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.

    Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau

    Director of the GIGA Institute for African Affairs / Editor GIGA Focus Africa

    T. +49 (0)40 - 428 25-517matthias.basedau@giga-hamburg.de

    GIGA Talk | 19/01/2022

    With the Help of God(s)? Religious Actors and Sustainable Development in Africa

    Religious actors can both promote and undermine sustainable development. Many stakeholders and scholars recognise the relevant role of religious actors and place great hope in their potential. Alongside GIGA scholars, members of the “Africa Multiple” Cluster of Excellence from Universität Bayreuth will discuss this topic in depth and take questions from the audience at the next GIGA Talk/Forum.

    GIGA Talk | 26/01/2022

    Has America Come Back? President Biden’s Foreign Policy towards the Global South

    With the election of President Joe Biden, the world hoped for the United States’ return to diplomacy, multilateralism, and to a values-based foreign policy. In this GIGA Forum, experts examine US foreign policy in the first year of the Biden administration vis-à-vis Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.

    GIGA Focus Africa | 7/2021

    Elections and Government Legitimacy in Fragile States

    The collapse of elected civilian governments – as in Mali, Afghanistan and Guinea – raises the question of the legitimacy of a government. The author of this GIGA Focus argues that elections alone are often not enough to legitimise a government of fragile states in the eyes of the citizens.

    Dr. Malte Lierl

    Research Fellow / Speaker Research Team

    Frankfurter Rundschau (auch: Rheinpfalz und Stuttgarter Nachrichten) | Interview | 09/01/2022

    „Völliger Rückzug wäre jetzt falsch“

    Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau

    Director of the GIGA Institute for African Affairs / Editor GIGA Focus Africa

    GIGA Journal Family | 16/11/2021

    New Africa Spectrum 3/2021

    This issue of Africa Spectrum explores Africa's role in international politics. Among other topics, it examines Tanzania's peace and security policy, the West African Health Organisation, and Africa’s position in climate negotiations.

    Democratization | 2022

    Contested, Violated but Persistent: Presidential Term Limits in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa: Introduction to Special Issue

    The term limits of presidents as a crucial institutional feature to safeguard democracy have often been contested by incumbents. The authors of this article argue that bringing together knowledge on Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa provides new empirical and theoretical insights.

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of RP 1

    Democratization | 2022

    Sequences of Presidential-Term-Limit Reforms: Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa

    In this article the authors take a longitudinal view on presidential-term-limit reforms in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa since the third wave of democratization. Many countries (re)introduced the measure as a democratic safeguard against abuse of power; since then, it has been repeatedly challenged.

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of RP 1

    GIGA Focus Africa | 7/2021

    Elections and Government Legitimacy in Fragile States

    The collapse of elected civilian governments – as in Mali, Afghanistan and Guinea – raises the question of the legitimacy of a government. The author of this GIGA Focus argues that elections alone are often not enough to legitimise a government of fragile states in the eyes of the citizens.

    Dr. Malte Lierl

    Research Fellow / Speaker Research Team

    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 Project | 01/01/2022 - 31/12/2022

    Land-Based Investments in Global Supply Chains and the Protection of Vulnerable Groups

    The second phase of the research project “Large-Scale Land Acquisitions, Rural Change, and Social Conflict” focuses on the socio-economic impact of large-scale land acquisitions (LSLA) on local populations, particularly in terms of communal land rights and indigenous groups. Furthermore, it investigates the relationship between LSLA and global (agricultural) supply chains. The project aims to synthesise existing research and generate new evidence at the intersection of rural development and sustainable production and consumption.
    BMZ, 2022

    Research Project | 01/01/2022 - 30/06/2023

    Sanctions Termination in Times of Crises: Unpacking the Role of External Shocks

    In March 2020, the UN Secretary-General called for the easing of sanctions against Iran in response to COVID-19. Hence, external shocks are potentially related to sanctions termination. Yet, the effect of different types of external shocks such as pandemics, natural disasters, and economic crises on the (gradual) removal of sanctions has not been systematically studied. This project examines when and how external shocks affect sanctions termination through a nested research design combining new data collection, statistical analyses, and two case studies.
    DFG, 2022-2023

    Dr. Julia Grauvogel

    Senior Research Fellow / Speaker Research Team

    Hana Attia

    Doctoral Researcher

    Research Project | 01/10/2021 - 15/04/2022

    Investigating Supply & Demand Side Factors of a Massive Covid-19 Vaccination Drive: Experimental Evidence from Indonesia

    Indonesia is fighting one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in Asia. On January 13, 2021, the country started one of the world’s biggest COVID-19 vaccination drives. The plan is to inoculate 181.5 million people – two third of the population – in 15 months using primarily the CoronaVac from China’s Sinovac Biotech. The vaccination campaign is ambitious and its success hinges on a number of supply and demand side factors which are subject to investigation in this project.
    DFG, 2021-2022

    Dr. Jan Priebe

    Research Fellow / Speaker Research Team

    Research Project | 01/10/2021 - 30/09/2022

    Rebellion, Elections and the Pandemic in the Central African Republic: COVID-19 and its Impact on Deep-seated Patterns of Governance

    The COVID-19 pandemic reaches the Central African Republic (CAR) just when citizens were passing milestones for ending the country's conflicts through a peace agreement and national elections. A new rebellion broke out in late 2020 that hindered medical access to some of the most impoverished areas. An interplay of rebellion, elections and containing the pandemic have become the critical triangle deciding whether CAR can overcome its deep-seated patterns of governance that are stifling political and economic progress.
    DFG, 2021-2022

    Dr. Tim Glawion

    Research Fellow

    Research Project | 01/04/2021 - 31/03/2025

    INFECTIONS in an Urbanizing World - Humans, Animals, Environments

    The Leibniz Research Alliance INFECTIONS promotes interdisciplinary research across several sections of the Leibniz Association. It focuses on the spread of antimicrobial resistant (AMR) microbes in an urbanizing society. This is a topical issue since a number of endemic infectious diseases are the leading cause of disease and mortality worldwide. In addition, humanity is increasingly challenged by emerging infectious agents that are often zoonotic in nature, such as the coronavirus outbreak.
    Leibniz Association, 2021-2025

    Research Project | 01/03/2021 - 30/09/2022

    Corona Conflicts? Analysing Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Violent Conflict in Africa

    At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, decision-makers warned that the pandemic might lead to more violent conflict in fragile states, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. This project engages in a mixed-methods approach to study related relationships.
    Volkswagen Foundation, 2021-2022

    Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau

    Director of the GIGA Institute for African Affairs / Editor GIGA Focus Africa

    Mora Deitch

    Research Fellow

    Research Project | 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2023

    Digital Diplomacy and Statecraft (DigiTraL Diplo): Leg I of GIGA Digital Transformation Lab (DigiTraL) - A Global Approach to Digitalisation

    Digital Diplomacy and Statecraft (DigiTraL Diplo) is funded by the Federal Foreign Office. It is the first leg of a larger research endeavour, envisioned to include Digtal Warfare and Development at a later stage. DigiTraL Diplo focuses on how digital transformation offers new opportunities, challenges, and instruments for foreign policy. It will identify the chances and (security) threats of digitalization to advance adequate responses of (digital) diplomacy.
    FFO, 2021-2023

    Team

    Martin Acheampong

    Research Fellow

    Christof Althoff

    Research Fellow

    Hana Attia

    Doctoral Researcher

    Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau

    Director of the GIGA Institute for African Affairs / Editor GIGA Focus Africa

    Andrew Crawford

    Doctoral Researcher

    Mora Deitch

    Research Fellow

    Daniel Geissel

    Doctoral Researcher

    Dr. Tim Glawion

    Research Fellow

    Dr. Julia Grauvogel

    Senior Research Fellow / Speaker Research Team

    Hannes Greve

    Doctoral Researcher

    Dr. Nicole Hirt

    Research Fellow

    Dr. Lisa Hoffmann

    Research Fellow

    Julia Köbrich

    Doctoral Researcher

    Tom Konzack

    Doctoral Researcher

    Niklas Krösche

    Doctoral Researcher

    Tabea Lakemann

    Doctoral Researcher / Speaker Research Team

    Prof. Dr. Jann Lay

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of RP 3

    Dr. Malte Lierl

    Research Fellow / Speaker Research Team

    Rebecca Lohmann

    Doctoral Researcher

    Lena Merkel

    Doctoral Researcher

    Dr. Eric Stollenwerk

    Research Fellow / Speaker Research Team

    Tevin Tafese

    Doctoral Researcher

    Juliana Tappe Ortiz

    Doctoral Researcher

    Dr. Christian von Soest

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of RP 2



    President

    Prof. Dr. Amrita Narlikar is President of the GIGA. Her research focuses on international negotiations, economic statecraft, and multilateralism. She has a special interest in India, Asia, and the BRICS.

    Office of the President

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