International Francophonie Research Chair on Political Aspirations and Movements in Francophone Africa

The Chair was created in 2020. Its research program focuses on the relationship between governments and the governed, particularly on subregional political crises and protests born from tensions in this relationship.

Research program

The Chair seeks to shed new light on what drives people to participate in the social movements that have marked French-speaking Africa over the past fifteen years, with a particular focus on recent movements in Burkina Faso, Guinea, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Since the early 2010s, Africa has been experiencing a major wave of political mobilization, with some of the most significant protests taking place in French-speaking African countries. Researchers who study African mobilization often focus on the political classes and on the most visible activist movements, or simply assess the success of protest movements without looking at their processes or less visible players. They thus neglect the ordinary citizens who join these movements, often at great risk. The Chair seeks to understand what drives ordinary citizens to protest by examining the individual motivations and local dynamics of political mobilization in French-speaking Africa. By studying protests in Burkina Faso, Guinea, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Chair also explores the Francophone-specific characteristics of these movements.

The Chair’s explicit objectives are to: a) study the range of individual and local justifications and realities of the protests; b) offer a comparative and specific landscape of Francophone mobilization drivers by looking at three flagship cases: the protests in Burkina Faso (2014), Guinea (2018-2019), and the DRC (2015-2018); and c) share the findings with a broader audience, including national and international policymakers.