Thematic research areas

Africa reflects rapid global changes. To understand the global complexity, a more forward-looking research strategy is required. For instance, broad and mutually beneficial intellectual cooperation between researchers in the Nordic and African regions is indispensable to finding the most appropriate and sustainable solutions to the current development challenges in Africa.

Economic growth and challenges of inequality and poverty

Significant strides towards eliminating poverty have been made in the past decades, and extreme poverty rates have been cut by more than half since 1990. This trend is also notable in Africa; statistics show how African poverty has been on a declining trend over the past 15 years. However, poverty reduction is slower in Africa than on any other continent, and the high level of economic inequality implies that the poverty-reducing impact of growth is less straightforward than what was believed, due to the poverty and inequality traps. There is thus no automatic one-to-one relationship between economic growth and poverty alleviation.

Climate change and sustainable development

Climate change and sustainable development The challenge of climate change has no borders. Human activities worldwide entail consequences for the way we all live and for the future of our planet. The effects of climate change are not a matter of speculation; people’s lives are being affected by rising sea levels and extreme weather. The UN has called for urgent action to tackle climate change and its impacts in the sustainable development agenda.

Conflict, security and democratic transformation

The UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, of which the SDGs are a part, is dedicated to promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, the provision of justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels. Societies affected by violent conflict often suffer from flawed democratic institutions and processes, human rights abuses and low levels of economic growth, as well as lack of access to education and health care. Furthermore, there is a dominant international agenda to find solutions to the threats of terrorism and organised crime.

Mobility and migration

Understanding Africa’s migratory movements is equal to the challenge of understanding the social, economic and political developments on the continent. Migration can take many shapes and forms: internal movements such as rural – urban migration (and in some regions urban – rural) ; and cross - border and intercontinental migration due to conflict, ecological or economic downturns.

Gender equality

The sustainable development goals aim to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Gender inequality is a global problem, causing social progress and economic growth to stagnate worldwide. Inequalities for girls and women can follow them through life, entailing deprivation of access to health care, proper nutrition, education and job opportunities.

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