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A message to African and European leaders: ‘More of the same is not good enough’

In a few weeks’ time, African and European leaders will gather in Abidjan for the fifth AU-EU Summit. There are plenty of important issues for them to chew on and yet, the agenda once again stays clear of the potentially controversial topics that divide both continents. ECDPM’s Geert Laporte has a message for them. ‘We need to break the silence and the aversion to take risks if we want a stronger partnership’, he says. ‘More of the same just isn’t good enough this time around’.   The upcoming AU-EU Summit takes place at a moment when both continents are dealing with a number of major common challenges. Climate change, demographic pressures, conflicts and increased migrant and refugee flows continue to affect both continents – albeit to a different extent. The Summit also comes at a time when the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) celebrates its tenth anniversary and the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States are preparing for a complex re-negotiation process on their future partnership agreement, to be concluded in 2020. Plenty of important things to talk about during the Summit, you would think. Unfortunately, the urgency of such topics does not seem to trickle […]

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Colonial borders still influence how academics write about Africa

Africa is not a country—but a continent with one billion people, living in 55 different countries, and speaking more than 2,000 languages. Yet a relatively narrow coverage of Africa and its people exists not only in mainstream media, but as a new research paper shows, in academia as well. Virginia Tech University analyzed 20 years of research articles published in two major journals about African politics, namely African Affairs published by Oxford University and The Journal of Modern African Studies by Cambridge University. The paper investigated whether by reading Anglophone scholarship on sub-Saharan politics between 1993 and 2013, one could actually learn more about the region’s political reality and complexity. In his paper, published this month, Ryan C. Briggs, an assistant professor at the department of political science, notes that studies around sub-Saharan Africa cluster heavily on a small number of wealthier, more populous, and English-speaking nations. Fewer than half of all the countries in the region—46 in total—were written about more than 10 times, with the majority of them being former British colonies like Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya. Former French colonies were the focus of about 5 papers on average, while those colonized by Britain had about 27 articles written about them. Population size also […]

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