Research - 07.01.2020 - 00:00 

HSG opens the Competence Centre for African Research

The new "Competence Centre for African Research (CCAR-HSG)" combines the University of St. Gallen’s expertise in African research. The results are intended to provide a scientifically sound basis for decision-making by businesses, NGOs and politics.
Source: HSG Newsroom


7 January 2020. The goal of the "Yaoundé-St.Gallen" corridor is to develop new opportunities for economic cooperation in the long term and establish a network between researchers from Africa and Switzerland. The new competence centre will be opened with a scientific symposium at the Kantonsratssaal, Klosterhof 3, in St. Gallen on 14 and 15 January 2020. The programme and speakers for the CCAR-HSG symposium in St. Gallen can be found here.

Economy, Ethics and Governance in Africa

The scientific work of the competence centre will focus on research questions at the interface between the economy, ethics and governance on the African continent. The CCAR will coordinate and support the research and teaching at the HSG with a focus on Africa. "Researchers in the Ethics and Public Policy Laboratory (EthicsLab) in Yaoundé, Cameroon, work closely with scientists in St. Gallen. We are currently working on the topic of health care, for example,” says Dr Thierry Ngosso, Head of the Competence Centre at the HSG. 

The two centres are working in partnership to develop new possibilities for research and teaching cooperation between the HSG and the Catholic University of Central Africa in Cameroon and other African universities. In addition to health management, research projects in the fields of business and human rights, new technologies and development as well as good governance also play an important role. "We are looking forward to establishing a network with experts in Cameroon for economic cooperation between Africa and Switzerland,” says Florian Wettstein, Professor for Business Ethics and initiator of the Competence Centre at the HSG. Via St. Gallen and Yaoundé, research cooperation activities are currently being established with partners in Ghana, Cameroon and Ethiopia, among others.

Africa-related research at the HSG

At the HSG, topics related to Africa are available in various disciplines. An example: Together with his team, Roland Hodler, Professor for Economic Policy at the HSG, investigated the effects of oil spills on infant and child mortality in Nigeria. The study showed that the neonatal mortality rate doubles within a radius of ten kilometres around leaks in oil pipelines. The work received a lot of attention in the international media and is one of the projects to win the ‘HSG Impact Award 2019’.

The influence that Internet shutdowns can have on election results in African countries has been examined in a study by Tina Freyburg, Professor for Politics in St. Gallen. Using the example of the Internet blockades during the 2016 elections in Uganda, her research team explains the role of telecommunications companies in blocking Internet access. The shutdowns were ordered by the state government. As a rule, governments do not directly restrict Internet access, but rather instruct Internet providers to manipulate access to the network and certain provision of information. The scientific fieldwork was documented in the film ‘Citizens Offline’ (YouTube video).

Foto: Adobe Stock / homocosmicos