Unités mixtes des instituts français de recherche à l'étranger (UMIFRE)

Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Established by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1995, IFAS-Research has been founded to answer France’s wish to take part in the construction of the new South Africa concerning research in the Human and Social Sciences. Its regional mandate over Southern Africa (South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, eSwatini, Zambia and Zimbabwe) is bringing IFAS-Research to develop cross-projects on the countries of the region as well as partnerships with the Institutes of Ibadan and Nairobi on continental programmes.



IFAS-Research supports around 80 researchers every year coming from the most prestigious French and European centres on Southern Africa. Its mission is to promote the creation of joint research teams through calls for proposals as per annual programmes. IFAS-Research hosts French students and researchers during their field trips in Southern Africa and assists Southern African researchers doing research work in Europe.

Since its inception, the Institute has emphasized the reconstruction of space and identities in post-apartheid South Africa, and the observation of social and political change indicators by favouring an interdisciplinary approach. Past programmes have for example focused on security and governance in Sub-Saharan African cities, democratic transformation in developing countries and land redistribution in constitutional, liberation and post-liberation regimes in Southern Africa. Recently, new programmes in Archaeology and History of Southern Africa have been launched.

IFAS is developing two main lines of research:

  • The long time: Archaeology, History and Memories (Archaeology and Prehistory, Global History of Africa, History of Writing in Africa, Memories and Presence of the Past in New South Africa)
  • Urban Dynamics (Economic and Social Reconfigurations of African Cities, Urban Densification of Gauteng Agglomerations, Climate Change: The African Position).

To learn more about ongoing projects by IFAS, visit this page.

IFAS publishes the results of its work in books and articles in French and English. He co-edit with Karthala the "IFAS-Karthala" collection, which aims to promote the work of young French researchers in the area. It also supports the publication of numerous scientific papers on Southern Africa. IFAS also publishes a semi-annual newsletter, Lesedi, available on its website


Southern African partners




To learn more about the UMIFRE, visit here.