Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau

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

Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau

  • Short CV

    • Since 10/2018: Director of the GIGA Institute of African Affairs

    • 10/2016 - 12/2016: Visiting Fellow at Oxford Changing Character of War Programme

    • Since 05/2014: External Associate at Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)

    • 03/2014 - 05/2014: Visiting Professor at Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)

    • Since 12/2013: Professor at the University of Hamburg (§ 17 Professur)

    • 6/2005 - 04/2015: Head of GIGA Research Programme 2 "Violence and Security"

    • Since 2002: Research fellow with GIGA Institute of African Affairs; areas of expertise: Southern Africa, West and Central Africa; elections, political parties, democracy, civil-military relations, violent conflict, resource wars

    • Education: Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology at Heidelberg University; PhD 2001

    Current Research

    • Resources conflicts

    • Religion and violent conflict

    • Civil–military relations

    • Political institutions

    Countries and Regions

    • Sub-Saharan Africa

    • Mali

    • Niger

    • Chad

    • Botswana

    Research Programmes


    • International Studies Association, Membership in discipline-specific association or network, 2013 - 2025
    • Bertelsmann Transformation Index, Bertelsmann Stiftung, BTI Regional Coordinator West and Central Africa, since 2004
    • Association for African Studies in Germany, Membership in region-specific association or network, since 2003

    Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau

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

    T. +49 40

    GIGA Focus Africa | 1/2024

    Ten Things to Watch in Africa in 2024

    Democracy will remain strained in Africa, with crucial elections in 2024. Conflict risks may arise alongside the further waning of Western influence. Economic growth will continue, but also structural socio-economic challenges too. Western policymakers should address migration and decarbonisation.

    Terrorism and Political Violence | 06/2023

    Mobilizing for Jihad: How Political Exclusion and Organized Protest Contribute to Foreign Fighter Outflows

    Employing quantitative analyses, we examine counts of Muslim foreign fighters from non-Muslim majority countries in Iraq and Syria from 2011 to 2015. We find that greater numbers of foreign fighters come from countries where Muslim minorities are politically organized, excluded from policymaking processes, and engaged in peaceful mobilization than countries where these conditions are otherwise absent.

    Prof. Dr. Jonathan Fox

    Ass. Prof. Dr. Ariel Zellman

    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.

    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 | 01/03/2021 - 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

    Research Project | 01/11/2020 - 31/07/2024

    Religion for Peace: Identifying Conditions and Mechanisms of Interfaith Peace

    In recent years, religion has become an increasingly contentious phenomenon, with religious violence and discrimination on the rise worldwide. However, religion is also connected to peace: interfaith peace is, in fact, the norm rather than the exception. We contribute to the rigorous empirical study of the link between religion and peace, especially regarding positive peace. Using several cutting-edge methodologies, we expect substantial results that are also very useful for policy.
    DFG, 2020-2024

    Research Project | 01/10/2020 - 30/09/2023

    Freedom and Development? Religious Actors, Freedom of Belief and Religion, and Sustainable Development

    About 80% of the world's population professes a religion. In many countries, religious actors play a major role in development, e.g. education and the satisfaction of basic needs. At the same time, freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) seems to be increasingly restricted and "religious" conflicts seem to be on the rise. We contribute to the international discussion how religion, and in particular FoRB, affects the Sustainable Development Goals. The project will provide policy recommendations with regard to potential religious partners in development cooperation.
    BMZ, 2020-2023

    Kleine Zeitung | Interview | 08/08/2023

    Militärputsch In Niger: "Russland versteht es, sich auf Krisen draufzusetzen"

    Nach dem Staatsstreich in Niger wird hinter den Kulissen um eine Lösung gerungen. Im Interview erklärt Politikwissenschaftler Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau, worum es in dem Konflikt geht und welche Rolle Russland und der Westen spielen. | Interview | 07/08/2023

    Krise um Niger: "ECOWAS hat sich unter Zugzwang gesetzt"

    Vor Donnerstag wird es keine Entscheidung über eine Militärintervention in Niger geben. Die ECOWAS setzt sich aber selbst unter Druck, sagt der Afrika-Experte Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau im Interview. Kann es in dieser Lage noch einen Kompromiss geben?

    Workshop | 05/06/2023 - 06/06/2023

    Workshop Berlin: Religion for Peace? Identifying Conditions and Mechanisms of Interfaith Peace

    Workshop Berlin: Religion for Peace? Identifying Conditions and Mechanisms of Interfaith Peace, GIGA Office Berlin, Berlin Dr. Lisa Hoffmann (Panelist, Organiser), Dr. Amanda tho Seeth (née Kovacs) (Panelist, Organiser), Julia Köbrich (Panelist, Organiser), Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau (Organiser)

    This workshop discussed facets of interreligious relations, focusing on the role religion can play for peace. It aimed to identify the conditions and mechanisms that facilitate interfaith peace and looked at the actors and approaches involved in strengthening peaceful relationships across religious communities.

    GIGA Forum | 17/05/2022

    The War in Ukraine and the Global South: Perceptions, Reactions, and Implications

    The War in Ukraine and the Global South: Perceptions, Reactions, and Implications, Online Event Organisers: German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) Prof. Dr. Eckart Woertz (Speaker), Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau (Speaker), Prof. Dr. Heike Holbig (Speaker), Dr. Johannes Plagemann (Speaker), Prof. Dr. Victor Mijares (Speaker), Dr. David Kuehn (Moderator)

    While most United Nations members quickly condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine, a few actors in the Global South adopted a “neutral” stance. This GIGA Forum discusses how countries in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa perceive the war, are reacting to it, and what its consequences are for these states.

    GIGA Event | 29/04/2022 - 30/04/2022

    The Case for Multi-Methods Research in Comparative Area Studies

    Towards Comparative Area Studies 2.0, Online event Organisers: German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) Dr. David Kuehn (Speaker), Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau (Speaker)

    Teaching | Department for Political Science, Universität Hamburg | 2021

    COVID-19 and Violent Conflict in the Global South

    GIGA expert Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau gave the course "COVID-19 and Violent Conflict in the Global South" as a Seminar Institute of Political Science at the Department for Political Science, Universität Hamburg in 2021.

    Teaching | Universität Hamburg | 2021

    Resource Conflicts

    Universität Hamburg Hamburg Germany

    Reading course on key texts in the study of resources and conflict

    Teaching | GIGA Institute for African Affairs | Peace and Security | GIGA Doctoral Programme | 2021

    The Multidimensionality of Concepts

    Workshop on multidimensionality of concepts with examples from GIGA research projects (religion and resources)


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