I am a Ghanaian academic, a Universitäts professor [University Professor] of African Studies (holding the Chair of African Languages and Literatures) at the University of Vienna, Austria – the first Black academic to occupy this top position in an Austrian university. I have done pioneering research in many disciplines including African linguistics, Afriphone literature, diaspora studies with a particular focus on diaspora community contributions to the socio-economic development of their countries of origin, Africa – China – Europe relations, and interdisciplinary studies across many humanities and social science disciplines. I earned a BA (Hons) degree in Linguistics, French, and Swahili at the University of Ghana, and an MA degree in Linguistics at the same university before moving to Norway where I earned MPhil and PhD degrees at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway. I have taught at many universities around the world including the University of Ghana (1985–87), NTNU (1997), Stanford University (1994 – 1996; 2006 – 2007; and 2011), University of Hong Kong (1997 to 2013), Bayreuth University, Germany (2012), and University of Vienna (2013 to present).
I have written 15 books and more than 100 journal articles and book chapters, and I am editor and/or editorial board member of many journals and books series, including the Journal of West African Languages and the Series on African Language Grammars and Dictionaries.
I belong to several professional organizations including being life-time member of the African Studies Association, the Linguistic Society of Hong Kong, and the Federation Internationale de Langues et Litteratures Modernes (FILLM) – a UNESCO affiliate, where I am currently President (2020 – 2023). I speak or understand several languages including Dagaare (my native language), Twi, Swahili, English, French, Norwegian, German, and Chinese.