Writing and Researching the Political Economy of Inequality in Africa


Writing and Researching the Political Economy of Inequality in Africa is a programme of capacity building workshops and activities for Post Graduate and Early Career Researchers in any Development Assistant Committee country in Africa. The programme is initially funded by the British Academy for the first year. It will offer a series of workshops and mentoring for researchers interested in any area of inequality related to Africa. Participants in the workshops will be able to take part in the workshops, have a 1-2-1 mentoring programme to support them to develop and publish their research. Outside of these participants, anyone with an interest in the topic will be able to benefit from the free Massive Online Open Course.

The timeline for the first year of the programme is:

May-June 2021 - recruitment of participants.

June - December 2021 - Workshops and mentoring, MOOC development and launch.

February 2022 - Policy and Practitioner conference.

February 2022 - onwards - publication of outputs.

The Partners

The Mentors

Sophia is Head of Politics and International Relations at Leeds Beckett University and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She is Principal Investigator for the WARIA programme.

Sophia's research focuses on the European Union's external relations, particularly its provision of development aid and it links to trade liberalisation. As a feminist political economist her work explores the gendered dimension of trade and of financial inclusion and poverty reduction strategies. Sophia has published a wide range of works on gender and development policy, the EU’s external relations with the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group, EU and UK relations with West Africa and the political economy of trade and aid. Sophia is a co-editor of the Lynne Rienner Book Series in International Political Economy, is co-lead of the Leeds Beckett CeASR Global Inequalities Research Group and is the Research Ethics Coordinator for the Leeds School of Social Sciences.

Chris is professor and SARChI Chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), and Senior Associate at the UJ School of Leadership. He is the former Head of politics and International Relations at UJ. Landsberg was educated at Rand Afrikaans University (now University of Johannesburg); Rhodes; and Oxford, and holds MPhil and DPhil international relations degrees (Oxon). He studied as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, and is a former Hamburg Fellow at Stanford University in the United States (US). Previously he was director of the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) in Johannesburg, and co-founder and former co-director of the Centre for Africa's International Relations at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. He is a co-editor of seven books, including From Cape to Congo: Southern Africa's Emerging Security Challenges, South Africa in Africa: The Post-Apartheid Era. Landsberg’s single-authored titles include The Diplomacy of Transformation: South African Foreign Policy and Statecraft; and The Quiet Diplomacy of Transition: International Politics and South Africa's Transition.

Rachel is a Professor of Peace Studies at Leeds Beckett University who has been working on peace, conflict and community development for 25 years in the UK and internationally.

Her research documents and supports the raising of voices and experience of those who live with, and are affected by violence, exclusion and inequality, through using participatory and arts methods. Her collaborative UKRI funded research in Africa and S.E. Asia, published in Peacebuilding, Peace Review, Civil Wars and International Peacekeeping, show how the inclusion of communities in monitoring, protection and advocacy makes them safer and can reduce the impact of direct violence without the need for weapons.

Rachel is a practitioner-academic combining principles of nonviolence, training for change, and asset-based community development to work at grassroots, believing that it is the power of strong relationships in communities that enable change.

She has been community organising for social justice and disarmament including founder of a community hub in West Yorkshire, in Community Foundations, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and as a Director of Nonviolent Peaceforce and was awarded ‘Community Champion’ in Halifax Community Spirit Award in 2013.

Olayinka Ajala is a lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Leeds Beckett University and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He previously worked for the Universities of York and Newcastle. Olayinka holds a doctorate degree in Politics from the University of York and a Masters degree in Globalisation and Development from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. Olayinka consults for the Ministry of Defence, United Kingdom and was previously a visiting fellow/lecturer at the Combating Terrorism Centre, United States Military Academy, West Point. He has consulted for local and international organisations including the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and the Government of Belgium. Olayinka is currently working on a GCRF funded project titled ‘Catalyzing participation through innovation to strengthen rural-urban climate resilient futures in Namibia’

Dr Adewale Aderemi

Adewale is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the Lagos State University (LASU) and Director Democratic Studies at the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Abuja, Nigeria. He holds a Bachelors in Political Science from University of Ibadan, Nigeria and MA Politics of International Resources and Development as a Guinness UK, Foreign and Commonwealth Scholar from the University of Leeds, UK. He also has a PhD from Leeds Beckett University. He has been Archie Mafeje Fellow at the Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA) Pretoria (Tshwane), CODESRIA-APICO-CLACSO South-South Fellow Havana, Cuba and Tracking Development Fellow at the Africa Studies Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands. He is a recipient of several research grants and has extensive consulting experience with Development Agencies.

Lisa Otto is a senior researcher with the NRF-SARChI Chair in African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy at the University of Johannesburg and is co-editor in chief of the journal African Security Review. She holds a PhD in Political Studies from the University of Johannesburg and a MA in International Peace and Security from King’s College London. She has specialised in African issues, particularly those related to conflict and security as well as foreign affairs and political risk. Her research interests have largely revolved around non-traditional threats to security, where she has developed specific expertise in Maritime Security.

Costa is a former professional diplomat and has been lecturing International Relations and Political Science since 2002 at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). His main research interests is in international political theory. He has also been a guest lecturer at the University of Pretoria to Masters students in Diplomacy and at the Pearson Institute of Higher Education in Political Science and IPE.

Besides publishing several academic and newspaper articles, Dr Georghiou has presented papers at conferences in South Africa and abroad in London, Chile, Warsaw, Hong Kong and Moscow. He has through the years acted as promotor, moderator and external examiner for many Honours, Masters and Doctoral studies.

He has been an elected council member of South African Association of Political Science (SAAPS) for three years, and is presently a member of the South African Academy of Science and Arts and a council member and chairman of the South Africa-Russia Dialogue Forum (SARDF). He received a Roll of Merit award from Advocate George Bizos, SAHETI, on 12 June 2011

Dr Westen Shilaho

Dr Westen Shilaho has research interests in Kenya and South Africa that include the politics of the international criminal justice specifically the ICC’s African caseload, responsibility to protect (R2P), Africa’s democratic transitions, and conflict, state building and elections in Africa.

Dr Marcel Nagar

Dr. Marcel Nagar is a postdoctoral research fellow at the NRF SARChI Chair: African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy at the University of Johannesburg where she obtained her doctoral degree in Political Science in 2019. Her research interests include African Politics, International Political Economy, Development Administration, and the broader debates surrounding the Developmental State and as well as the Democratic Developmental State. Her works have been published in The Palgrave Handbook of African Political Economy and Politikon: the IAPSS Journal of Political Science, among others. She is the author of The Road to Democratic Development Statehood in Africa: The Cases of Ethiopia, Mauritius, and Rwanda (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021).

Lesley is the Programme lead and lecture in International Relations and Diplomacy at the University of Derby (UK), and senior research associate at the University of Johannesburg, SARChI Chair in African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy. Prior to this Lesley was a senior researcher at Institute for Global Dialogue based in Pretoria, responsible for the management of projects on foreign policy and diplomacy. She received her PhD in International Relations from the University of Leicester, UK. Her research interests include foreign policy, global governance, and international diplomacy.

Director of the Social, Cultural and Legal Research Centre, at the University of Derby. His current research focus is on ‘the new politics of inequality’ in a number of different scalar-contexts, from micro-scale: e.g. the ways that inequalities are exaggerated or mitigated by the experience of frontline service delivery, through to the global scale: the way that international organisations reproduce or offset inequality through the uptake of their policy advice. Some of this work currently involves innovative inter-disciplinary methods such as the use of arts and theatre techniques to gather data, secure and measure research impact with marginalised and vulnerable social groups.

Alexander is on the Editorial boards of Capital and Class and Sustainability and is a Series Editor for the Lynne Reinner Advances in IPE series. He was also a previous coordinator of the British International Studies Association IPEG group and is Principal Investigator on the Foundations in IPE project.

Jörg Wiegratz is Lecturer in Political Economy of Global Development at the University of Leeds, School of Politics and International Studies, and Senior Research Associate, Department of Sociology, University of Johannesburg. His research focuses on neoliberalism, moral economy, economic fraud and anti-fraud measures, particularly in Uganda and more recently Kenya too. His ongoing collaborative research project explore commercialisation of football in Kenya and Uganda. He is part of the editorial working group of Review of African Political Economy and contributes to the editorial work related to roape.net. He has published monographs, edited collections, articles, chapters and blog posts, amongst others in academic journals (New Political Economy, Journal of Agrarian Change and ROAPE), newspapers (Daily Monitor, Observer Uganda), and on websites such as Africa is a country (AIAC), Elephant, roape.net, Counterpunch, Truth out, Le Monde diplomatique, The Conversation, and Progress in Political Economy. He is founder and editor of the blog series Capitalism in Africa, and Economic trickery, fraud and crime in Africa(both run on roape.net), and, more recently, contributing editor to a blog and video project (coordinated by Mathare Social Justice Centre) on ‘Capitalism in my city’ (run on AIAC) and lead-editor of a new blog series on ‘Pressure in the city’ (run on developing economics.org).

Charlie is a Lecturer in International Political Economy at the University of Leeds, UK. His research explores how and why we understand the world as it is and how that informs our political behaviour. His conceptual outlook is broadly in line with French Regulation school and specifically in exploring international modes of social regulation and their role in the renegotiation of the subject. Charlie has published widely on enterprise and entrepreneurship, small business and the international political economy of slavery. Charlie is also General Secretary of the European Association of Evolutionary Political Economy.

Dr Frank Mattheis

Frank Mattheis is a researcher at the Institute for European Studies of the Université libre de Bruxelles (Belgium), where he teaches comparative regionalism and leads a project on relations between Europe and Africa. He is also associate research fellow at the United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS) and at the University of Pretoria (South Africa). He holds a PhD in Global Studies from the University of Leipzig.

Dr Mariel Reiss

Mariel Reiss holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Phillips-University of Marburg. Her research discusses the establishment processes and development of regional organizations and the roles of state and non-state actors in this regard. Her main focus lies with African regional organizations, in particular the East African Community. Currently she holds a position as postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Conflict Studies at the Philipps-University Marburg. Her new project on multilevel governance decision-making/negotiation practices concerning the de facto and de jure rights of LGBTIQ* people, funded by the Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and the Arts, starts in September 2021

Dr Olajide O. Akanji

Dr. Olajide O. Akanji holds a PhD from University of Ibadan. He is an Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Ibadan, and a Senior Research Fellow, Department of Democratic Studies, Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Abuja, Nigeria. He was a Senior Research Associate, Faculty of Humanities, University of Johannesburg (2013-2016), and a Peace, Security and Development fellow of the African Leadership Center (ALC) at King’s College London (2011-2012). Dr. Akanji’s research areas are international relations, conflict and security; gender and human rights. He has a number of academic publications, including “Nigeria between 1914 and 1960: Political-Constitutional changes and crises in an era of colonialism”, in Rotimi Ajayi and Joseph Y. Fashagba (eds.) Nigerian Politics. Springer Nature, pp. 37-53 (2021); Sub-regional security challenge: ECOWAS and the war on Terrorism in West Africa. Insight on Africa, 11(1): 94-112 (2019); “Women’s political empowerment and the politics of citizenship in Nigeria and Tanzania”, in Kalu, K., Yacob-Haliso, O. and Falola, T. (eds.) Africa’s Big Men: Predatory State-Society Relations in Africa. London: Routledge, pp. 68-80 (2018); South Africa and regional stability in the Mbeki era: the nexus between personality and geo-political and economic concerns in foreign policy making. Austral: Brazilian Journal of Strategy & International Relations, 5(10): 108-121 (2016); and “A critical analysis of the security crisis in post-Ghaddafi Libya. Africa Insight, 45(2): 11-26 (2015).