These are the latest books, articles and other publications from the Nordic Africa Institute and our team of researchers. To find all our publications please click on the DiVA-link below.

Open access


Africa’s mineral economies: breaking their dependence on mining

Policy Note No 6:2018
Written by George Adu and John Bosco Dramani, Department of Economics, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute (October 2018)
The dependence of many African economies on a few mineral commodities exposes them to a number of risks, including economic instability, conflict and damaging environmental effects. Structural, institutional and regulatory reforms are needed to break the mineral dependence and promote economic diversification.

The future of EU-Africa cooperation beyond the Cotonou Agreement

Policy Note No 5:2018
Written by Victor Adetula, Head of Research at the Nordic Africa Institute
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute (June 2018)
There is concern that the Cotonou Agreement obstructs African governments from supporting domestic production, and that the EU is splitting African unity by striking separate deals with different African regions.

Peace and security challenges in Southern Africa

Policy Note No 4:2018
Written by Michael Aeby, researcher at the Graduate Institute Geneva
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute (May 2018)
SADC, the intergovernmental organisation for Southern Africa, is ineffective in meeting the region's peace and security challenges because many of its leaders are unwilling to enforce democratic principles.

Rival priorities in the Sahel

Policy Note No 3:2018
Written by Morten Bøås, research professor at Nupi
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute (April 2018)
The G5 Sahel initiative goes some way to make up for the lack of cross-border coordination in the troubled Sahel region. But if the foreign powers and interests inolved place a one-sided emphasis on fighting terror and stopping migration, it risks becoming yet another excuse to get more ‘boots on the ground’.

Innovative water finance in Africa – a guide for water managers

Edited by Atakilte Beyene, senior researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute, and Cush Ngonzo Luwesi, associate professor of economics at the University of Kwango, DR Congo
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute (April 2018)
Volume 1: Water finance innovations in context.

Violence in African Elections

Africa Now Series
Edited by Mimmi Söderberg Kovacs, head of research at the Folke Bernadotte Academy (formerly senior researcher at NAI) and Jesper Bjarnesen, Senior Researcher at NAI
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute and Zed Books (April 2018)
A comprehensive examination of the causes of Africa’s violent electoral clashes, and the consequences for African democratization and peace-keeping.

Security without sabre-rattling

Policy Note No 2:2018
Written by Mikael Eriksson, Senior Researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute (February 2018)
Lack of resources makes the African Union dependent on external funding for military support and peacebuilding. Policy makers who want to support the AU and its members in their efforts to avoid becoming pieces in external powers’ geopolitical puzzle, should promote non-military solutions to security challenges.

Debt, aid and poverty in Mozambique

Policy Note No 1:2018
Written by Cecilia Navarra and Cristina Udelsmann Rodrigues, Senior Researchers at the Nordic Africa Institute
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute (January 2018)
In opaque and unregulated financial markets, there can be strong incentives for banks to provide loans even when the appropriate guaranties or assessments are lacking. This is part of the Mozambican debt story, according to NAI researchers Navarra and Rodrigues. In this case, the consequences are most likely to be borne by Mozambican people, strongly affecting their living conditions.


Africa Yearbook, vol 13, 2016

Co-published with Brill, in collaboration with African Studies Centre (ASC) in Leiden, the Institute of African Affairs (IAA) in Hamburg and the Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala (December 2017).
Edited and co-authored by Andreas Mehler, Institute of African Affairs, Hamburg, Henning Melber, the Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, and Sebastian Elischer, Institute of African Studies, Hamburg.
The Africa Yearbook covers major domestic political developments, the foreign policy and socio-economic trends in sub-Sahara Africa – all related to developments in one calendar year.

Africa's Urban Future

Conference Report
Edited, co-authored and compiled by Patience Mususa and Cristina Udelsmann Rodrigues, Senior Researchers at the Nordic Africa Institute
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute (November 2017)
Report from a policy conference on urban research in Helsinki, 12 May 2017.

The Nuer pastoralists

Current African Issues No 64
Written by Wondwosen Michago Seide, Guest Researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute (September 2017)
Between large scale agriculture and villagization : a case study of the Lare District in the Gambella Region of Ethiopia.

Africa bridging the digital divides

Policy Note No 4:2017
Written by Samia Satti Mohammed Nour, Guest Researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute (September 2017)
Africa’s leapfrogging information and communication technology development is fueled by mobile broadband. The number of mobile-broadband subscriptions on the continent has increased more than 15 times over the past six years, a growth rate that is three times the global average. However, there are also worrying trends, such as a growing digital divide between men and women, and between urban and rural areas.

Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region beyond Boko Haram

Policy Note No 3:2017
Written by Henrik Angerbrandt, Senior Researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute (June 2017)
In light of a recent UN Security Council resolution on the Lake Chad region, this policy note identifies major challenges that need to be addressed to create conditions for actors in the region to build a lasting peace. The issues include demobilising local vigilantes and resolving land-related conflicts.

Private security in Africa: From the global assemblage to the everyday

Africa Now Series
Edited by Paul Higate and Mats Utas
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute and Zed Books (June 2017)
A comprehensive analysis of the rise of private security providers across Africa, and its implications for African states and societies.

Warlord Democrats in Africa: Ex-Military Leaders and Electoral Politics

Africa Now Series
Edited by Anders Themnér, Senior Research Associate at at the Nordic Africa Institute
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute and Zed Books (April 2017)
The first systematic study about what effect the electoral participation of ex-military leaders in Africa has on post-war security.

Who put the ’Post’ in the Post-Arab Spring?

Policy Note No 2:2017
Written by Mikael Eriksson, Senior Researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute (March 2017)
Shifting policies towards a fresh narrative for North Africa

Ethiopia in the UN Security Council 2017-2018

Policy Note No 1:2017
Written by Victor Adetula, Head of Research at the Nordic Africa Institute
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute (February 2017)
Enforce the ‘African solutions to African problems’ principle in the UN and promote cooperation with the African Union and its regional communities. That is what Ethiopia should work for during its two-year term in the UN Security Council.


Regional Economic Communities and Peacebuilding in Africa: The Experiences of ECOWAS and IGAD

NAI Policy Dialogue No 12
Written by Victor A.O Adetula, Redie Bereketeab and Olugbemi Jaiyebo
Published by Nordic Africa Institute (December 2016)

Since the end of the Cold War, Africa has recorded increased involvement of its Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in the peacebuilding process. Although primarily set up to promote economic integration, RECs such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have increasingly taken up a prominent role in conflict resolution and peace support operations. Their performance in ensuring peace and security on the continent is examined in this policy dialogue.

New City visions and the politics of redevelopment in Dar es Salaam

NAI Working Paper 2016:1
Written by Ilda Lindell, Jennifer Norström and Andrew Byerley

Published by Nordic Africa Institute (December 2016)

In 2010, the Tanzanian government put forward an ambitious New City plan for the Kigamboni area in Dar es Salaam, a plan that involved the resettlement of a large number of residents. This working paper argues that the project took shape without taking the realities and desires of the residents into consideration.

Ilda Lindell is Associate Professor at the Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University, and works on the politics of informality in urban Africa. Jennifer Norström is a Sociologist, Urban Planner and film maker. Andrew Byerley, PhD, is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University. Both Lindell and Byerley have previously worked as researchers at the Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala.

Cocoa in Post-Conflict Liberia

Peer-reviewed research report
Written by Gun Eriksson Skoog, Senior policy specialist at Sida and former researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute (November 2016)
Exploring recent trends in the Liberian cocoa market, this book suggests a break with the past. It shows how a series of institutional changes have contributed to making the cocoa market more inclusive. With a strengthened bargaining power, a larger share of the world-market price and better access to inputs and services, smallholder farmers’ market participation has become more beneficial.

The Rise of Africa’s Middle Class: Myths, Realities and Critical Engagements

Africa Now Series
Edited by Henning Melber, Senior Research Associate at at the Nordic Africa Institute
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute and Zed Books (November 2016)
The first comprehensive volume to offer a critical perspective on the role of the new middle classes in contemporary Africa..

Growing Mistrust – A Threat to Democracy in Ghana

Policy Note No 5:2016
Written by Victor Adetula, Head of Research at the Nordic Africa Institute
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute (November 2016)
Opportunities and challenges in Ghana's upcoming general elections – with advice to policy makers.

What does it mean to be human in the aftermath of historical trauma?

Claude Ake Memorial Paper No 9
Written by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Professor at the University of the Free State in South Africa and 2015 Claude Ake Visiting Chair
Published by Nordic Africa Institute and Uppsala University (October 2016)

South Africa, Namibia, Burundi, Rwanda – there are lots of countries where victims and perpetrators of gross human rights violations live side by side. And, of course, not only in Africa. In this essay, South African psychologist Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela analyses strategies that can help individuals and communities deal with these traumas. She also looks at ways to restore dignity to victims and enable perpetrators to be accountable for their crimes.

The Nordic Africa Days 2016

The Nordic Africa Days Uppsala 23-24 September 2016 Gender & Change: Challenges for Africa
Published by Nordic Africa Institute (September 2016)

The Nordic Africa Days 2016 takes place in Uppsala, Sweden, 23-24 September 2016. The theme for this year's conference is Gender and Change: Challenges for Africa. In this e-book you find information about the conference panels, approved abstracts, and lots more.​

Sweden’s Bid for a UN Security Council Seat and What Africa Stands to Gain

Policy Note No 4:2016
Written by Victor Adetula, Head of Research at the Nordic Africa Institute
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute (June 2016)
The Swedish government should involve the African diaspora in Sweden to secure the support of African countries in the UN. It also needs to clarify in what ways Sweden’s feminist foreign policy is compatible with African values of respect and dignity for womanhood. These are a couple of recommendations provided in this policy note on how Sweden should act to improve relations with African countries and succeed in its ambitions to achieve the sustainable development goals of Agenda 2030.
  • Read the booklet at Issuu

From Top-Down to Flexible Cooperation: Rethinking Regional Support to Africa

Policy Note No 3:2016
Written by Fredrik Söderbaum, Hanna Skansholm and Therese Brolin
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute (May 2016)
Sweden and many other donor countries focus too strongly on supranational unions and intergovernmental regional organisations in their development support to Africa. More resources should instead go to flexible constellations and networks involving regional actors from both the public and the private sector, as well as civil society. This advice is given by Professor Fredrik Söderbaum and his associates Hanna Skansholm and Therese Brolin.
  • Read the booklet at Issuu

A Decade of Namibia: Politics, Economy and Society – The Era Pohamba, 2004-2015

Written by Henning Melber, senior advisor at the Nordic Africa Institute
Published by Brill (May 2016)
Hifikepunye Pohamba has been the second Head of State since Namibia’s Independence in 1990. As successor to Sam Nujoma he held office for two terms from March 2005 to March 2015. At the end of his presidency he was awarded the Mo Ibrahim Prize for good governance as the fifth statesman of the continent. This overview covers the twelve years from his election in 2004 until his retirement, reviewing Namibia’s development during his presidency.

Aid and Authoritarianism in Africa

Edited by Tobias Hagmann and Filip Reyntjens
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute in cooperation with Zed Books (March 2016)
In 2013 almost half of Africa’s top aid recipients were ruled by authoritarian  regimes. While the West may claim to promote democracy and human rights,  in practice major bilateral and international donors  have seen their aid policies  become ever more entangled with the survival of their authoritarian protégés.  This book raises an urgent  and too often neglected question: to what extent are foreign aid programmes  actually perpetuating authoritarian rule?

The Politics of Female Circumcision in Egypt

Written by Maria Frederika Malmström, researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute
Published by I.B. Tauris (April 2016)

In Egypt, 91 percent of women aged 15-49 have undergone female circumcision or genital mutilation/cutting, according to UNICEF. Female circumcision has become a political minefield with 'Western' interventions affecting Egyptian affairs. In this book, researcher Maria Frederika Malmström employs an ethnographic approach to this controversial issue.

The Future of African Peace Operations

Edited by Linnéa Gelot, Cedric de Coning and John Karlsrud
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute in cooperation with Zed Books (March 2016)

Facing threats ranging from Islamist insurgences to the Ebola pandemic, African regional actors are playing an increasingly vital role in safeguarding peace and stability across the continent. But while the African Union has demonstrated its ability to deploy forces on short notice and in difficult circumstances, the challenges posed by increasingly complex conflict zones have revealed a widening divide between the theory and practice of peacekeeping. The book gives a long overdue assessment of the ways which peacekeeping on the continent has evolved over the past decade.

Eritrea’s refugee crisis and the role of the international community

Policy Note No 2:2016
Written by Redie Bereketeab, researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute (March 2016)

Five thousand refugees leave Eritrea each month according to  UNHCR, making it one of the world’s fastest-emptying countries.  In this policy note, Redie Bereketeab, researcher at the Nordic  Africa Institute, analyses the role and responsibility of the international  community in the Eritrean migration crisis.
  • Read the e-booklet at Issuu

Radicalisation and terrorist recruitment among kenya's youth

Policy Note No 1:2016
Written by Sirkku Hellsten, researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute (February 2016)

Policy note with recommendations to policy-makers on how to prevent al-Shabaab and ISIS from recruiting young men in Kenya as terrorists.
  • Read the e-booklet at Issuu

Shades of Africa

Written and edited by Henrik Alfredsson, Mattias Sköld and Johan Sävström
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute (January 2016)

A presentation of the current research at the Nordic Africa Institute, a showcase of our trade: high-quality research on Africa, with strong links to policy and practice.  Research on a changing continent, made easily accessible in 60 pages.

  • Read the e-book at Issuu
  • Order a print copy at Peecho


Faith As Politics

Edited by Henning Melber, researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute (2015)

Beyers Naudé was in his later life one of the leading Afrikaner anti-apartheid activists. Convinced by the strength of his faith he took a courageous political stand in a time in South African history when it was much needed. Faith As Politics is an anthology with contributions from researchers, diplomats, activists and clergies who all have one thing in common – they were all engaged in the struggle against apartheid at the same time as Naudé. And almost all of them worked with him in one way or another. This is a unique depiction of a man whose faith, struggle and courage deserve to be recognized.

South Africa: Settler Colonialism and the Failures of Liberal Democracy

Written by Thiven Reddy, former guest researcher at NAI
Published by NAI in cooperation with Zed Books (December 2015)
In South Africa, two unmistakable features describe post-apartheid politics. The first is the formal framework of liberal democracy, including regular elections, multiple political parties and a range of progressive social rights. The second is the politics of the “extraordinary,” which includes a political discourse that relies on threats and the use of violence, the crude re-racialisation of numerous conflicts and protests over various popular grievances. 
In this book, political science researcher Thiven Reddy shows how conventional approaches to understanding democratisation have failed to capture the complexities of South Africa’s post-apartheid transition. As a product of imperial expansion, the South African state and citizen identities have been uniquely shaped by a particular mode of domination, namely settler colonialism.

Burkina Faso's one-week coup and its implications for free and fair elections

Policy Note No 10:2015
Written by Jesper Bjarnesen and Christiano Lanzano
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute (October 2015)

In the upcoming electionsin Burkina Faso, there’s a need for a clear democratic break with the three decades of de facto one-party rule. At the same time, amoderate approach is needed in dealingwith the controversial legacy of the formerregime, to avoid further polarisation in an already fraught political situation. These are the recommendations of NAI researchers Jesper Bjarnesen and Cristiano Lanzano in this policy note.
  • Read the e-booklet at Issuu

In pursuit of paradise

Written by Eva Evers Rosander, former researcher at NAI
Published by NAI (November 2015)

Muridism is a Sufi order that originated in Senegal at the end of the 19th century and is now expanding rapidly. In this book Rosander gives an account of the Murid women of Senegal and Tenerife.

Agricultural Water Institutions in East Africa

Current African Issues no 63
Edited by Atakilte Beyene
Published by the Nordic Africa Institute (2015)

Climate change is causing growing variability and uncertainty in rainfall in Africa. Since the continent’s food production systems are dominantly rain-fed, these changes are putting food security at even higher risk. In order to reduce this dependency, institutional reforms in the agricultural water sectors have become a priority in research and policy. In this report, Atakilte Beyene, senior researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute, together with twelve researchers based in Africa, studies current agricultural water reforms in Kenya, Tanzania,
Uganda, and other East African countries.

Africa in the Indian Ocean - Islands in Ebb and Flow

Tor Sellström

The four sovereign Indian Ocean states of Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles, the two French overseas departments of Mayotte and Reunion, as well as the British colony of BIOT (Chagos), all form part of Africa. As insular nations and territories in an increasingly globalized, militarized and largely unregulated ocean, they face particular challenges. Commonly overlooked in the fields of African and international studies, this text traces the islands’ history and explores their diverse contemporary social, political and economic trajectories. From human settlement and slavery to conflict resolution and piracy, the relations with continental Africa and the African Union feature prominently. Richly sourced, this comprehensive and up-to-date introduction to Africa’s Indian Ocean islands covers a significant lacuna. More about the book and how to buy (opens in new window).

Strategic Options for the Future of African Peace Operations 2015-2025

Linnéa Gelot & John Karlsrud & Cedric de Coning

Increasingly complex security environments are placing high demands on African peace operations, and complicating efforts at long-term peace- and state building. From the experiences of the African Union (AU) and the sub-regions over the last decade, an African model of peace operations has emerged that is at odds with the mission scenarios and multi-dimensional assumptions that underpinned the original framework of the African Standby Force (ASF). Download the publication.

Kenya : The Struggle for a New Constitutional Order

Godwin Murunga, Duncan Okello, and Anders Sjögren (Eds.)
Africa Now series

The aftermath of recent Kenyan elections has been marred by violence and an apparent crisis in democratic governance, with the negotiated settlement resulting from the 2007 election bringing into sharp focus longstanding problems of state and society. The broader reform process has involved electoral, judicial and security sector reforms, among others, which in turn revolve around constitutional reforms.

Written by an eminent gathering of specialists, this highly original volume interrogates the roots and impacts of the 2010 constitution; explains why struggles for reforms were blocked in the past but were successful this time around, and explores the scope for their implementation in the face of continued resistance by powerful groups. In doing so, the book demonstrates that the Kenyan experience carries significance well past its borders, speaking to debates surrounding social justice and national cohesion across the African continent and beyond. Read more and order.

Africa’s World Trade : Informal Economies and Globalization from Below

Margaret C. Lee
Africa Now series

Are Africa's world markets really contributing to development across the continent for individuals, nations and regions? This is the key question posed by Margaret Lee in this provocative book, in which she argues that all too often the voices of African traders are obscured amid a blizzard of statistical analysis.

However, it is these very voices - from those operating on the ground as formal or informal traders - that must be listened to in order to form a true understanding of the impact trade regimes have on these individuals and their communities.

Featuring a wealth of oral histories from across sub-Saharan Africa and beyond, including Africans in China, Africa's World Trade offers a unique insight into how the complexity of international trade agreements can shape the everyday lives of ordinary Africans. Read more and order.

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