Africa Spectrum was first published in 1966 by the GIGA Institute of African Affairs (IAA) in Hamburg. It is an inter-disciplinary journal dedicated to scientific exchange between the continents. The journal focuses on socially relevant issues related to political, economic and socio-cultural problems and events in Africa as well as on Africa's role within the international system. For more than four decades Africa Spectrum has regularly provided – three times per year – profound analyses of current issues in political, social and economic life; culture; and development in sub-Saharan Africa. On the web page http://www.giga-hamburg.de/afrika-spectrum interested readers will find abstracts and the table of contents of former issues of the journal. Africa Spectrum is the leading German academic journal exclusively devoted to this continent and is part of the GIGA Journal Family. Since 2003 the journal has collaborated closely with the African Studies Association in Germany (Vereinigung für Afrikawissenschaften in Deutschland, VAD). Members of the VAD contribute in various ways to the success of the journal, for example, as authors or as referees in the peer-review process. A subscription to the journal is included in the VAD membership fee. Nevertheless, the independence of the journal and its editorial policy is guaranteed. As of 2009 the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation is cooperating with the GIGA/IAA with the aim of further internationalising the journal and expanding coverage of topics related to the United Nations.
Africa Spectrum is published in English only. The journal also accepts French- and German-language articles during the review process; however, accepted articles will have to be translated into English before publication (either by the author or through the editorial department). In addition, Africa Spectrum, unlike some other Open Access publications, does not charge its authors any fee. Articles covering various topics are regularly included, but the journal also publishes special issues devoted to specific subjects. The editing of such a special issue by a guest editor is possible by arrangement. The journal also includes historical studies that illuminate current events on the continent. In addition, it carries debates, short contributions and book reviews.
The Globethics.net library is in the process of gathering all the articles of the Africa Spectrum from 2009 to current, harvested from the Hamburg University repository.
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication in print and online. The work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works License, which allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.