Connecting Africa

Linked with African Studies Centre ASC, with Global Connections, and with Development Policy Review Network DPRN.

Connecting-Africa is a service that provides access to African research information and materials produced in the Netherlands and elsewhere.
The service provides:

  • details of Africa experts (researchers, policymakers, development practitioners) affiliated to Dutch and Belgian organizations;
  • details of Dutch and Belgian development-related organizations, universities and research institutes;
  • titles of published research on Africa in the Netherlands and elswhere;
  • digital resources on Africa (full-text of publications, images and sound) in about 55 institutional repositories … (about 1/2).

Events to remember; Add your profile; Browse and search; Forum; Global Connections;
Address: Connecting Africa, c/o African Studies Centre, PO Box 9555, 2300 RB Leiden, The Netherlands;
Feedback and Contact.

About 2/2: … Connecting-Africa provides access to these digital resources by “harvesting” their descriptive metadata (records) using OAI-PMH (the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting) and by filtering the metadata using its Post Harvest Analyzer.  

There is no charge for using the service or for contributing to it.

How to contribute – please add your profile!

  • Please add your profile if you are a researcher, development practitioner or policymaker affiliated to an organization based in the Netherlands or Belgium and if you wish to participate in
  • In order to participate fully in Connecting-Africa you are encouraged to submit your research information including working papers, research reports, conference papers, and so on, to your local repository.

History and background information:

  • Connecting-Africa is the result of a pilot project started in September 2003 by the African Studies Centre in Leiden (ASC). The Distributed Africana Repositories Community (DARC) project aimed to make all Africanist research material and information in the Netherlands accessible through a community portal on the Internet.
  • By providing federated access to university repositories and other resources, including library catalogues and publishers’ services, and by gathering knowledge and expertise that are both physically and electronically scattered across universities and research centres, it is hoped to offer fertile ground for a more effective knowledge exchange.

The goals of the DARC project are in accordance with the ASC’s mission of fostering scholarly communication in the field of African Studies. Connecting-Africa is built on existing and newly developing building blocks:

  • 1. The ASC has taken over Nuffic’s PrismA database of Africanists, which stopped being operational in January 2003. This database forms the basis of the new portal service.
  • 2. The new service is built upon the developing infrastructure of Digital Academic Repositories (DARE).

Netherlands African Studies Association (NVAS):

Connecting Africa is supported by the Netherlands African Studies Association (NVAS). The NVAS was set up in 1997 to provide a scientific forum for Africanists working in the Netherlands. It aims to promote and coordinate the study of the social sciences on Africa by maintaining close links with universities and research institutes.


  • The African Studies Centre in Leiden facilitates Connecting-Africa by providing technical maintenance. Staff of the ASC Library, Information and Documentation Department are responsible for the evaluation and selection of digital resources for inclusion in Connecting Africa. This is an ongoing process, and new records will be added each month. The expert section of Connecting Africa is maintained by the ASC Secretariat.


The development of Connecting-Africa has been made possible by funding from:

  • the SURF Foundation, in response to Calls for Tender of the DARE Programme (Digital Academic REpositories);
  • the Development Policy Review Netwerk (DPRN) for jointly developing Global Connections, the web portal for development-related expertise and activities in the Netherlands and Belgium.

The African Studies Centre in Leiden hosts, develops and operates the service. It welcomes partner organizations with an interest to support this virtual community activity for African Studies. Please contact us if you would like to act as a sponsor of Connecting-Africa.

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