The African Centre for Citizenship and Democracy (ACCEDE) was established within the School of Government in September 2007. ACCEDE serves as an organisational and mobilisation space for students and researchers who are involved in activist and research based policy networks that highlight a critical examination of the factors and policy environments which support or inhibit the development of a more inclusive citizenship in Africa and in the global South.
Current research at ACCEDE examines the implications of dominant North-South and South- South policy narratives on development and workers’ rights, as they apply in South Africa.
The ACCEDE research programme builds on previous conceptual and contextual research. Linking Global-Local development debates as they relate to communities, it is case study driven. New thematic areas for 2019 deepen our exploration of the dominant global liberal economic frame in development. We focus on hegemonic narratives in development. In particular the resurgent Global South focus on the importance of export led growth and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). To boost FDI as a way of stimulating industrialization and value chains, international and national policy narratives on FDI center on spatially-bounded Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
The relevance of this research is reflected in the 2019 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) SEZ Report. The report addresses global systemic crises and falling FDI levels, and at the same time reinforces the importance of SEZs in stimulating development globally. In classic liberal economic terms, the report is both mildly critical of some of the weaknesses of SEZs and their limited ability to attract FDI over the long term. Nonetheless the report’s national policy analysis shows a celebratory acceptance of marketing promotion of the three case studies this project investigates: Coega, Dube and Musina-Makhado SEZs.