Minor Minor LDE-minor: African Dynamics


Joint Minor Erasmus University Rotterdam, TU Delft and Leiden University 


Africa has the fastest growing population in the world. According to the current average scenario of the UN Population Division, the continent’s population is projected to double in 30 years from 1.2 billion today to around 2.5 billion, and the urban population to increase from 500 million to more than 1.3 billion people. The concomitant growing demand for food, water, energy, services, infrastructure, and jobs can be powerful drivers of growth, but may also present severe social, economic and environmental threats that have to be dealt with in innovative ways.

Sixty percent of Africa’s population is under 24 years of age. Living in the world’s most unequal continent, impatient youth are actively seeking employment opportunities and better living conditions. Their growing frustration, among others, manifests in migration flows within and from the continent. As its closest neighbour, Europe feels exposed to pressures of growing numbers of refugees and economic migrants. Africans are however also increasingly looking beyond the West. Forging new partnerships, China has become Africa's largest trading partner and concerns have been raised that the Sino-African political, economic, and military relations may for instance undermine African nations’ sovereignty. African dynamics do not only pose threats and risks. Based on the continent’s ongoing economic growth rates, the IMF forecasts that in the coming decade, Africa will be the second-fastest growing region in the world. As the oldest human inhabited and one of the most diverse continents in the world, Africa has immense human potential. It is a resource rich continent with abundant geo-resources, enormous natural biodiversity and vast cultivable land, offering immeasurable opportunities for growth and development. The way in which Africa unfolds will greatly impact the course of the world’s shared future in the 21st century. 

Fusing expertise in the humanities, social and natural sciences and technology, the aim of the African Dynamics minor is to capacitise LU, TUD and EUR bachelor students from different disciplines to identify, track, and help strengthening Africa’s role in the globalised world. The minor offers students a valuable opportunity to build their understanding of integrated and sustainable development approaches in Africa from leading academics of all three universities. It consists of two separate blocks, the first (Block A) imparting foundational theoretical knowledge and the second (Block B) affording students an opportunity to apply their knowledge, build networks and experience Africa in reality.

Following a general introduction to Africa’s past, present, and future, Block A further includes three themes representing specific and interrelated areas of study:
(1) social dynamics, (2) resources and infrastructure, and (3) economy. Covering all seventeen goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the themes are interwoven to construct a holistic understanding of attaining social, economic, and environmental sustainability in an African context. LU Africanists address the challenges of poverty, hunger, health, education, equality, and governance in Africa. Students will be guided to consider how e.g. lacking infrastructure, environmental degradation, economic underdevelopment, insecurity and conflict relate to current processes of African mobility and migration. TUD academics will investigate three key African resources; water, energy, and land, their related infrastructures, and linkages with sustainable development. The module will facilitate discussions of the extent to which the discourses on African resources and infrastructure are unique. Responsible for the third macro theme, Africanists from EUR will focus on socio-economic realities in Africa and consider new paradigms to address ‘wicked’ challenges. Developing guiding principles and business models to implement the SDGs will be the focus of this module. Through collaboration and individual activities, students will arrive at an integrated multidisciplinary understanding of African opportunities and challenges .

This understanding will be expanded and deepened in Block B with interactive webinars with African and Dutch policy makers, think tanks, knowledge platforms, NGOs, and entrepreneurs. Knowledge will be embedded through day excursions to relevant ministries and institutions. Participating in a Small Private Online Course (SPOC), presented as a Global Classroom, students will critically engage with peer students from African universities on advancing the SDGs. Comparing theoretical knowledge to African realities, the second block includes a three week field study in Africa.

Click here for more information about the minor.

Learning Objectives

To achieve the overall aim of the minor; capacitating students from different disciplines to identify, track and help strengthening Africa’s role in the globalized world, in an integrated and sustainable way, Block A imparts relevant theoretical knowledge and Block B affords students an opportunity to apply their knowledge, build networks and experience Africa. Starting on an introductory level, the minor builds-up to an intermediate level, whilst remaining on a level that enables learners from different disciplines to follow.


See course guide Leiden University for detailed course descriptions. Please note it is not possible to follow only one course, as the minor is a consistent package of courses designed to help you build your knowledge in a logical and connected way.


Only 36 students will be selected to participate in this minor in 2020. The minor is demanding and aspects such as continuous collaboration and going abroad for the field study require dedication and motivation. Therefore, although no prior specialist knowledge is required, students will be selected on basis of a motivation letter. If you are interested to apply, you have to register through Osiris and submit a letter of motivation not later than 15 April 2020 to minorafricandynamics@asc.leidenuniv.nl

For further details visit Leiden University 2020-2021 e-prospectus.

LU & TUD students who apply a 30 ECTS minor are obliged to follow both Block A and B. Block A can serve as a complete unit to accommodate EUR students who have a minor requirement of 15 ECTS. These students may choose to complete Block B extracurricular, as most activities are online with the exception of four one day educational excursions and a three weeks’ field study which takes place in the first three weeks of January. Since their participation enriches the multi-disciplinary feature of the minor, they will be gladly accommodated in Block B. It is however not possible to enrol for Block B without having completed Block A, as this is the theoretical foundation of the minor. Attendance of specific modules as a non-examination student (aanschuifonderwijs) will be accommodated with written permission from the Steering Committee.


Studiepunten (EC)

Leiden University, African Studies Centre

TU Delft, Faculty Of Civil Engineering and Geosciences

Erasmus University, Rotterdam School of Management