Africa Spectrum was first published in 1966 by the GIGA Institute of African Affairs (IAA) in Hamburg. It is an inter-disciplinary journal dedicated to scientific exchange between the continents.

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The Globethics.net library contains articles of the Africa Spectrum as of vol. 44(2009) to current.

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  • Review: Insa Nolte, Olukoya Ogen and Rebecca Jones (eds.), Beyond Religious Tolerance: Muslim, Christian and Traditionalist Encounters in an African Town

    Roman Loimeier (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, 2017-08-04)
    Review of the edited volume: Insa Nolte, Olukoya Ogen, and Rebecca Jones (eds), Beyond Religious Tolerance: Muslim, Christian and Traditionalist Encounters in an African Town, Woodbridge: James Currey, 2017, ISBN 9781847011534, 318 pp.
  • “Gender Refugees” in South Africa: The “Common-Sense” Paradox

    B Camminga; Institute for Humanities in Africa (HUMA)University of Cape Town (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, 2018-06-25)
    South Africa is the only country on the African continent that constitutionally protects transgender asylum seekers. In light of this, it has seen a marked rise in the emergence of this category of person within the asylum system. Drawing on research carried out between 2012 and 2015, I argue that transgender-identified refugees or “gender refugees” from Africa, living in South Africa, rather than accessing refuge continue to experience significant hindrances to their survival comparable with the persecution experienced in their countries of origin. I argue this is in part due to the nature of their asylum claim in relation to gender as a wider system of “common-sense” dichotomous administration, something which remains relatively constant across countries of origin and refugee-receiving countries. Rather than being protected gender refugees, because they are read as violating the rules of normative gender, they find themselves paradoxically with rights, but unable to access them.
  • "Gender Refugees" in South Africa: the "Common-Sense" Paradox

    Camminga, B (DEU, 2018-07-04)
    South Africa is the only country on the African continent that constitutionally protects transgender asylum seekers. In light of this, it has seen a marked rise in the emergence of this category of person within the asylum system. Drawing on research carried out between 2012 and 2015, I argue that transgender-identified refugees or “gender refugees” from Africa, living in South Africa, rather than accessing refuge continue to experience significant hindrances to their survival comparable with the persecution experienced in their countries of origin. I argue this is in part due to the nature of their asylum claim in relation to gender as a wider system of “common-sense” dichotomous administration, something which remains relatively constant across countries of origin and refugee-receiving countries. Rather than being protected gender refugees, because they are read as violating the rules of normative gender, they find themselves paradoxically with rights, but unable to access them.
  • The Power of Mixed Messages: Women, Peace, and Security Language in National Action Plans from Africa

    Hudson, Heidi (DEU, 2018-03-05)
    Vor dem Hintergrund globaler Diskurse zu "Frauen, Frieden und Sicherheit" analysiert die Autorin die gender- und frauenbezogene Sprache in vier Nationalen Aktionsplänen afrikanischer Staaten (Kenia, Liberia, Nigeria und Uganda), die mit Blick auf die Resolution 1325 des UN-Sicherheitsrats entworfen wurden. Aus Sicht der Autorin besitzen Nationale Aktionspläne das Potenzial, die konsensorientierte Sprache der Resolutionen des Sicherheitsrats zu überwinden, und eröffnen daher neue Räume für politisches und praktisches feministisches Engagement. Ihre Analyse deckt drei diskursive Themenbereiche auf: die Konstruktion von "Womenandchildren", die Zivilisierung des Krieges durch Frauen und die Zuweisung von Verantwortung für die Verhütung geschlechtsspezifischer Gewalt an die Frauen selbst. Alle drei Themenbereiche haben einen Bezug zur Bildung geschlechtsspezifischer Identitäten sowie zu geschlechtsspezifischen Formen von Sicherheit und Gewalt. Auf unterschiedliche Weise kombinieren die Aktionspläne eine überwiegend liberal-feministisch geprägte Sprache mit kritischen Einsichten. Die Ambivalenz der Botschaften, die von diesen Plänen ausgehen, zeigt nach Ansicht der Autorin, dass Diskurse Brüche aufweisen und damit die Möglichkeit zur differenzierten Kontextanalyse und Umsetzung eröffnen.
  • ECOWAS and the Restoration of Democracy in The Gambia

    Christof Hartmann (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, 2017-04-13)
    Following the disputed December 2016 presidential elections in The Gambia, ECOWAS managed to "restore democracy" in the country by using the threat of force, but without any use of direct physical violence. Both the African Union and the United Nations Security Council backed ECOWAS, which also gave ECOWAS legitimacy, for what was essentially ECOWAS's policy, and indeed an African solution to African problems. Only when the scenario of military invasion became credible did the Gambian regime accept the defeat. Four main factors explain the behaviour of ECOWAS and its success: ECOWAS had a clear legal mandate to threaten the use of force in order to protect democracy in one of its member states; there was consensus that ECOWAS forces could have coped with the relatively small Gambian army; the Gambian president could not rely on friends among his regional peers or some powerful ally from outside Africa; and regional leaders such as Nigeria and Senegal made a credible commitment to the regional intervention. While the intervention was a victory for pro-democratic activist regionalism, the specific West African conditions make a diffusion of the model to other parts of Africa unlikely.
  • ICT and Elections in Nigeria: Rural Dynamics of Biometric Voting Technology Adoption

    Victor Chidubem Iwuoha; University of Nigeria (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, 2019-01-31)
    Applications of Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-driven innovations are profound in the electoral cycle. Among them, biometric technology is currently sweeping across developing countries. It is, however, only poorly adopted among rural voters. Does the use of biometric technology in the conduct of elections reconstruct rural voters’ behaviour, amid prevailing social challenges? The links between these realities and their consequences are currently less understood, and lacking in supporting literature. I argue that the public perception of biometric technology, the availability of proper infrastructure, and the distance between polling stations and the dwellings of rural voters all affect the latter’s level of adoption of biometric technology. These interactions combine to produce specific modalities that shape voting behaviour and general political culture. I elicit primary data from voters in Nigeria’s remote villages, so as to predict the implications and consequences of glossing over the dimensions and magnitude of the biometric technology adaptation challenge by policymakers. I conclude by reflecting on how these interplays and interactions create “spatial differentials” in electoral outcomes/credibility, and proffer possible strategies for institutional intervention.
  • Democratic Ruptures and Electoral Outcomes in Africa: Ghana’s 2016 Election

    George Bob-Milliar; Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi-Ghana; Jeffrey Paller; University of San Francisco, US (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, 2018-06-25)
    Repetitive elections are important benchmarks for assessing the maturity of Africa’s electoral democracies. Yet the processes through which elections entrench a democratic culture remain understudied. We introduce an important mechanism called a democratic rupture: an infraction in the democratisation process during competitive elections that has the potential to cause a constitutional crisis. It provides a new avenue of citizen participation outside of voting, and political space for opposition party realignment and to strengthen its support. Drawing from the case of Ghana, we show how the 2012 presidential election petition challenge served as a democratic rupture by contributing to the opposition’s victory in 2016, enabling its political development. First, it exposed flaws in the electoral system and led to demands for electoral reforms. Second, it led to citizens being better educated on the electoral process. Third, it taught political parties that vigilance at the polling stations can help win elections. The article provides a critical analysis of the factors that shape democratic development, especially in cases where opposition parties defeat incumbent politicians.
  • The State of Electoral Reforms in Ghana

    Ransford Edward Van Gyampo (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, 2018-01-31)
    Following Ghana’s December 2012 elections, there was a protracted election petition process at the nation’s Supreme Court challenging the declaration of the winner as the duly elected presidential candidate. Even though the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the declared winner, it made several recommendations that paved the way for numerous interventions aimed at putting together proposals for electoral reform to finetune Ghana’s electoral processes. Several such reform proposals were submitted to the Electoral Commission by the end of 2013. Nevertheless, these were not implemented to guide the 2016 general elections. The successful conduct of the 2016 elections has therefore been described as a “miracle.” Why were the reform proposals not implemented? What is the current state of reform proposals submitted to the Electoral Commission? What is the way forward? This article addresses these questions.
  • Review: Anika Becher, Explaining Ethnic and Election Violence: Kenya and Malawi in Comparison (2016)

    Kristine Höglund (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, 2017-08-04)
    Review of the monograph: Anika Becher, Explaining Ethnic and Election Violence: Kenya and Malawi in Comparison, Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, 2016, ISBN 9783848733903, 557 pp.
  • Nigeria and Democratic Progress by Elections in Africa

    Giovanni Carbone; Andrea Cassani (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, 2016-12-14)
    Elections do not always advance democratisation, yet they can. We outline a democratisation-by-elections model according to which the opportunities for political change opened up by each electoral round build on previous election-related democratic progress. We focus on Nigeria, interpret the recent executive turnover in light of previous elections, and set the country within the comparative context of Africa’s democratisation. Using a new Africa Leadership Change dataset, we use election-related events to examine the diverse routes that African regimes have taken since 1990. The analysis highlights two major syndromes: democratic stagnation and recession. In a sizeable group, however, the institutionalisation of democracy has been making gradual progress. While there is no predetermined way to advance democracy, the reiteration of elections can be instrumental in such advancement.
  • Democracy in Reverse: The 2016 General Election in Zambia

    Edward Goldring; Michael Wahman (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, 2016-12-14)
    On 11 August 2016, Zambia held elections for the presidency, National Assembly, local councillors, and mayors. Concurrently, a referendum was held on whether to enhance the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of Zambia. The elections were significant for several reasons: It was the first contest under a newly amended Constitution, which introduced important changes to the electoral framework. It also marked a break with Zambia’s positive historical record of arranging generally peaceful elections. Moreover, the election featured an electoral playing field that was notably tilted in favour of the incumbent party. Ultimately, the incumbent president, Edgar Lungu of the Patriotic Front, edged out opposition challenger Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development. The election was controversial and the opposition mounted an unsuccessful legal challenge to the final results. The 2016 elections represent a reversal in the quality of Zambian democracy and raise questions about the country’s prospects for democratic consolidation.
  • ICT and elections in Nigeria: rural dynamics of biometric voting technology adoption

    Iwuoha, Victor Chidubem (DEU, 2019-02-05)
    Applications of Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-driven innovations are profound in the electoral cycle. Among them, biometric technology is currently sweeping across developing countries. It is, however, only poorly adopted among rural voters. Does the use of biometric technology in the conduct of elections reconstruct rural voters’ behaviour, amid prevailing social challenges? The links between these realities and their consequences are currently less understood, and lacking in supporting literature. I argue that the public perception of biometric technology, the availability of proper infrastructure, and the distance between polling stations and the dwellings of rural voters all affect the latter's level of adoption of biometric technology. These interactions combine to produce specific modalities that shape voting behaviour and general political culture. I elicit primary data from voters in Nigeria’s remote villages, so as to predict the implications and consequences of glossing over the dimensions and magnitude of the biometric technology adaptation challenge by policymakers. I conclude by reflecting on how these interplays and interactions create "spatial differentials" in electoral outcomes/credibility, and proffer possible strategies for institutional intervention.
  • Zupta's Next Nightmare: the South African Local Government Elections of 3 August 2016

    Engel, Ulf (DEU, 2017-11-03)
    On 3 August 2016 South Africa held its fifth local government elections (LGE) since the end of Apartheid in 1994. Against a backdrop of increasing political frustration with the ruling party’s poor performance and continued debates about corruption and cronyism in the highest government circles, the African National Congress (ANC) maintained its dominant position but lost 8 per cent of the aggregate vote (53.91 per cent). The Democratic Alliance (DA) gained some 3 per cent (26.89 per cent) of the vote, and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), first-time LGE campaigners, garnered 8.02 per cent. Importantly, the ANC lost control of three of the seven big metropolitan municipalities it had previously held. Since there was no clear-cut majority in four of the eight metros, coalition politics and the art of compromise will become a major feature of South African politics in the coming years. The elections were highly competitive and considered free and fair. At 57.97 per cent, voter turnout was slightly higher than in 2011.
  • International Joint Ventures in Industrial Gold Mining, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Harm-Production in Sudan

    Enrico Ille; LOST Research Group, University of Halle (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, 2019-01-31)
    Violent conflicts in Sudan, especially those in Darfur in the early years of the new century, led state and non-state actors in the United States to exert heightened pressure on companies to divest from Sudan, or to prove that their activities in that country do not contribute to the conflicts. In this case study of La Mancha, a company involved in a gold mining joint venture in Sudan from 2006 to 2015, I examine whether and how it reacted publicly to this pressure. I trace how corporate social responsibility (CSR) for the continuation of harm-production was treated in its public statements, what conceptual gaps are perceptible in these statements, and how they were (re)produced in US-based activist circles. On this basis, I highlight the selective acknowledgement of responsibility which is based on assessments of harm-production by external actors excluding those directly affected by it. More generally, the case study relates to debates on CSR in Africa’s extractive industries, especially within the frame of complex business structures involving both state actors and foreign investors that make it difficult and nonetheless urgent to identify units of responsibility. I suggest that a communication disconnect during the process of identification can be adequately approached through a conceptualisation of this process as an “arena” of actors who relate to a common issue but not necessarily to each other.
  • Transparency and Accountability in the Management of Oil Revenues in Ghana

    Gyampo, Ransford Edward Van (DEU, 2017-11-03)
    Der Autor untersucht die Verwaltung der Erdöleinnahmen in Ghana während der ersten fünf Jahre seit Beginn der Förderung im Jahr 2010. Seine Analyse beruht auf Berichten des Petroleum Transparency and Accountability Index, amtlichen Dokumenten wichtiger staatlicher Stellen und Interviews mit Persönlichkeiten des Ölsektors. Er konzediert zwar Fortschritte in Richtung auf eine transparente und verantwortliche Nutzung der Erdöleinnahmen, aus seiner Sicht könnte allerdings deutlich mehr erreicht werden, wenn entscheidende Gesetzesvorhaben umgesetzt würden und Staat und Politiker proaktiv und ohne Verzögerung im Erdölsektor intervenieren würden. Das könne zur Vermeidung gesellschaftlicher Konflikte beitragen, die aufgrund mangelnder Information über die Verwendung der Erdöleinnahmen entstehen könnten, sowie zur Verhütung korrupter Praktiken durch Politiker und Verantwortliche im Erdölsektor.
  • “Vernacularising Modernity?” Rural–Urban Migration and Cultural Transformation in the Northern Mandara Mountains

    Melchisedek Chétima; Department of history/University of Maroua (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, 2018-06-25)
    This article explores the different ways in which new houses built by migrants from the Mandara Mountains to bigger cities in Cameroon function as an important site for studying their relations within the cities and within their communities of origin. I argue that these new houses constitute both a powerful resource for addressing migrants’ stories about their migratory experiences and a constituent element of these experiences. In many circumstances, the migrants interviewed were unable to speak separately of their migratory experiences and their homes. Thus, the impact of their mobility to cities goes far beyond the mere ownership of the houses; they also manage to change their perceptions of themselves, to restructure their models of social interaction with other migrants, and to change the balance of their relations with the village. The article ends by proposing to connect the two sides of the village/city duality to find out how the local is a product of the global and how the local has reappropriated the global, giving it a meaning.
  • Review: Claudia Roth (2012)†, Willemijn de Jong, Manfred Perlik, Noemi Steuer, and Heinzpeter Znoj (eds), Urban Dreams. Transformations of Family Life in Burkina Faso (2018)

    Natalie Tarr; University of Basel (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, 2019-01-31)
    Review of a monograph:Roth, Claudia (2012)†, Willemijn de Jong, Manfred Perlik, Noemi Steuer, and Heinzpeter Znoj (eds) (2018), Urban Dreams. Transformations of Family Life in Burkina Faso, New York, Oxford: Berghahn, ISBN 978-1-78533-376-7 (hardback), 208 pages
  • Book Review: Simone Claar, International Trade Policy and Class Dynamics in South Africa: The Economic Partnership Agreement (2018)

    Helmut Asche; University of Mainz (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, 2018-06-25)
    Review of the monograph Simone Claar (2018), International Trade Policy and Class Dynamics in South Africa: The Economic Partnership Agreement, London: Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 978-3-319-65713-4 (hardback), 978-3-319-65714-1 (e-book), xv+244 pp.
  • Book Review: Mark Langan, Neo-Colonialism and the Poverty of ‘Development’ in Africa (2018)

    Hagan Sibiri; Fudan University School of International Relations and Public Affairs. (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, 2019-01-31)
    Review of a monograph:Langan, Mark Langan (2018), Neo-Colonialism and the Poverty of ‘Development’ in Africa, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 978-3-319-58570-3 (hardcover), ISBN 978-3-319-58571-0 (ebook), XV+253 pages

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