11:00-11:30 Does Politics matter for regional economic development?

Presenter: Mr Jonathan Muringani

Mr Jonathan Muringani

Jonathan Muringani is a PhD Research Fellow in Regional Development at the Centre for Innovation Research (CIR), UiS Business School, University of Stavanger in Norway. His research interest include innovation, institutions, regional development and economic geography. He holds a Masters in Management of Innovation Studies (Distinction) from the Wits Business School, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa (2015). Born in Zimbabwe, Jonathan is a globalist who has worked in Zimbabwe, South Africa and now works in Norway.

He has work expereince in telecommunication, energy and innovation consulting services. Jonathan is a pioneer of open innovation practices in South Africa and the rest of Africa working with private, public and the third sector to promote collaboration. The current global challenges and their local impact is an inspiration to his current and future work, particularly given that despite the promise of innovation and technological change as the engine of capitalism, we see more and more increasing inequality. While this is a global phenomenon, it is not one without a local address as we see more and more variation even among regions in the same country. Jonathan is excited to invite you to open with him the “black box” of institutions and talk about the elephant in the room, “politics” and how it affects regions economic development.

While countries show some efforts towards economic convergence and meaningful attempts to attain the social development goals (SGDs), the opposite is true among regions. If one drives across one country, it becomes clear that people in the same country but do not seem to live in the same country. If one over drives and ends up in a different country, they will soon realise that advertisements about their country is doing well cannot be said of their region.

Thus, it can be observed that some regions are doing well and others, quite the opposite. Social scientists have tried to grasp this problem and attributed it to the sticky and spiky nature of knowledge inspiring investment in innovation hubs and clusters targeting innovation and knowledge but the results have been less promising. Institutions have now emerged as the missing link in understanding regional disparities but much of it remains a black box. Perhaps, looking at the history of one of the most popular sports, football we could ask ourselves:  What does it means? Why does it matter? In addition, how does it matter? May be, we can ask: Does politics matter for regional economic development?