GIGA Institute for African Affairs
Violent conflicts, despots, and poverty characterise the image of the African continent portrayed in much of Western media. Although many challenges persist, key socio-economic indicators such as life expectancy, income, and infant mortality have greatly improved since 1990. In the political arena, multiparty systems now dominate and the intensity of conflicts has decreased substantially in relative terms, regional organisations having contributed to both trends. On the international front, the influence of non-Western powers, such as China, is on the rise.
The GIGA Institute for African Affairs (IAA) has been researching political and economic developments in sub-Saharan Africa since 1963. At the thematic core of the institute’s research are political institutions (such as political parties, constitutional courts, and term limits), violent conflict (over land or other resources, as well as over religion) and international sanctions. Other substantial topics are an array of socio-economic challenges, migration, and regional organisations.
With the overarching goal of painting an appropriately nuanced picture of Africa, the IAA combines deep area expertise with comparative perspectives that employ a wide variety of qualitative and quantitative methods. Fieldwork plays a central role in both ensuring the quality of contextual knowledge and facilitating the collection of novel and original data. Collaboration with African partners is a top priority in these endeavours.
This approach allows us to produce detailed analyses that serve as important sources of information for public and private decision-makers. The IAA is a hub not only for members of the German public interested in Africa but also for various other European research institutions. Under the umbrella of the GIGA, the IAA is the seat of the secretariat of the Vereinigung für Afrikawissenschaften in Deutschland (African Studies Association in Germany, VAD) and co-edits the journal Africa Spectrum, which is listed on the Social Sciences Citation Index.