CFP- AEGIS CRG Politics and International Relations Workshop: Non-Western Actors in Africa

AEGIS CRG African Politics and International Relations
Workshop ‘Non-Western Actors in Africa: Interests, Conflicts and Agency’
Hamburg, 11 June 2020

(Deadline for abstracts: 24 February 2020)

The Collaborative Research Group (CRG) African Politics and International Relations of the AfricaEurope Group for Interdisciplinary Studies (AEGIS), in collaboration with GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies), is calling for proposals for a one-day workshop on ‘Non-Western Actors in Africa: Interests, Conflicts and Agency’. The workshop will be held on 11 June 2020 at the GIGA premises in Hamburg and is co-sponsored by AEGIS and GIGA.

In the workshop we seek to explore recent cases of non-western actors reviving and/or expanding their engagement in Africa. Some recent examples include: the Russia-Africa summit taking place in Sochi, Turkish companies building railways in Tanzania or Saudi Arabian making land deals in Ethiopia. While China’s activities on the continent received much press and scholarly attention in the last years, analysis of the aims and operations of other non-Western actors in Africa – and the consequences (local, national, regional, global) of their increased presence – is still scarce. Notably, the expansion of these actors takes place in a context of a global shift in the balance of forces (in the global political
economy, state system etc.) and competition of these newly expanding actors with ‘traditional’ Western actors, especially the former colonial powers and the US.

In the workshop, we seek to take stock of these novel engagements. Questions that could be explored include:

  • Who are the crucial external non-western actors in Africa?
  • What are the goals, interests, ideologies, activities, strategies and modes of engagement of these actors?
  • How do they relate with African states and non-state actors?What are areas of joint interest and conflict between these actors and the relevant actor groups in African countries they operate in?
  • How do African governments, business actors, subaltern classes (workers, peasants etc.) and civil society actors perceive and respond to the increasing presence, influence, activities of non-Western actors?
  • What are their strategies in dealing with the heightened diversity of actors?
  • What are similarities and difference (interests, mode of engagement, power etc.) between these ‘new’ and the ‘old’ external actors?
  • What is the impact of their activities on, for instance, political economy, security, business, socioeconomic development?
  • What are implications for conflicts between powerful external actors competing for resources and influence in Africa (e.g. the US-China conflict, EU-china conflict etc)?

Call for abstracts

If you are interested in participating in the workshop, please send a 250 words abstract to the email address by 24 February 2020. We have limited funding available to sponsor the participation of African scholars; if you are interested in applying, please mention this in your email and send us also a copy of your Curriculum Vitae. We also welcome the participation in the workshop of non-presenting members of the CRG African Politics and International Relations and of policy makers involved in foreign policy and development aid in Africa; please send us an email as well at if you are interested in attending.


A conference report will be published in the GIGA Open Access journal Africa Spectrum. Depending on the contributions, we are considering the publication of a special issue in a high quality journal (African studies or otherwise).

Africa South of the Sahara

The main political and economic developments in each of the 53 countries and territories of the region are comprehensively narrated and examined in the fully revised online edition of Africa South of the Sahara (the 48th in print). Readers’ perspectives are further expanded by the General Survey, a collection of introductory essays providing in-depth analysis of current economic trends, an assessment of aid and development initiatives over the past 100 years, an insight into the phenomenon of failed states and the repercussions of, and responses to, state failure in sub-Saharan Africa, an examination of the People’s Republic of China’s increasing political and economic ties with the African continent, details of the burgeoning relationship between Brazil and Africa, and a discussion of France’s ongoing involvement in Africa.

General Survey