IGU Africa Commission
Context of creation

Until now, Africa has been underrepresented in the International Geographical Union (IGU). This underrepresentation translated into failure to engage with geographical challenges that characterise Africa and the continent. Such needed geographical perspectives and/or interventions and debates from an African perspective and by African and geographers on the African continent.


For example, presently, there is either limited or no focus at all on, among others, Africa-specific environmental issues and problems, geopolitical debates and configurations and reconfigurations relating to Africa, migration, development and regional integration, Africa in the global imaginary and development trajectories. Further examples of deficits in this respect include Africa and the Global economy, Africa’s place and role in initiatives such as BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—an association of countries deemed to constitute emerging economies) or African voices and views informed by African geographic scholarship on significant international undertakings such as the Conference of the Parties (COP) serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 12) and the related Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The formation of the IGU Commission on African Studies, therefore, not only targets closing this gap, but also aims to bring to the fore in a direct and conspicuous way, issues and challenges facing Africa. While Africa is part of the global community, it has and continues to face a litany of problems that are specific and unique to the continent. One way of dealing with such, is to have a specific academic body that tackles these problems and issues. This is the basis for the establishment of the IGU Commission on African Studies, which was pioneered by Dr Inocent Moyo and Dr Christopher Changwe Nshimbi. Moreover, involving African and Africa-based scholars through such a dedicated Commission will increase/motivate participation and membership from the continent. This has been lacking over the years. An IGU Commission on African Studies will also encourage African and scholars based on the continent to claim scholarly ownership and stimulate participation in the IGU. The current state-of-affairs seems to induce feelings of marginalization on the part of these scholars.

This Commission also promises to be a step towards establishing a systematic means of promoting practice and discipline at national, regional and local level—e.g. in schools, institutions and associations—across the African continent. Establishment of IGU Commission on African Studies also guarantees the existence of a core team of members dedicated to promoting and intensifying the cause of the IGU on the African continent.



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