Collaborative Research Group Africa in the World

Africa in the World - Rethinking Africa’s Global Connections

This AEGIS-CRG aims to build on the richness of knowledge on Africa’s global connections that is already available within the AEGIS network and beyond. The debate about Africa’s changing relations with the world has rapidly evolved over the past few years. The initial emphasis on China’s role in Africa has given way to a more diversified approach, acknowledging that other players have also become important as they not only challenge global power constellations, but also help to reconfigure power constellations and redistribute resources at the local and regional levels – with repercussions for the global level as well. There is a need for a more in-depth reflection on what these new developments mean from the vantage point of Africa. While the continent appears to be central to many debates on the so-called multipolar or polycentric world, Africa is still too often considered merely as a site where multipolarity is played out, while the ways in which Africa and Africans are co-shaping the contemporary world are largely ignored. The AEGIS CRG offers a forum for debate and reflections on some of the larger questions, inlcuding:

  • In which way do diverse African actors deal with opportunities and challenges related to current global restructuring, how do they try to enhance their economic or political positions?
  • Which new hierarchies of values and stratification are produced in Africa by the circulation of people and ideas, the fusion and syncretisation of images and artefacts?
  • Which impact does this have on migration and for images of a “better life”, for Africans, but also for people from other continents who now discover Africa as a destination, among other things to escape environmental hazards or unemployment constraints in their home countries ?
  • What is the historic long-term perspective of these developments, how are they embedded in longer-term traditions of economic and cultural exchange between African and other actors and regions?

With a series of events and related publications, and exchange and discussion of new findings and developments between its members and with others, the CRG wants to contribute to the production of knowledge on Africa’s role in the current era of global restructuring.  


Dr. Mayke Kaag (African Studies Centre, Leiden University),

Dr. Stefan Schmid (Goethe University, Frankfurt),

Upcoming events


Destination Africa. Contemporary Africa as a global meeting point

Leiden, 22-23 March 2018

The newly established AEGIS Collaborative Research Group (CRG) ‘Africa in the World – Rethinking Africa’s Global Connections’, will organize the ‘Destination Africa’ conference as its inaugural activity, during which this idea of contemporary Africa as a global meeting point will be explored.  Important questions include the ways in which people in Africa perceive this new influx and how they navigate, negotiate, engage, and possibly struggle to strike a balance between their own interests and those of the ‘newcomers’, including their evaluation of questions concerning integration, and the distribution of profits and resources.  The conference also aims to shed greater light on the motivations, interests, negotiation strategies and navigating practices of those who see Africa as a destination.  Finally, it will be important to put these current global encounters on African soil in a historical perspective. 

The call for papers closed on 1 October 2017. Read the call for papers.

More news on the conference programme will follow soon.

Please note that participants to the conference are expected to cover their own expenses.

Past events

Panel at ECAS 7 in Basel , 29.6. – 1.7. 2017

CRG Africa in the World: Global Village, African City. How to read Africa's changing global

29 June, 2017 at 14:00


Mayke Kaag (African Studies Centre)
Stefan Schmid (Goethe University Frankfurt)

This panel, organized by the AEGIS CRG 'Africa in the World' aimed to bring together a collection of papers covering diverse aspects of how the African city and its inhabitants are part of, and co-shape, the Global Village.

Papers presented:

  • Jan Beek (Goethe University Frankfurt):  Selling promises and justifying fraud: Asian MLMs in Nairobi
  • Matthias Gruber (Goethe-University): Driving the hectic City. Everyday mobility of Asian migrants in Johannesburg
  • Abdourahmane Seck (University Gaston Berger):  Jeunes, urbains, mondialisés et musulmans au Sénégal.