty working on the project.