NAI’s African agenda 2017

NAI’s independent research and outreach supports decision-makers in the Nordic countries with analysis and discussion of challenges faced and progress made on the African continent.

In 2017 NAI will examine how the African Union, under its new Commission Chair Moussa Faki of Chad, can work to promote peace on the continent. The Institute will deepen its study on AU and militarization, conducted by researchers Linnéa Gelot and Mikael Eriksson.

NAI has identified gender inequality as a crucial challenge for the future development of Africa. In 2017 the Institute will intensify its research efforts on gender inequality and other forms of social and economic exclusion, challenges of LGBTQ persons in Africa, and the issue of health rights.

Migration caused by conflict, poverty or climate change remains one of world’s most urgent questions during 2017. The researchers of NAI will keep their focus on the relation between migration and development.

In 2017 NAI will increase our efforts to analyze the causes and effects of Africa’s generally slow poverty reduction and high economic inequality, we will build on projects on urban and rural development spanning from mining towns in Zambia to smallholder farming communities in Ethiopia.  

Southern Africa

NAI will track developments leading up to Angola’s elections and implications of the departure of President dos Santos after 38 years in power. We will also follow developments in Mozambique where militant movement RENAMO is resurging.

South Africa: Through associated NAI researcher Tim Murithi we will follow ANC’s presidential elective conference at the end of 2017.

Central and East Africa

With elections in Kenya, NAI is tracking political and societal trends in the country. Kenya’s August election, taking place in an already challenging environment is raising fears of escalating tensions and ethnic polarization.

DR Congo: With increasing national turmoil and escalating violence against civilians as Joseph Kabila keeps clinging on to power, we will keep our eye on developments in Africa’s second-largest nation. Our researcher Professor Maria Eriksson Baaz, an international authority on civil-military relations in DR Congo, will continue her exploration of the security sector in the country.   

We will keep our focus on causes and possible solutions of the political crisis in Burundi following President Nkurunziza’s controversial third term in office. We will build on the knowledge developed in the programme on election violence, initiated in 2012.

Our work will also explore issues related to Africa’s adaptation to climate change, with key focus on water management and smallholder farming, with case studies in Ethiopia and Tanzania.

West Africa

We will continue to follow events in Burkina Faso which has seen tumultuous development since its longtime leader Blaise Compaore was ousted from power by a popular youth upheaval in 2014.

Burkina Faso is one of several West African countries where the African Union and its regional partner organisation ECOWAS have played deciding roles to promote state-building. It was after pressure from Pan-African organisations that a ruling military junta agreed to step down, and Michel Kafando was reinstated as acting president. The role of Africa’s regional organizations in conflict resolution, mediation and peace building is highlighted in the work of several NAI researchers.

NAI also keeps its focus on Nigeria, where President Buhari is battling with internal armed conflicts and corruption within the state apparatus. The key questions of conflict-resolution and good governance are recurring topics in the work of Victor Adetula, Head of Research at NAI.

NAI researchers will also follow the situation in Liberia as the country prepares for general elections in October, marking its first transition in power through open elections. NAI researcher Anders Themnér is a longtime observer of Liberia’s post-conflict development. 

North Africa and Horn of Africa

Through NAI researcher Mikael Eriksson we will keep a close eye on Libya. Although the Islamic State was driven from its main areas of control last year and oil production has rebounded, the country is more polarized and fragmented than ever.

Research in Sudan and South Sudan will continue to emphasize the importance of pursuing inclusive political processes, dialogue and reconciliation. Post-election Somalia including state-building efforts will be analyzed.


East Africa
Southern Africa
West Africa
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