GIGA Institute for African Affairs

GIGA Institute for African Affairs

The GIGA Institute for African Affairs analyses political and socio-economic developments in sub-Saharan Africa. Political institutions, violent conflicts, as well as a variety of socio-economic challenges form the thematic core. The aim of the research is to paint a nuanced picture of sub-Saharan Africa.

  • The GIGA Institute for African Affairs engages in a unique Social Science-based approach to African Studies. Aiming at painting a nuanced picture of sub-Saharan Africa, the regional institute analyses political and socio-economic developments and combines rigorous disciplinary approaches with in-depth contextual knowledge on the region as well as its subregions – such as the Sahel and key country cases. Political institutions, violent conflicts, as well as a variety of socio-economic challenges form the thematic core of the work of GIGA’s Africa institute. Specific topics include research on land, migration, sanctions, religion, regional organisations, and the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Within the frameworks of the GIGA’s Global Approach and of Comparative Area Studies, the GIGA Institute for African Affairs employs a wide variety of qualitative and quantitative methods to test, modify, and develop theory. Extensive fieldwork ensures both context-sensitivity and the collection of original data. Research projects are regularly confined not just to Africa but include pronounced cross-regional perspectives too. The regional institute has a very strong record in attracting third-party funding and of publishing in top-notch academic outlets. Knowledge exchange is an integral part of these activities, often occurring with German and African partners and with decision makers as part of joint projects.

    Collaboration with African partners has been increasingly institutionalised, especially by participating in the Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa, based at the University of Ghana. GIGA’s Africa Institute also acts as a focal point for the German and the international African Studies community. Its Social Sciences Citation Index-listed journal Africa Spectrum, published in close cooperation with the Association for African Studies in Germany (VAD), has more than doubled its Impact Factor, in recent years. The GIGA Institute for African Affairs also hosts the Secretariat of the VAD.


    Gabriele Tetzlaff


    Research Comic | 2024

    The Making of Interreligious Peace

    Sometimes, people belonging to different religions do not get along well. In 2022 we travelled to Sierra Leone and Togo where interreligious relations were very peaceful. This comic depicts some examples of how to make interreligious peace: celebrating together, collaborating, being friends, and respecting each other despite differences.

    BR 2 Radiowissen "Alles Geschichte" Podcast | Quote | 16/02/2024

    Erfolgsgeschichte Botswana

    Botswana ist eine unerwartete Erfolgsgeschichte. Bei der Staatsgründung wirtschaftlich schwach und ohne nennenswerte Infrastruktur, gilt Botswana heute als eines der wohlhabendsten und stabilsten Länder Afrikas. Das liegt nicht nur am überlegten Umgang mit Diamantenvorkommen. Wie hat Botswana das geschafft?

    Oxford Handbooks | 05/2024

    Legitimacy and Legitimation Strategies in Authoritarian Regimes

    All authoritarian regimes seek to substantiate their right to rule. In this chapter, we differentiate legitimation—understood as the process of claiming popular support—from legitimacy itself, which refers to the extent to which a regime is perceived as legitimate by its citizens.

    Chapter in Edited Volume | 05/2024

    International Actors and Autocratization

    Autocratic regimes influence actors and processes in other political systems. Conversely, they are affected by “outside” developments. This chapter presents the current state-of-the-art with respect to international actors and autocratization based on analytical differentiation between a general environment and purposeful, specific actions to support autocratic processes abroad.

    GIGA Journal Family

    The GIGA Journal Family is published by SAGE Publishing, maintaining the "platinum standard" of the open access model. Excellent contributions by researchers from all over the world are featured in the four journals. To ensure the journals' quality, all essays are evaluated in a double-blind peer-review process.

    GIGA Journal Family

    Research Project | 01/08/2024 - 31/07/2026

    Religion for Peace: Investigating Messengers and Messages for Interreligious Peace

    Religious leaders are active for (interreligious) peace in many contexts and, for example, use their rhetoric to advocate for peace. The effectiveness of religious leaders’ rhetoric depends on the interplay of religious leaders being the messengers and the contents of their words—the message itself. This project (re)tests the (comparative) effectiveness of religious leaders as peace messengers and effective content of peace messages. The project also examines effects of an intervention.
    DFG, 2024-2025

    Research Project | 01/02/2024 - 31/12/2025

    Digital Transformation Lab (DigiTraL), Phase II: Digitalisation as Chance for Cooperation with Global Partners

    GIGA‘s Digital Transformation Lab (DigiTraL), funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, analyses the political drivers and real-world consequences of the digital transformation taking place around the world. The Global South in particular is an important actor in and shaper of this transformation.
    FFO, 2024-2025

    Research Project | 01/01/2024 - 31/12/2026

    The Dynamics of Mass Protests: The Influence of Composition, Demands, and Tactics on Violent Outcomes

    In recent years, the world has experienced an unprecedented number of mass protest events. Yet despite valuable research endeavours, one area that has not been systematically addressed is the conditions under which such protests turn violent. This is a significant limitation, as violent protests have serious detrimental effects: They harm people as well as infrastructure, erode trust between citizens and government, and polarize societies. To address this shortcoming, the Dynamics of Mass Protest (DMP) project will systematically study the heterogeneous and dynamic nature of protests.
    DFG, 2024-2026

    Dr. Belén González

    Prof. Dr. Nils B. Weidmann

    Research Project | 01/06/2023 - 30/11/2025

    Targeting: How the USA and EU Use Individual Sanctions

    Individual sanctions have become a go-to instrument with which Western powers confront challenges to international peace and security. Shaping the trend of individualizing accountability, the USA and the EU as the main bilateral global sanction senders target individuals and entities to hold them accountable for the instigation of armed conflict, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, or the violation of human rights. INSA seeks to systematically analyze and compare the listing decisions of the USA and the EU.
    DSF, 2023-2025

    Research Project | 01/08/2022 - 31/12/2023

    Impact of Sanctions on Senders Countries’ Enterprises – the Case of the Russian–Ukraine Military Conflict

    The goal of this project is to assess the short- and mid-term economic consequences of EU and US sanctions imposed on Russia on companies from sanctions sender countries. Knowing how and why economic sanctions affect firms’ behavior is key to understanding the impact that sanctions will have - both for good and for ill – for senders’ countries’ economies and sanctions’ effectiveness.

    Research Project | 01/07/2022 - 31/03/2023

    Platforms and Online Workers in India and Africa: Challenges and Opportunities for Decent Work

    Technological advances and digitalisation are rapidly transforming the world of work, and the emergence of online labour platforms is one manifestation of this. The resulting labour market outcomes and dynamics are not well understood, particularly in the Global South. This project consists of a series of four studies that contribute to understanding the characteristics and dynamics of online work in India and selected African countries.
    GIZ, 2022-2023

    Research Project | 15/01/2022 - 14/12/2024

    COVID-19 and Executive Personalization in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America and the MENA Region

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, political leaders reacted by containment measures that, next to combating the spread of the pandemic, also presented a window of opportunity to bolster executives’ personal grasp on power. Personalization of power has been particularly worrying in the Global South where constraints on the chief executives were often already weak prior to the pandemic. This project assesses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the personalization of executive power in 36 countries of the Global South.
    DFG, 2021-2024



    Research Platform Africa

    Exchange and cooperation with scholars from around the world is a decades-long tradition at the GIGA. Since 2015 we have been intensifying and consolidating this cooperation with the help of the GIGA research platforms. 

    The Research Platform Africa aims to intensify and consolidate cooperation with excellent partners in sub-Saharan Africa and foster collaborations on research topics of joint interest.

    Research Platforms

    President (ad interim)

    Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach is President (ad interim) of the GIGA.

    Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach

    Regional Institutes

    Africa|Asia|Latin America|Middle East


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