Alumni Postdoc Fellow

Dr James Nyomakwa-Obimpeh

Fellows Unit 2

Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research
Schifferstraße 44
47059 Duisburg
Germany

Tel: +49 (0)203 379-5230
Fax: +49 (0)203 379-5276
E-mail: nyomakwa-obimpeh@spam protectgcr21.uni-due.de

Fellowship

Dr James Nyomakwa-Obimpeh joined Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research as a Postdoc Fellow. He conducted his research in Research Unit 2 'Global Cultural Conflicts and Transcultural Cooperation' from July 2017 to January 2018.

Research Project at the Centre

Exploring the Role of Culture in EU-Africa Regional Trade Relations

In the wake of protracted trade negotiations between the European Union (EU) and several African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) with the aim of establishing Free Trade Areas (FTAs) through regional Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), cooperation between EU and Africa has been at its lowest point in recent times. The proposal and the negotiation of the regional EPAs manifest a change in trade and development policy of the EU in relation to the ACP Group of States under the Union’s general external policies. Along with that new strategy, among others, the European Commission launched the 'EU Strategy for Africa: Towards a Euro-African pact to accelerate Africa’s development' which sought to treat Africa as 'one' in 2005. These new approaches of EU – especially the negotiation of the regional EPAs, have however resulted in misunderstandings and have created tensions which have occasioned different negotiation outcomes. Consequently, in the view of some, the EPA negotiations have caused a further 'decline' in EU-Africa relations.

Departing from the controversies and conflicts that have been witnessed so far on the EPA negotiations which have bring about a 'decline' in partnership and cooperation, and assuming that there is a cultural difference between the two regions, this research project seeks to explore the explicit or implicit role of culture in fostering or inhibiting regional trade negotiations and cooperation between the EU and Africa. The project seeks to analyse the impact of the apparent cultural diversity embedded in interactions of European and African stakeholders (from a micro level of individual negotiators to the social dynamics that emerge between the two regions). Although the impact of cultural differences might seem obvious in the relationship between the two regions, there is an apparent lack of consistent and systematic analysis of culture in the literature in the context of emerging tendency of conflicts in cooperation. Using discourse analytical tools, this project thus seeks to identify and examine 'cultural practices' that bring about a successful or an unsuccessful cooperation at the level of  individual, group level and by extension national/regional levels as witnessed during the EPA negotiations between EU and Africa using selected African Regional Economic Communities.

This project contributes to the growing importance of culture in EU-Africa relations and in global cooperation literature. It will also contribute to explanations on the dynamics of regional trade negotiations between developed and developing regions.

Research Interests

  • International Trade Policies and Negotiations
  • EU External Policies (Economic and Political Relations with Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States)
  • Culture and International Cooperation/Negotiations
  • EU-Africa Political Cooperation and Partnership
  • Global Development Aid Policies and Aid Effectiveness
  • European Union Political and Governance Systems
  • Internationalisation of Higher Education Policies

Current Projects

  • Culture and EU-Africa Regional Cooperation
  • EU-Africa Joint Strategy
  • International Trade Negotiation Strategies

Vita

10/2010-12/2016 University of Cologne, Germany
Jean Monnet Chair of Political Science & European Affairs
PhD Research Fellow
11/2013-10/2014 University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Institute for Political Science
Part-Time Lecturer
11/2011-03/2012 Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA), Brussels, Belgium
Marie Curie Researcher (part of PhD)
03/2011-10/2011 European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA), Maastricht, The Netherlands
EU Researcher (part of PhD)
10/2009-09/2010 Unicare (London) Ltd, London, UK
Operation's Manager (Quality Assurance)
05/2009-08/2009 Open Society Institute, Local Government and Public Services Reform (LGI), Budapest, Hungary
Local Government Researcher (Intern)
03/2006-09/2007 University of Ghana, Accra
Institute for Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER)
Research Assistant
08/2005-07/2006 University of Ghana
Department of Political Science
Research and Tutorial Assistant / National Voluntary Service Personnel
11/1999-08/2001 God's Grace International School & Supreme Saviour International School, Kumasi, Ghana
Class and Subject Teacher (respectively)
01/1986-12/2006 Family Farm (Abease, Pru District-Ghana)
Farmer

Selected Publications

Nyomakwa-Obimpeh, James (2017): Examining the Role of BATNA in Explaining EPA Negotiation Outcomes, Journal of Economic Integration, Vol. 32 (2): 488–530. DOI: https://doi.org/10.11130/jei.2017.32.2.488

Nyomakwa-Obimpeh, James (2016): Explaining the Outcomes of Negotiations of Economic Partnership Agreements between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Regional Economic Communities - Comparing EU CARIFORUM and EU-ECOWAS EPAs, a doctoral thesis published at University of Cologne (Germany) & University of Edinburgh (Scotland-UK).

Nyomakwa-Obimpeh, James (2012): Time for a New Generation of Trade Agreements? Policy Brief, Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA), Brussels.

Müller, Winfried, Salim, Baanda Ayub, Ssemwanga, Andrew, Nyomakwa-Obimpeh, James, and Lee, Teresa (2012): Institutional Evaluation Report - Ahmadu Bello University (Zaria, Nigeria) – under: 'Europe – Africa Quality Connect  project' commissioned by the European Universities Association (EUA) and Association of African Universities (AAU).

Nyomakwa-Obimpeh, James, and Siddi, Marco (2012): New Challenges and Priorities of the EU Under the Hungarian Council Presidency, Conference Report, Council of European Union Pre-Presidency Conference on 'European leadership in Challenging Times', 2–3 December 2012, Budapest (Hungary), in: European Leadership in Challenging Times – Academia & Politics in Dialogue, Cologne: Fritz-Thyssen-Stiftung & THESEUS.

Nyomakwa-Obimpeh, James (2012): The Arab Spring: Managing Tensions and Crisis Inside and Outside the EU, Conference Report, organized by Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA), 15 March 2012, Brussels-Belgium.     

Nyomakwa-Obimpeh, James (2011): A Changed Europe? Crisis and Renewal during the Danish EU Presidency 2012, Conference Report, Council of European Union Pre-Presidency Conference, 8–9 December 2011, co-organized by Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA) and Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), Copenhagen, Denmark.

Nyomakwa-Obimpeh, James (2011): From the Inside Out: Assessing EU External Action, conference background paper at THESEUS Conference on 'Which Way Forward? Three Years after Lehman, Two Years after Lisbon: Present Challenges, Strategic Choices and Future Perspectives of the EU', 24–25 November 2011, Fritz Thyssen Stiftung, Cologne, Germany.

Nyomakwa-Obimpeh, James (2011): Leading the Way? Comparing the CARIFORUM EPA Negotiations with Those for ECOWAS, a study commissioned by the Office for the Promotion of Parliamentary Democracy, European Parliament, Brussels.

Nyomakwa-Obimpeh, James, Basiye, Karen, and Kazeem, Olorisade Babatunde (2009): Brain Drain vs Brain Gain, in: Erasmus Mundus: Higher Education in Europe and the Dilemma of Brain Drain and Brain Gain in Africa, a study commissioned by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency, European Commission.

Teaching Responsibilities

  • 'International Relations and Development Policy', MA Seminar, Institute for Political Science, University of Duisburg-Essen, Campus Duisburg, Guest speaking in Winter Semester 2013; Summer Semester 2014; Winter Semester 2016.
  • 'Introduction to European Politics and the Political System of the European Union', Bachelor Seminar, University of Cologne, Summer Semester 2013.
  • 'The International Relations of the European Union and Africa', Bachelor Seminar, Institute for Political Science, University of Duisburg-Essen, Campus Duisburg, Winter Semester 2013/2014.
  • 'EU-Africa Relations', Bachelor Seminar, University of Cologne, Summer Semester 2012.
  • 'Foreign Policy Analysis', Bachelor Course, Department of Political Science, University of Ghana, Accra, Summer Semester 2005/2006.
  • 'Ethnicity in Ghanaian Politics', Bachelor Course, Department of Political Science, University of Ghana, Winter Semester 2006.

Expertise and Consulting Work

  • Review of Economic Partnership Agreements for Office for the Promotion of Parliamentary Democracy, European Parliament, Brussels, 2011.
  • Evaluation Expert, 'Europe-Africa Quality Connect: Building Institutional Capacity through Partnership', European Universities Association (EUA), Association of African Universities (AAU), the Irish Universities Quality Board (IUQB) and the University of Aveiro (UA), Portugal, October 2010–September 2012.
  • Project Team Member, Erasmus Mundus Action 4 Project: 'Access to Success—Fostering Trust and Exchange between Europe and Africa', coordinated by the European Universities Association (EUA) and Association of African Universities (AAU), 2008–2010. 
  • Research and Development of Operational Policy on Local Governance Project for English Speaking West-African Countries, Local Government and Public Services Reform (LGI), Budapest, Hungary, May–August 2009.

Seminars and Conferences

  • Lecture Series 'How Sustainable is German Foreign Policy?', coordinated by the Sustainable Development in International Cooperation Unit of the University of Bonn and the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Bonn, Germany, Winter Semester 2015/201.
  • Conference Paper 'The Legal Bases of EU External Trade Policy; What Implications for the Negotiations of Economic Partnership Agreements?', Europa Research Group, 18 April 2013, University of Edinburgh, UK.
  • Paper Presentation 'The "Odd" Success: Explaining the Outcome of EU’s Negotiation of Economic Partnership Agreement with Caribbean Region', Workshop on 'Glocalising Europe: Local Identities, European Politics, and Global Finance', 20 April 2013, organised by the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Edinburgh, UK.
  • 'Developing Entrepreneurial Universities: The Role of Entrepreneurial Universities in Socio-Economic Growth', presentation delivered at the two-day policy dialogue workshop: 'The Interlinking Roles of Academic Cooperation and Research Collaboration as a Contribution to Knowledge Generation, Exchange and Capacity Building Measures', 23–24 October 2012, organised by the Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC) in collaboration with the African Union Commission, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
  • Conference Background Paper: 'From the Inside Out: Assessing EU External Action',, THESEUS Conference on 'Which Way Forward? Three Years after Lehman, Two Years after Lisbon: Present Challenges, Strategic Choices and Future Perspectives of the EU', 24–25 November 2011, Fritz Thyssen Stiftung, Cologne, Germany.
  • 'Leading the Way? Comparing the CARIFORUM EPA Negotiations with those for ECOWAS', presentation delivered during a workshop on 'The Role of Parliaments in Scrutinising International Agreements', 17- 20 October 2011, organised by the Office for the Promotion of Parliamentary Democracy, European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium.
  • 'European Union's Economic Partnership Agreements with Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific Countries: A Case of Market Power Europe?', conference paper presented at 'New Frontiers in European Studies: UACES Student Forum', 12th Annual Conference, 30 June – 1 July 2011, University of Surrey, UK
  • 'European Union's Trade Agreements with Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific Countries: Market Power Europe at Play?', paper presentation at a Graduate Conference on 'Taking the European Union into the 21st Century; History, Challenges and Debates', 9 April 2011, organised by European Union Centre of Excellence, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
  • Conference Report: 'The Arab Spring: Managing Tensions and Crisis Inside and Outside the EU', organized by Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA), 15 March 2012, Brussels, Belgium.
  • Conference Report: 'New challenges and priorities of the EU under the Hungarian Council Presidency' (with Marco Siddi), Council of European Union Pre-Presidency Conference on 'European Leadership in Challenging Times', 2–3 December 2012, Budapest, Hungary.
  • Theseus Summer School: 'European Economic Governance and European Council Simulation', 2–7 July 2012, Brussels, Belgium.
  • Conference Report: Council of European Union Pre-Presidency Conference 'A Changed Europe? Crisis and Renewal during the Danish EU Presidency 2012', 8–9 December 2011, co-organized by Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA) and Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), Copenhagen, Denmark.

Membership

  • University Association for Contemporary European Studies (UACES)
  • European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR)
  • Erasmus Mundus Student and Alumni Association
  • African Chapter of Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association
  • Founding and Management Board Member of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Grace Congregation, Cologne

Awards

  • Benedict und Helene Schmittmann-Wahlen Scholarship, Schmittmann-Wahlen-Foundation & University of Cologne, February 2014 – February 2017
  • Stipend, Kölner Gymnasial- und Stiftungsfonds, Cologne, Germany, May 2014
  • DAAD Scholarship, University of Cologne, October 2013 – February 2014
  • Marie Curie Fellowship, European Commission, October 2010 – September 2013
  • Erasmus Mundus Master's Scholarship, European Commission, September 2007 – October 2009
  • Academic Excellence Award, Legon Hall Council, University of Ghana, May 2005
  • Academic Excellence Award, Legon Hall Council, University of Ghana, May 2004
  • Senior Secondary School Government Scholarship, September 1998 – August 1999

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