Institute of Regional Science

Regional research focus West Africa


In the states of West Africa, natural processes as well as processes aggravated by anthropogenic influence like desertification or the forecasted effects of climate change result in social catastrophes such as 


  • land use conflicts which are more and more often settled by violence,
  • malnourishment of large shares of the population and
  • migration processes.

Migration processes target at the few favoured zones like the coastal and metropolitan areas in which social problems aggravate one another, resulting in a dramatic overuse of the natural resources.

One of the regional research foci deals with analysing these processes undergoing in West African states with the objective to deduce instruments and methods of conflict regulation and spatial planning from the results.

The research focus particularly concentrates on the following subjects:

  • the conflicts in the marine fishery in the Gulf of Benin between the artisanal and industrial fishers and their impacts on land use patterns, socio-economic processes and land use changes in the littoral and the resulting conflicts,
  • use of resources, overuse of resources, their causes and effects,
  • perception and assessment of natural risks by the local population and the resulting actions,
  • effects of external interventions in view of local actors' planning strategies and measures.


The regional research focus West Africa is closely connected with the research areas of  transformation of environment and resources , transformation of economy and society , method-integration  as well as municipal management .