CAS in African Affairs

Do you work in Africa? Or do you engage with African partners, staff or clients? Working in an African context, characterised by rapid change and striking continuity, vast opportunities and manifold risks, is as compelling as it is challenging. The CAS in African Affairs was developed to equip professionals working in an African context with the knowledge, skills and resources to efficiently and sustainably communicate, collaborate and organise.

The study programme consists of an introductury course, several thematic short courses and an individual project. You have the option to specialize in one of the following fields:

  1. Politics and society
  2. Art and popular cultural
  3. Resources and development
  4. Intercultural competence
Target audience

The CAS in African Affairs and Intercultural Competence is designed for professionals in private enterprises, public agencies and NGOs who work in an African context or aim to do so. It is ideal for professionals who work in Africa or engage with African partners, staff or clients.


Upon successful completion of the program, participants will be awarded a Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) issued by the Advanced Study Centre of the University of Basel.


Courses are taught in English. Project reports and summaries may also be written in German or French.

Course fee

CHF 6200 incl. course documentation, coffee and snacks; travel expenses, accommodation and meals are not included

Directors of Study

Prof. Dr. Elísio Macamo
(Chair of the Programme Board)

Dr. des. Pascal Schmid
(Programme Coordinator)

The study programme consists of an introductury course, several thematic short courses and an individual project. You have the option to specialize in one of the following fields:

  1. Politics and society
  2. Art and popular cultural
  3. Resources and development
  4. Intercultural competence

As a participant, you will engage with local cases, continental phenomena, global processes and cross-cultural interaction. In addition to the teaching in class, you will carry out independent study and implement a project according to your individual interests and professional requirements, which allows you to apply the knowledge and skills you have developed to a practical challenge or a particular problem set. The total workload of the study programme is approximately 300 hours, which is equivalent to 10 credit points according to the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS). 


  • Consolidate your professional experience in an African context
  • Enhance your knowledge in the fields of African society, politics and economy
  • Deepen your appreciation of the continent’s potential and challenges

Drawing on the academic staff of the Centre for African Studies Basel and its partner institutions, we ensure high quality teaching in a broad range of topics. In order to provide further expertise we entrust distinguished academic and professional experts with teaching in selected fields.

Current and past faculty

Gareth Austin is Professor of Economic History at the University of Cambridge, UK. His research interests are in African, comparative and global economic history. Prior to his position in Cambridge, he was Professor of International History at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva.

Susann Baller is currently a research fellow at the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She completed her PhD on youth, sport and urban history in Senegal at the Humboldt University in Berlin and was a Senior Lecturer in African History at the University of Basel (2008-2014). Her current research focuses on the politics of state visits in the former French West Africa.

Manfred Max Bergman is Professor of Social Research and Methodology at the University of Basel and Fellow of the African Doctoral Academy and the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology, South Africa. His current research interests are international and comparative research on education to work transitions, sustainable development, and social determinants of health.

Carol Cosgrove-Sacks is an international economist specializing in trade development strategies and negotiations. She works as a freelance consultant and is currently a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium. From 1994-2005 she was Director of Trade in the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

Ariane Curdy is a management training and organizational development consultant. She specializes in working across cultures and, since 2001, operates from her consultancy Ctrl Culture Relations based in Lausanne, Switzerland. Her clients include international corporations, non-profit organizations and academic institutions.

Walter Dettling is Professor for e-Business and Business Mathematics at the University of Applied Sciences North Western Switzerland (FHNW). His research focuses on Mobile business for Developing countries (M4D). He supported different projects on the economic impact of mobile communication for people at the bottom of the income pyramid in Africa.

Ulf Engel is Professor of African Politics at the Institute of African Studies, University of Leipzig, Germany. He has published widely on Africa's international relations and is an advisor amongst others to the African Union and to the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

Michelle Engeler is a postdoctoral researcher in the SNSF project Construire son Avenir at the Center for African Studies Basel and a senior lecturer at the Institute of Social Anthropology at the University of Basel. Her research is focused on youth, migration and political transformation processes in West Africa.

Olivier Girardin, Director of the Fondation Rurale Interjurassienne, is an expert for agricultural systems. He did his PhD at ETH Zürich, Switzerland, and was a post doctoral fellow at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Ibadan, Nigeria. From 1998 to 2004, he was Director of the Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques in Côte d'Ivoire.

Laurent Goetschel is Director of the Swiss Peace Foundation (swisspeace) and Professor of political science at the Europa Institute, University of Basel. His main research interests are in foreign policy analysis and peace and conflict studies.

Tobias Haller is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Bern, Switzerland, and teaches economic and ecological anthropology. His research is focused on resource management, sustainable development, environment and human rights, and protected areas.

Patrick Harries ( † 2. Juni 2016) was Professor of African history at the Department of History, University of Basel. His research interests included the history of work in Southern Africa, and the history of knowledge systems. Patrick Harries was a fellow and visiting professor at various universities in the US, UK, Germany, South Africa and Switzerland.

Christian Hauser is Professor of Business Economics and International Management at the University of Applied Sciences (HTW), Chur. His research interests include business integrity, international entrepreneurship, SME and private sector development. He is a member of the Anti-Corruption Working Group of the UN Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative.

Andreas Heuser is Professor for non-European Christianity with a focus on Africa at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Basel. Before joining the University of Basel in 2012 he was lecturer for Systematic Theology and Missionary Studies at Tumaini University Makumira in Tanzania.

Mohomodou Houssouba is an author and literary scholar. He has taught literary studies, applied linguistics and intercultural mediation in the US, Switzerland and Mali. Although he lives in Basel today he is heavily involved in Malian intellectual life.

Paul Jenkins was the archivist of the Basel Mission and a lecturer in African History at the Department of History, University of Basel. Previously, he taught at the University of Ghana. His research focuses on the role of missionary reports and visual sources in historiography. Since his retirement in 2003, he is engaged in promoting research contacts in Southern India.

Lucy Koechlin is Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Basel. She teaches a wide range of courses in development studies, and is a leading expert on public governance and accountability systems. Until 2009, she was Head of Public Accountability at the Basel Institute on Governance.

Ruedi Küng is a journalist, consultant, facilitator and Africa expert at InfoAfrica. Until 2010 he was correspondent in Africa of the German-language Swiss public radio. Previously he worked as a delegate for the International Committee of the Red Cross in various African countries.

Dominik Langenbacher was the Swiss Ambassador Extraordinary to Somalia until his retirment in 2016. Previously he was Ambassador to Ethiopia, Djibouti, and South Sudan, Swiss Representative to the African Union, UN-coordinator in Somalia, and Ambassador in Côte d‘Ivoire.

Elísio Macamo (Chair of Programme Board) is Associate Professor of African Studies at the University of Basel. He works on the sociology of knowledge, technology, politics and risk. He is particularly interested in challenges of cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary research.

Farai Maguwu is the founding Director of the Center for Natural Resource Governance in eastern Zimbabwe. He has done extensive research and documentation on human rights abuses and illicit trade in diamonds and is a political analyst on democratization in Zimbabwe. In 2011 he won the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism.

Yvan Maillard Ardenti is consultant in corruption prevention and sustainable management at evolutio.conseil and guest lecturer at several schools of business administration and universities. He is also a Board Member of Transparency International Switzerland. Moreover, he works as Programme Officer "Business and Human Rights" at Bread for All.

Daniel Mäusezahl is Senior Scientist and Group leader 'Household Health Systems' at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH). He has also been a Senior Health Advisor at the Swiss Agency for Development and Coopera-tion (SDC).

Jean-Pierre Méan is a lawyer and of Counsel at MCE Legal. A renowned anti-corruption expert, he is the former President of Transparency International, Switzerland. His previous positions also include General Counsel of Landis & Gyr, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of SGS, and Chief Compliance Officer of the European Bank for Development and Reconstruction in London.

Peter Odermatt is Associate Professor for epidemiology and control of neglected tropical diseases at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) in Basel. He develops and evaluates public health interventions and teaches graduate, PhD and professional postgraduate courses.

Pascal Schmid (Programme Coordinator) is a scientific collaborator in the executive office of the Centre for African Studies Basel. Previously he was a research assistant at the Department of History of the University of Basel. He completed his PhD on the development of medical practice in rural Ghana.

Thomas Seghezzi is Managing Partner at Rainbow Unlimited, a business consultancy focusing on Africa and responsible for the operational management of the Swiss-African Business Circle (SABC). He has gathered more than 20 years of professional experience in private business, NGOs and Government, both abroad and in Switzerland.

Fiona Siegenthaler is a Senior Lecturer and post-doc researcher at the Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Basel. She teaches on African art, art and the city, visual studies, ritual and performance theory. She completed her PhD on "Imageries of Johannesburg. Visual Arts and Spatial Practices in a Transforming City" in 2011.

Thorsten Vogl is a legal advisor specialised in international economic law and arbitral jurisdiction. He is a board member of Swisscham-Africa, the Swiss African Chamber of Commerce, as well as executive secretary of the Club OHADA Suisse. Previously he taught at the Faculty of Law of the University of Basel.

“Some things were exactly as I’d expected (e.g. great range of topics, fun group of people, pleasure to be back studying, etc.). Other aspects were surprises, such as the highly impressive spread of lecturers, the great atmosphere in the Centre and the groups average age. So if you ask me whether the course met my expectations, I can’t ‘fully agree’. But if the question really means ‘Did you enjoy the course and get as much out of it as you had hoped?’, then the answer is yes!”
Paul Castle (Communications Manager, Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture), CAS 2013/14

«Der CAS-Kurs hat die in seinem Outline formulierten vier Ziele bei weitem übertroffen. Für meine berufliche Tätigkeit konnte ich die Fähigkeit weiterentwickeln, Länderbeurteilungen nicht nur nach sicherheitspolitischen, sondern auch nach wirtschaftlichen, gesellschaftlichen und kulturellen Kriterien vorzunehmen. Ich kann den Kurs jedem empfehlen, der beruflich mit Afrika zu tun hat.»
Peter Marti (Stv. Chef Verteidigungs- und Rüstungspolitik, VBS), CAS 2015/16

«Die Erwartungen, die ich zu Beginn des CAS formuliert habe, sind alle erfüllt. Die Auseinandersetzung mit verschiedenen Themen zusammen mit kompetenten Dozent/innen und vor allem die Reflexion der eigenen Erfahrungen waren sehr wertvoll für mich. Ich gehe mit noch mehr Motivation und Freude meinen beruflichen Alltag an und fühle mich in meinen Kompetenzen gestärkt.»
Beatrice Bürge (Programmverantwortliche Kenia/Sambia/Simbabwe, COMUNDO), CAS 2014/15

“The wide range of experts involved helped us participants not only to confront some of our often overly simplistic assumptions about Africa, but also to sample many different aspects of African studies and develop an 'African network' in Switzerland. The CAS has greatly helped me to place some of my personal experiences and 'issues' in a wider and richer historical and social context. All in all, I felt my time was well spent and would warmly recommend the course to others wishing to develop and enrich their encounters with Africa's diversity.”
Silvia Dingwall (Board member, CABOZ AG/President, CABOZ Action), CAS 2013/14

“During the course we studied and discussed an extremely wide range of topics. It is especially useful for people who are dealing with Africa in their everyday life - even if you think you know a lot it becomes obvious quickly that there is an enormous amount to learn, yet. The participants were encouraged to take part in the discussion at almost all times and the course was perfectly organised.”
Ursula Schoepfer (CEO/Owner, Dispopharm Services), CAS 2013/14

“One of the main gains of this course is to deal with so many aspects of ‘Africa’ in breadth and depth, getting updated information and thinking about so many issues. The beauty of the course, and what makes it different from others, lies in its intimacy - on the one hand you have all these highly qualified experts at your fingertips to answer many of your questions, and on the other you really get to engage with the group, interesting and interested, experienced, funny, knowledgeable people - delve in and enjoy!”
Sibylle Ganz-Koechlin (Owner/Head of Business, TripleT trainingthetrainers), CAS 2013/14

“What made this course particularly valuable is the balance between input session and space for reflection as well as the various lecturers with different backgrounds and expertise.”
Florence Seabra (Communication Manager Africa Middle East, Syngenta), CAS 2014/15

“I was searching for a catalyst to boost up my modest knowledge about Africa in a short time. This was essential for my work as a president of an NGO and as a wife of a newly elected politician in Kenya. What I got was this and much more: a great setting, excellent lecturers and interesting participants. On the one hand I learned a lot about Africa but even more so about myself, my way of thinking, my prejudices and way of looking at Africa. A very enlightening course!”
Barbara Fuhrer (President, Pro Ganze Kenya), CAS 2013/14

The new study regulations for the CAS in African Affairs are going through the approval process. Registration for the study programme is currently not possible. Please contact us if you are interested in the programme: