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The Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis in Senegal (UGB) announced the launch of Global Africa in Dakar. This international and interdisciplinary academic journal is part of a wider effort to promote African research, with €1.5 million of support from the Agence française de développement (AFD). This program will involve around a dozen partner institutions, both in France and on the African continent.

With Global Africa, the UGB's LASPAD (Laboratoire d’analyse des sociétés et pouvoirs / Afrique – Diasporas) aims to report on political, social, economic, environmental, and technological issues, both in Africa and around the world.

The first call for papers for this multilingual journal (French, English, Arabic, and Swahili) will be issued soon, and articles will need to meet international-level evaluation standards. The goal of Global Africa is to include viewpoints beyond the social sciences, drawing on sustainability studies and encouraging interdisciplinary approaches.

It is the product of a collaboration between the UGB's LASPAD, the IRD (Institut de recherche pour le développement) in France, the Center for Global Studies at the UIR (Université internationale de Rabat) in Morocco, and LASDEL (Laboratoire d’études et de recherche sur les dynamiques sociales et le développement local) in Niger*. The AFD will help launch the program by providing €1.5 million over four years, bringing the total program budget to €2.65 million.

Training and events to cultivate contributions

Alongside the journal, training courses will be offered to improve the African research production and dissemination ecosystem. These will include online classes on preparing and publishing articles for both researchers and publishing professionals, as well as pop-up seminars for young researchers, helping to grow the community of authors interested in the journal's key topics.

In 2021, a conference will also be organized, and the first two issues of Global Africa will be published.

The knowledge production landscape in Africa is full of contrasts and paradoxes. Africa currently produces a very small percentage of global academic publications (only 3.2 percent in 2016 according to data from Web of Science), despite the fact that along with the African diaspora, it is a hotbed of intellectual activity. African research remains underfunded, even though there are currently ongoing transformations on the continent that are relevant to and will come to affect the rest of the world.

The writing, publication, and dissemination of African academic research is one of LASPAD's top priorities under the UGB’s 2021–2025 strategic plan. Since it was founded in 2014, this UGB research laboratory has invested heavily in improving the African academic research production and dissemination ecosystem. LASPAD is active in many different areas, helping to drive the development of university presses on the continent, assisting authors and academic publishers, and supporting African academic institutions so that they can publish and promote innovative new research that will have significant social and environmental impacts.

Research, innovation, knowledge-sharing, and knowledge production more generally are the central focus of the AFD's actions. As part of its 2019–2022 strategic plan, the AFD has committed to strengthening partnerships with research institutions in the countries where it is active, especially in Africa, where more than half of its programs are located. By supporting the launch of Global Africa, it is going further still, helping to create a permanent home for international-level academic publication in Africa, and to promote African research and research about Africa more widely.

* Global Africa's goal of increasing collaboration has also attracted the participation of nine country-level institutions (including the Université de la Manouba in Tunisia, the Les Afriques dans le monde research laboratory and the Institut des mondes africains in France, the Université virtuelle du Sénégal, France’s Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques, and The Conversation France), as well as institutions at the continental (including the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa and the African Studies Association of Africa) and regional levels (the Réseau des journalistes scientifiques d’Afrique francophone).

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