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

    Secretariat

    Gabriele Tetzlaff

    Secretary

    Daniela Wald

    Secretary


    Spotlight on... | 19/01/2023

    "Spotlight on..." New Doctoral Researcher Houssein Al Malla

    Houssein Al Malla joined the GIGA Doctoral Programme in October 2022. He is currently working on his dissertation titled “Personality and Foreign Policy: The Role of Political Psychology in Accounting for the Outcomes of International Sanctions”. Get to know Houssein in this interview.

    WDR5 Politikum | Interview | 22/12/2022

    Afrikapolitik: Zu sehr aufs Klima fokussiert?

    Die Afrikapolitik der Ampelregierung setzt einen Schwerpunkt auf Klimaschutz. Und das findet Afrikaforscher Christian von Soest auch ganz richtig. Die Wirtschaftszusammenarbeit mit dem Kontinent kommt ihm aber derzeit zu kurz.

    Dr. Christian von Soest

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of Research Programme "Peace and Security"

    Welt-Sichten | Interview | 13/12/2022

    Wird Kenia zum Vorbild für gute Wahltechnik?

    Kenia hat bei den Präsidentschafts- und Parlamentswahlen im August 2022 für mehr Transparenz und damit Akzeptanz der Ergebnisse gesorgt – mit einer Kombination von Wahlzetteln und digitaler Kontrolle.

    Andrew Crawford

    Doctoral Researcher

    GIGA Focus Africa | 1/2023

    Ten Things to Watch in Africa in 2023

    Russia’s war against Ukraine has accelerated international competition for influence in Africa. Structural weaknesses and post-pandemic instabilities continue to threaten democratic governance, peace, and development. We present a selective list and analysis of “ten things to watch” in Africa in 2023.

    Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau

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

    Dr. Julia Grauvogel

    Senior Research Fellow / Research Team Spokesperson

    Retrospective | 27/12/2022

    Our Event Highlights in 2022

    Our President Prof. Dr. Amrita Narlikar and Team GIGA are looking back on a successful and eventful 2022!

    GIGA Focus Africa | 1/2023

    Ten Things to Watch in Africa in 2023

    Russia’s war against Ukraine has accelerated international competition for influence in Africa. Structural weaknesses and post-pandemic instabilities continue to threaten democratic governance, peace, and development. We present a selective list and analysis of “ten things to watch” in Africa in 2023.

    Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau

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

    Dr. Julia Grauvogel

    Senior Research Fellow / Research Team Spokesperson

    Edited Volume | Routledge | 2023

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

    This book generates new empirical and theoretical insights by bringing together the scholarship on Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, providing context-bound intraregional research as well as long-term perspectives for the study of term-limit change. The chapters were originally published as a special issue of Democratization.

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow

    Environmental Research | 01/2023

    On Radar and Radio Exposure and Cancer in the Military Setting

    Michael Peleg

    Prof. Dr. Elliot Berry

    Or Native

    Prof. Dr. Elihu D. Richter

    Elgar Handbooks in Development | 12/2022

    Neopatrimonialism: A Critical Assessment

    Dr. Christian von Soest

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of Research Programme "Peace and Security"

    Web Publication | 11/2022

    Narrative map on "COVID-19 and Dynamics of (Post)War Violence"

    The pandemic altered the opportunity structures of state and non-state armed actors, exacerbated grievances, prompted new investments in services provision, and created new spaces for cooperation, thereby affecting the dynamics of violence across different dimensions and time horizons.

    Research Project | 01/08/2022 - 31/07/2023

    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 | 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 / Research Team Spokesperson

    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

    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

    Associate

    Team

    Martin Acheampong

    Research Fellow

    Houssein Al Malla

    Doctoral Researcher / Representative of Doctoral Researchers

    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

    Daniel Geissel

    Doctoral Researcher

    Dr. Tim Glawion

    Research Fellow

    Dr. Julia Grauvogel

    Senior Research Fellow / Research Team Spokesperson

    Dr. Lisa Hoffmann

    Research Fellow

    Julia Köbrich

    Doctoral Researcher

    Tom Konzack

    Doctoral Researcher

    Niklas Krösche

    Doctoral Researcher

    Tabea Lakemann

    Doctoral Researcher / Research Team Spokesperson

    Prof. Dr. Jann Lay

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of Research Programme "Globalisation and Development"

    Dr. Malte Lierl

    Research Fellow / Research Team Spokesperson

    Lena Merkel

    Research Fellow

    Tevin Tafese

    Doctoral Researcher

    Juliana Tappe Ortiz

    Doctoral Researcher

    Dr. Christian von Soest

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of Research Programme "Peace and Security"



    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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