Afara Academic Publishing

A social business/initiative for publishing academic research from Africa/MENA
by Sonja Andjelkovic and Simon Becker

Afara Academic Publishing (AAP) is an innovative social entrepreneurship initiative that is aiming at publishing empirical research papers from university graduates from Africa/MENA region (i. e. BA, MA and PhD students) on an online platform, that will be hosted in Berlin, Germany. Envisaged partner is the Free University of Berlin (FU Berlin).

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Interested researchers on the region, e. g. universities, international organizations, libraries, research networks etc. can browse the data base of AAP and download the papers for a fee, that will directly benefit the author of the paper. The process of identification, quality check, publication and financial handling will be organized by a team in both, Berlin, Germany and the institution in the partner country.

The impact expected is multi-dimensional:
On one hand AAP will give graduates a chance to receive a compensation/income for their work as well as empower them to continue their academic carrier. Therefore AAP's long-term goal is to make research a vehicle for income generation, give graduates a professional perspective by fostering their academic creativity, activity and knowledge and helping them see the benefits of the time, energy and financial resources they and their families had invested in their education. It is expected that the option of being rewarded by gaining a positive image through official publication of the own research and by receiving financial incentives will eventually strengthen the belief and engagement in their countries' development. Furthermore increased research activity will improve the academic landscape altogether for example by enhancing the quality and quantity of papers as well as by creating networks and think tanks among students. As a consequence the university will become more attractive not only to students but also to teaching staff, international researches and the like. Therefore AAP is an initiative that combines academic research with economic and social development.

On the other hand AAP will offer researchers outside Africa/MENA a chance to enrich their knowledge on the region through genuine first-hand information. Currently the predominant approach to researching Africa/MENA is influenced by a "white" research culture that still neglects the regional perspective. The problem is that such a research cultures frequently construct, deconstruct and perpetuate images of the region based on a limited and presumptuous instead of taking into regard authentic empiric data from indigenous research. AAP's long-term goal is to "decolonize" research and to boost the relevance and visibility of research from Africa/MENA internationally.

AAP connects research within and across continents. "Afara" means "bridge" in the Yoruba language!

Due to its innovative and sustainable character AAP has won the 3rd place at the Free University competition "Research to Market Challenge" in 2017. AAP is currently in the process of participating in other competitions and events to promote its message and approach.

In order to apply for funding and start implementation we are currently looking for partner institutions in the targeted region. The pilot phase and proof of concept is envisioned to be carried out for 2,5-3 years in 1-2 countries in the field of social, cultural and political sciences. The lessons learnt from this phase will be used to scale up and include other countries and fields of research. AAP is in the process of approaching foundations and organizations as well as identify a German partner university to kick-start the initiative in 2018.
Short bios of the AAP Team:

Sonja Andjelkovic is Middle Eastern Scientist, social entrepreneur, author, consultant and trainer with a regional focus on MENA. She has been working in the field of development cooperation with a focus on education, conflict transformation, gender and employment promotion for 15 years. She developed Afara Academic Publishing based on her experience in multi-level projects implemented by international organization and in discussions with university graduates in the region. (see:,
Simon Becker is Linguist and IT specialist. He has been working in the field of development cooperation with a focus on education. He is the designer of the online Platform for Afara Academic Publishing and its tailor-made tools.

The Free University Berlin (FU Berlin) is the official partner of Afara Academic Publishing. The FU central library supports Afara with regards to content and technical realization.

Afara Academic Publishing moves to its own domain. You can by now use the following domain to stay updated:

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