Paschal Mihyo is Senior Visiting Research Fellow at REPOA in Tanzania and an active member of the INCLUDE Platform. In the past, he has worked at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) and conducted research in the south, east and west of Africa. He was also a former member of the INCLUDE steering committee, leader of the Organization for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA) and director of research at the Association of African Universities (AAU). Paschal’s knowledge and social network represents a valuable asset for the platform.
Paschal explains that he has always wanted to work on a project that connects research in Europe and Africa. An earlier opportunity to do so slipped through his fingers when he almost joined the African Studies Centre (ASC) team on tracking development in 2004. When the opportunity to join INCLUDE arose, he grasped it with both hands.
“I didn’t think twice about it. Apart from the fact that it gave me the opportunity to work with scholars in the Netherlands and Africa, the platform’s idea of partnership between the continents resonates with me.”
One of the things the platform does, according to Paschal, is change the traditional view of providing aid for development in Africa. He points out that this view has long been: ‘Give money to Africa, and then wait for the results’. Platforms like INCLUDE try to change this idea:
“The platform was born of the idea of working together. If we have bad results, we are going to be remorseful together. If we turn out with good results, as the platform has done, then credit goes to both.”
In this equal exchange of research and knowledge between the Netherlands and Africa, Paschal highlights the need to keep the focus on the existing strong links and expertise. He calls for the deepening of research and knowledge, rather than expanding it globally.
“We should deepen, before we broaden.”
Based on his experience working in the development of European countries, Paschal explains how broadening this knowledge exchange to include partnerships with other European and African countries could be beneficial.
“I am hoping that we start to include partnerships with other European countries that have supported research on African development and that can complement the efforts of the Netherlands and widen the resource base of the platform. Through these partnerships, INCLUDE could widen cooperation between Africa and Europe.”
Informing policymakers on inclusive development, which is one of the main activities of the platform, can be optimized by involving a range of actors. Paschal appeals for the increased participation of development actors, private sector stakeholders and policymakers during meetings on the findings of INCLUDE research projects and their implications.
“Take the research on Dutch companies in Kenya and Nigeria; these projects involve actors in the private sector. But I feel we could encourage policymakers in the Netherlands to attend and listen to what the researchers have found out. More involvement will improve the impact of the research and potential for uptake of research findings.”