My work

My research centres around Africa’s international relations and political economy. In recent years, I have become particularly interested in the politics and political economy of major infrastructure projects on the African continent, many of which financed and constructed by Chinese actors. I am currently writing a book on China’s involvement in Africa’s recent ‘infrastructure boom’. I am also working on the political economy of competing connectivity initiatives in the ‘Global South’.

I am a research fellow in the Centre for International and Comparative Politics at Stellenbosch University and have taught courses in International Relations and Global Political Economy at the universities of Frankfurt, St Andrews and Stellenbosch.

Previously, I worked in the project African Governance and Space: Transport Corridors, Border Towns and Port Cities in Transition (AFRIGOS) which was based at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre of African Studies and led by Prof. Paul Nugent. The project was concerned with processes related to the contemporary ‘respacing’ of Africa as well as with social, political and economic dynamics along four cross-border transport corridors in Southern, East and West Africa. Among my contributions to AFRIGOS’ research output is an article in Territory, Politics and Governance in which I theorise the regional politics and governance of transport corridors in Southern Africa, based on a case study of the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Corridor, which links Namibia’s largest port with the Zambian and Congolese Copper Belt.

I have also a keen interest in African (inter-)regionalisms. I previously researched civil society regionalisation in Southern Africa. I am co-editor of the forthcoming book Africa’s Railway Renaissance: The role and impact of China which is published by Routledge’s New Regionalisms series. I have also regularly contributed to the Yearbook on the African Union.

Meta-theoretically, I have been intrigued by discussions in the philosophy of science and, specifically, by the critical realist tradition. Moreover, I am working on theoretical/conceptual questions related to the ontology of structures and agency with regard to ‘China in Africa’, imperialism theories, the ontology of debt as well as spatiality (or rather the lack thereof) in International Relations theory.

Together with Jörg Wiegratz, I coordinate the Collaborative Resarch Group (CRG) African Politics and International Relations for the Africa-Europe Group for Interdisciplinary Studies (AEGIS).