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Fall 2011 - 61095 - PA682GA - Policy Research Project on Global Policy Issues

African Institutional Capacity for Complex Emergencies

Instructor(s): Bussell, Jennifer
Unique Number: 61095
Day & Time: T 2:00 - 5:00 pm
Room: SRH 3.219/216
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Course Overview

Each student will be required to take this two-semester course in his or her second year. Topics will vary. In each course, a research team of ten to twenty students led by one or two professors will study a contemporary policy problem of interest to a specific client. Policy research projects are both client- and product-oriented and serve as instruments for both learning and public service.

Section Description

Institutional Capacity for Complex Emergencies in Africa is a Policy Research Project (PRP) course associated with the Strauss Center’s broader program on Climate Change and African Political Stability (CCAPS), a five-year project funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. In this course, our objective will be to assess the capacity of select African countries to respond to complex emergencies—especially those caused by climate change—in order to aid African governments, the U.S. government, and other international, regional, sub-regional and national entities in targeting their efforts and assistance to improve that institutional capacity. 

The likely consequences of climate change will greatly test the capacity of African governments to respond effectively to crisis situations. Complex emergencies created by natural and man-made disasters place tremendous demands on government capacity. In helping African countries meet the challenges that climate change is likely to pose, it is critical to determine the existing capacity of individual countries and to identify strategies for augmenting that capacity. Such an analysis of African state capacity is currently not available. This course seeks to address this gap in our knowledge.

In consultation with country and regional experts, the PRP will develop a template for analyzing government capacity throughout Africa. We will address issues such as the overall size of the government, funding amounts for government agencies with primary responsibility for handling complex emergencies, level of foreign aid, and extent of societal divisions. Students will then write preliminary case studies about specific countries, selected based upon preliminary analyses and previous research by the CCAPS program’s other projects. Small teams of PRP members will use the case studies to conduct fieldwork in Africa. This fieldwork will involve on-the-ground interviews as well as program evaluation and assessment. The PRP will use the information generated by fieldwork to write final case studies and to generate detailed and tangible policy recommendations for consideration by African governments, aid donors, and the U.S. government and military.