Diversity of research

Iina Soiri is the new director of NAI with effect from 1 March. Prior to her appointment, she worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Finland as a senior advisor on development policy.

The diversity of its research is one of NAI’s strengths: the institute covers the continent from many perspectives and disciplines, not just those of development studies. It drives to have a greater impact on policy-making.

− To know how development can take place in Africa, one needs to understand more about Africa from many perspectives. This is where NAI enters the picture. We have so much more than just research on aid and cooperation, and all of it is invaluable input for those planning and deciding on policies for African development and poverty reduction in the Nordic countries, says Iina Soiri.

She hopes that NAI will continue to make progress as a hub of knowledge on Africa. Great changes are taking place in African countries and it is NAI’s duty to look beyond the press headlines.

− Being a research institute, we can choose our research without political demands or restrictions. Importantly, NAI will always stand by Africa and try to change policies with African people’s best interests in mind, says Iina Soiri.

The “new” Africa also manifests itself in the growing scope for critical thinking and research in Africa. The institute’s guest research programme for African scholars and network building may be expanded in response to this new research climate for African academics.
− NAI must support that research. By doing so, NAI research might also gain visibility among policy-makers in Africa, says Iina Soiri.

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