News archive

To see a list of all news during a specific year: please see the right hand column


Nollywood reflects Nigerian society

Movies. Predictable storylines and low technical quality characterise many Nollywood movies. At the same time, their themes accurately reflect Nigerian society.

Mapping the West African gold

Mali. Anthropologist Matthieu Bolay has traced the gold from the artisinal miners in West Africa, through every transaction and transformation, all the way to the traders in Switzerland.

A single army for Africa?

AU reform. A militarised African Union could claim a new role for Africa on the world stage, NAI Senior Researcher Mikael Eriksson argues.

Young men want more than just surviving

South Africa. Young men refuse low-paid employment because they have aspirations of something more than daily survival. It hampers their obligations to their children.  

Engaging men in gender equality

Rwanda. In addition of a progressive legislation on gender, a local NGO teaches men how women’s economic empowerment benefit the whole household.

Gender imbalances reinstated with the HIV epidemic

NAD 2016. Many feminists in South Africa viewed HIV and the resources it brought as an opportunity to challenge gender inequalities. It never happened. Instead the very things they had hoped to change were in fact entrenched.

Building popular trust with anthropology

Guinea. During the ebola crisis, people avoided official health campaigns, believing them to be the cause of contamination. By the use of anthropological methods, the authorities could have reached out more efficiently.

African hairstyles back in fashion

NAD 2016. For a long time, African women have been encouraged to look like European women. Now, however, African hairstyles from the 70s Black Power movement are in fashion again.

Challenging the 'Africa rising' narrative

Economic development. In recent years there has been much talk of a burgeoning middle class in many African countries. In a new book, spanning a variety of case studies from across the African continent, a group of researchers offers a critical analysis on this image.

Ghanaians’ faith in democracy remains strong

Political analysis. Elections in Ghana are usually clean and peaceful affairs, characterised by reasoned political argument. Nevertheless, events in the run-up to the elections on 7 December raise important questions. NAI head of research Victor Adetula discerns dark...

Gold barons exploit miners

NAI workshop. Artisanal gold mining in Zimbabwe can be very lucrative, although it is not completely legal. Miners who don’t want to risk losing their gold to the authorities, choose instead to sell for less profit to the gold barons that operate across artisanal...

Contested eco city

Nigeria. Proponents call it a high-tech smart city with sustainable energy and climate change solutions. Others call it an exclusive space for the wealthy few. The mega-project Eko Atlantic City on the coastline of Lagos is highly contested. 

Health efforts put more burden on women

Uganda. To compensate for the inadequate healthcare on the countryside, the authorities are aiming to reach people with health information. Since men are not interested in voluntary work, this means more work for women.

Too few women in the mines

Ghana. There are few women in the mining industry, the backbone of the country’s economy. According to Rufai Haruna Kilu, both the Government and the mining corporations need to do more to fight the gender imbalance.

Business-minded terrorists

NAD 2016. Transnational terrorist organizations work in a similar way as business companies. They compete over resources and labor with other organizations, and make rational choices where to operate. Actually, they even do franchising. This is the case with...

Ambassador informed by NAI research

”Only one day is too short”, says Sofia Calltorp, Sweden’s ambassador to Zimbabwe, after attending NAI’s ambassador coaching program. “I would had loved to stay longer to explore the library’s resources”.

Inequalities in fish value chains

Tanzania. Using methodology from business studies, social anthropologist Pétur Waldorff maps the value chain of how fish from Lake Tanganyika find its way to the markets of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Often, his research shows, women end up working in the...

Good examples instill hope for the climate

Climate change conference. African countries have historically had little influence in climate negotiations. They have been participants rather than stakeholders. According to NAI researcher Atakilte Beyene this is changing and Africa’s possibilities to have a say in climate...

Africa, solidarity and the ICC

Blog post. Recently several African states decided to leave the The International Criminal Court (ICC). In a new blog post Henning Melber, NAI senior research associate, comments on solidarity and justice. "Leaving the ICC erodes international criminal...

African dissatisfaction with the ICC

International justice. Burundi, South Africa, and the Gambia have declared intentions to withdraw from the International Crime Court. Kenya and Namibia are on the same path and even the African Union advices its member states not to cooperate with the court. NAI guest...

Persistent gender inequality

NAD 2016. Women in rural South Africa who assume power over their lives often move to cities. It means that old gender stereotypes never really change in the rural areas.

Important to be aware of academic colonisation

Blog post. An interesting discussion during the Africa Days at Dalarna University in Sweden led to a blog text by Holger Weiss, Professor of General History at Åbo Akademi University. “The difference between ‘African’ and ‘Africa’ reveals the complicated...

A woman’s place is in parliament

NAD 2016. Not only does the increasing number of women in African parliaments bring about more gender equality in terms of political representation. It also leads to less corruption and less violent political language.

Role models achieve social change

Gender equality. More women in African cities are realizing that it is in their own interest to get employment and provide for their families. They become role models for gender equality. However, in rural areas there are too few examples to change gender stereotypes...

Libya five years after Gaddafi's fall

During the Arab Spring in 2011 massive protests against Gaddafi's rule led to the civil war in Libya. The hopes that the country would prosper after Gaddafi's overthrow were soon dashed.

Gender and language

NAD 2016. There can be skewed gender relations in a society even though the language is gender neutral. Taiwo Oloruntoba-Oju on the Yoruba language at the Nordic Africa Days.

Africa low priority in the US election

Elections in the US and Africa. African expectations of the US election should be low, according to NAI’s head of research, Victor Adetula. Whichever candidate wins, Africa is unlikely to be a priority of the next administration in the US.

Villagers resolved border dispute

Burkina Faso and Mali. A border conflict that ended up being arbitrated in court is now being referred to by the African Union as a successful example of how local authorities can cooperate across borders. NAI guest researcher Lassane Yameogo has conducted research in two...

Unresolved tensions in Burundi

Burundi seminar. Understanding the legacy of Burundi’s colonial past and the drive for dominion as well as engaging in regional dialogue, is necessary to manage the country’s simmering conflict, says Visiting Professor Tim Murithi, who joins a panel discussion on...

Unequal work-burden among scholars

Ghana. The female scholar needs to take care of the house and children at same time as she makes her academic career. A male scholar on the other hand can focus entirely on his career. Lily Adu-Aboagye on different terms between the sexes in Ghana.

Human rights abuses – a way of governance

UN report on Burundi. “The Burundi regime has created a national state of fear, where systematic human rights abuses are a way of governance”, says NAI researcher Jesper Bjarnesen, commenting on a recent UN report.

Micro-credits are not enough

Gender and change. Entrepreneurship alone is not a way out of poverty. Cecilia Navarra on women’s socio-economic empowerment.

Social relations have more impact than technical equipment

Domestic labour. In many African countries, different eras have shaped how domestic work is organised. According to Deborah Bryceson, who has researched on domestic labour in Africa, changed social relations have had more impact to women’s housework than any technical...

His mission: To strengthen the links between Uganda and Sweden

”Although l have quite long experience of East Africa it was enriching to meet experts on Uganda”, says newly appointed Swedish ambassador to Uganda, Per Lindgärde. He visited NAI for the ambassador-coaching program and met researchers Angela...

Tackling maternal mortality with mobility

Kenya. Pregnant women in rural areas lack access to health care facilities. Recent research, however, shows that mobile health apps and mobile health clinics might be part of the solution.

Self-critical reflections on gender research

Keynote NAD 2016. ”Testimonies are often performances informed by various interests and assumptions. They are also shaped of what the storyteller believes the interviewer wants to hear”. As one of the keynote speaker at the Nordic Africa Days, NAI researcher Maria...

Photo album from NAD 2016

We hope you enjoyed the Nordic Africa Days in Uppsala, thank you for participating! Please have a look in the photo album at Flickr.

Challenging Traditions, Changing Masculinities

Keynote NAD 2016. “Traditionalist African masculinities have no more claim to African traditions than non-traditionalist masculinities. This will always be contested – sometimes even violently”, Professor Kopano Ratele says in his keynote lecture at the Nordic Africa...

South Sudan in focus as NAD opens

Nordic Africa Days. As women we don’t have a tribe, or you can say our tribe is women, says Honorable Susan Wasuk, South Sudanese parliamentarian. When The Nordic Africa Days 2016 started on Thursday with a roundtable discussion on women’s role in war-torn South Sudan...

In-depth knowledge on Zambia after NAI visit

NAI coaching programme. Timo Olkkonen is Finland’s ambassador to Zambia since 2014. He resides in the capital Lusaka from where he also covers the diplomatic relations with neighbouring countries Zimbabwe and Malawi where Finland has no embassies. On August 19th, he visited...

Freedom of speech under attack

Tanzania. Several individuals are being prosecuted for defaming President John Pombe Magufuli in the social media. These actions raise questions about the state of free speech in Tanzania and are clearly worrying, says former NAI guest researcher and filmmaker...

It takes a just society to heal apartheid’s wounds

Claude Ake Chair. Only a new economic system leading to fewer injustices and divisions among people can heal South African society. This is the view of NAI guest professor Tim Murithi, who is otherwise based at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in Cape Town...

Tradional leaders still important

A 'chief', or traditional leader in Zambia is a person who controls an area, a chiefdom, in accordance with traditional laws and rules. "Politicians and traditional leaders should collaborate more. It would really strengthen democracy in Zambia."...

Economic integration for peace

Nigeria. How can regional economic organizations like ECOWAS and IGAD further strengthen their capacity to promote peace in Africa? This is the theme of a two-day policy dialogue in Abuja, Nigeria.

Ambassador wants to expand trade relations

“It was great to visit NAI. My meeting with the institute’s Angolan researcher, Cristina Udelsmann Rodrigues, was most fruitful. She provided me with many insights into the situation in Angola.” So says Lennart Killander Larsson, newly appointed...

Growing pressure on water resources

The Nile. Eleven countries and 250 million people share the Nile’s water. Disputes around the use of it is common. A new book from the Nordic Africa Institute deals with land- and water use in the Nile basin and analyzes political implications of large-scale...

Misconceptions about migration

Burkina Faso. In general, the view of migrants is oversimplified. People move either because they are forced to, and are then categorized as refugees, or voluntarily, which make them economic migrants. NAI researcher Jesper Bjarnesen is guest editor of the journal...

Barney Pityana in Mail & Guardian

“2016 saw the worst, most base, downright stupid, if not racist, messages ever to come out of the governing party.” NAI former guest researcher Barney Pityana comments ANC's failure in South Africa’s local elections. Read the full article in Mail...

Increased violence and suspected fraud

Elections in Zambia. There are strong indications that the elections in Zambia last week was set up to benefit the ruling President Edgar Lungu of the Patriotic Front. This says Patience Mususa, researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute, in an interview in the magazine...

Corporate and cooperative interests equally important

Fair trade in Africa. In African countries, the fair trade movement is not only a political statement against neoliberal policies. Gaining access to new markets is also an important objective. Consequently, private companies and local elites are involved as much as...

Necessary to adjust rates in Ghana

The current high wholesale and retail interest rates in Ghana are a major concern to firms and consumers as well as policymakers. It is urgent for policymakers to take the necessary steps in lowering interest rates, according to NAI researcher George...

Crucial test for ANC

South Africa. Wednesday’s municipal elections in South Africa resemble a vote of confidence for President Jacob Zuma and his party the African National Congress. Barney Pityana, former guest researcher at NAI, explains why.

What characterizes the African middle class?

In many African countries, there are the typical middle class markers - cafés, gyms, neat terrace houses and so on. The discussion on Africa's economic upswing started in 2011 and then argued that the middle class would be the key to the democratic...

Prevention or militarization?

African Union. Prevention and militarization are not mutually exclusive ways to counter conflicts in Africa. Rather, they should be understood as mirror images, writes NAI’s security researcher Linnéa Gelot.

Double standards and inconsistencies shape refugee policies

Dadaab. The Kenyan government threatens to close the largest refugee camp in the world. NAI-researcher Sirkku Hellsten hopes this will trigger a serious discussion among EU and UN policy makers about general responsibilities on refugee issues. So far, this...

One manual cannot develop Africa

Swedish development cooperation should recognize the many differences between African countries. No single manual can serve them all. Moreover, Sweden should support more already existing African development initiatives. These are some of the Nordic...

A constant state of precariousness

Migration. Having the correct documents or not – that is what African migrants in Greece are most concerned about.  Their future depends on it. Without the paper work in order, they can never get a formal job and a steady income, or go back and forth between...

Angola’s struggle against oil dependency

Urban research. Although economic diversification has been a buzzword for years, Angola is still heavily dependent on oil revenues. The sharp downturn in oil prices has put the country in a difficult situation. 

Assumptions and desires on gender in Africa

NAD 2016. NAI-researcher Maria Eriksson Baaz is one of the keynote speakers at the Nordic Africa Days in September, a two-day conference that this year will focus on gender and change in Africa. In her talk, Eriksson Baaz will offer critical reflections on how...

What can Sweden do for Africa and Africa for Sweden in the UN?

Sweden’s bid for the Security Council. The Swedish government should involve the African diaspora 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.

Creative ways of resistance among youth

Tunisia. The revolution did not turn out as the youth had hoped. By creative means, they protest against and resist the new leaders. NAI guest researcher Sofia Laine looks at political engagement among the youth of the country.

Research indicates how to increase use of cooking-gas

Ghana. Fresh research suggests that cooking-gas subsidies should target the urban poor and rural households. NAI researcher George Adu has looked at incentives to change household behaviour in the use of cooking fuel.

Sexual rights – constitution versus tradition

Keynote at Nordic Africa Days. South Africa has a rather progressive constitution that protects sexual orientation. “However, the rights depend too much on who you are, how much money you have and where you live”, Professor Kopano Ratele says.

The committee that re-shaped Finland’s Africa policy

Southern Africa. Börje Mattsson walked through the bush with Angola’s freedom fighters and later contributed to a key change in Finnish official policy towards Southern Africa’s liberation movements. Now writing his memoir, he uses the NAI library to get his facts...

Buhari’s one year of pains and achievements

Nigeria. After one year in office, president Buhari has attained some of his election promises. However, many citizens have yet not seen any real improvement of their living conditions. Head of research at NAI, Victor Adetula, analyses results and future...

Polarized views on political consensus model

Seminar on Rwanda. On one side, you have the much praised development achievements. On the other, you have serious questions regarding the political performance and governance by consensus model. This polarized view of Rwanda under president Kagame became clear at a...

Peace talks should be more inclusive

Burundi. “There are important actors who should be participating in the dialogue, but they can't come in to the country for fear of their lives”, says NAI-researcher Muvumba Sellström in Al Jazeera interview.

Strong population growth in Africa

Currently twenty-one countries are classfied as "high fertility" by the United Nations, this means that women give birth to five or more children. Ninteen of these countries are on the African continent. There are challenges but also great potential...

African literature in local radio

Three favourite books. Head of NAI library Åsa Lund Moberg participated in the local radio program ’Förmiddag i P4 Uppland’ on Thursday. She was asked to recommend literature from Africa. “I chose three books, one is set in Somalia (or current Somaliland) and two set in...

Discussion on the AU-UN strategic partnership

Today, on Africa Day, the  International Peace Institute in New York  holds a policy forum discussion on the AU-UN strategic partnership, cohosted by the Nordic Africa Institute. The event will be broadcasted on live stream web-tv.

From top-down to flexible cooperation

Policy advice on development support. Sweden and other donor countries should focus more on flexible constellations and networks in their regional support to Africa.

No end in sight to Guelleh era

Djibouti. Ismail Omar Guelleh, who has served 17 years as president of Djibouti, was re-elected on 8 April with 87 per cent of the vote. On Sunday, he was sworn in for a fourth term in office.

“Witchcraft works like doping in sports”

Witchcraft and witch killings in Tanzania Witchcraft is much more efficient than many religions because it actually resolves problems in this life and not only in the afterlife. That is why witchcraft can function hand in hand with other religions. “It works like doping in sports. Although...

Middle class – driver of change?

“How do we define the middle class? In Africa, it is not obvious who belongs or not. Moreover, even when we manage to define – is it certain they are the drivers of socio-economic change in Africa? “ NAI’s Senior Advisor Henning Melber is among the...

"We should fight impunity, not whistle-blowers"

Corruption, although it is a global phenomenon, has particular implications for development in African countries. Each year, billions of dollars disappear from the continent and end up in tax havens. “It takes global efforts to fight against...

Peace Building and Regional Economic Communities

Submit abstracts. A two-day policy dialogue in Abuja, Nigeria in September will focus on lessons learnt from the experiences of IGAD and ECOWAS. Policy experts on these matters are welcome to submit abstracts until May 15.

Democratisation and political governance

Seminar in the Swedish Riksdag on May 23 ‘Democratization and governance under President Kagame’. What does the future hold for Rwanda in terms of inclusive governance and democratization? What does the constitutional amendment imply for Rwanda's...

Political experiments in urban jungles

Segregration. Dystopic reputation in cities lika Lagos and Detroit  has opened the backdoor to large-scale experiments that favour the already privileged.

Nordic Africa Days 2016 – Call for Papers

Don’t miss the opportunity to submit papers, the deadline is May 3. The Nordic Africa Days 2016 has a thematic focus on gender relations in contemporary Africa. Paper proposals linked to the accepted panels are primarily invited.  

Notes from a Guest Researcher

“I got to know many of the researchers at NAI, I participated in the in-house seminars, and I noted that the debates were free and informed. I was also involved in various activities; presentations to the International Affairs Association, seminar at...

Clinging on to power

They are criticized of violence, fraud and bending the law. But still they keep getting re-elected.

Expect the unexpected

In a series of portraits called ‘Meet the NAI family’ you get to know the NAI staff a little bit better. The portraits have previously been published on Facebook but are now also available here at our website. And more are on their way!

Aid and authoritarian regimes in Africa

Almost half of Africa’s top aid recipients are ruled by authoritarian regimes. Even if democracy and human rights are on international donor’s agenda, in practice, their development policies help maintain political status quo. Tobias Hagmann and Filip...

Pamphlets make a difference in research

The institute’s library holds a large collection of pamphlets, which many researchers and documentary film-makers have found invaluable. A large part of the collection dates back to the liberation struggles in Africa, and many of the documents survive...

The Politics of Female Circumcision

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 a new...

Improved democracy in West Africa

“In many West African countries democracy is gaining steam. Elections are free and fair, and opposition candidates get in power without the use of violence”, NAI head of research Victor Adetula says. With time, he argues, this tendency will spread...

Ghana’s economy in poor state

Falling commodity prices alone cannot explain the poor growth rate of Ghana’s economy, according to NAI researcher George Adu. Another reason is that policymakers fail to stimulate the economy.

Increasing violence in "peaceful" Mozambique

It isn’t war, but there is no peace either. Former enemies in Mozambique’s long and bloody civil war are once again involved in armed conflict. Thousands of people, fearing retaliation by government troops against rebels, have fled to Malawi.

Eritrea’s refugee crisis

Five thousand refugees leave Eritrea each month, making it one of the world’s fastest-emptying countries. In a new policy note, researcher Redie Bereketeab analyses the role and responsibility of the international community in the Eritrean migration...

A farce leading to less democracy

The re-run of elections on Zanzibar can be viewed as an attempt to legitimate the ruling party’s power by using “democratic processes” to maintain an undemocratic situation, write Sirkku Hellsten and Masoud Nassor. They argue that semi-autonomous...

Peace in the riflescope

Researcher Linnéa Gelot has been following African peacekeeping forces on their march towards a strategic role, a march that has been anything but straightforward.

Growing cities, lack of water

In many of Africa's largest cities over three quarters of the population live in informal settlements, many of them with limited access to clean water.

“Disaster could have been avoided”

Ethiopia’s current hunger crisis, caused by extreme drought, could have been largely avoided if the world community had reacted earlier, says NAI researcher Terje Oestigaard.

Understanding gender and social change in Africa

Nordic Africa Days 2016 is a conference entirely focused on gender and social change in Africa. Don’t miss it! All the panel themes have been finalised. We are now calling on scholars to submit papers.

Too loyal voters – a threat to democracy

How do leaders lacking in a sense of morality and ethics get elected? NAI guest researcher Barney Pityana examines the concept of ethical leadership, and the lack of it in his home country, South Africa.

Foreign Affairs Committee briefed on Africa

The Committee on Foreign Affairs on Monday was briefed by NAI researchers on some of the burning issues in Africa today. Five NAI researchers spoke about African political-economic trends, democracy-conflict on the Horn of Africa, sustainable cities...

Men plow and women cook

Ethiopian researchers give their view on the terms for smallholder farmers during a workshop in Bahir Dar 2015.

“Power doesn’t come with numbers”

“In many African countries, representation of women in parliaments and governments has made a big jump from where we were in the 1990’s”, NAI guest researcher Barney Pityana says. However, NAI researcher Sirkku Hellsten is sceptic to what we can draw...

Blessed hands and silenced voices

After the Tahrir Square protest in 2011, there has been considerable research into Egyptian protest songs. Interest in nationalistic watani music is however surprisingly meagre, according to Joel Abdelmoez, scholarship holder at the Nordic Africa...

The house tells the migrant’s story

For many people, it is a boat that symbolises migration ‒ an overcrowded boat on the stormy Mediterranean bringing people to Europe. For migrants themselves, however, the house is a much more fitting symbol ‒ the house they left behind, or the house...

Crucial to link farmers to market

Ethiopia is facing a drought which, while not as horrific as the 1984 famine, is serious enough to leave millions in need of food aid. A key to achieving long-term food security in Ethiopia is making the country’s smallholder farmers more...

Radicalisation and terrorist recruitment in Kenya

Al-Shabaab and ISIS are increasingly recruiting Kenya’s youth to terrorism. Young slum dwellers in cities without opportunities of finding a job or get an education are easy prey. According to NAI researcher Sirkku Hellsten, government policies of...

Tougher times ahead for Tanzania's Magufuli

Tanzania’s popular president John Pombe Magufuli is facing growing problems as the rerun of the elections in semi-autonomous Zanzibar is approaching, NAI researcher Sirkku Hellsten says.

Not only poor people live in the outskirts of Luanda

Peripheries of Luanda are not only for poor people. Fancy houses and condominiums for wealthier families are also constructed in peripheral areas. In an Angolan setting, this is a new suburban type of urban organization. Watch clip with NAI researcher...

Museveni's strong hold on Uganda

On Thursday 18 February Uganda will hold presidential elections. The country’s economy is failing, unemployment is high and corruption is widespread within the state apparatus. Yet, hardly any observer would expect President Yoweri Museveni, who has...

Mapping the invisible experiences of displacement

From an administrative point of view migrants can be categorized as “refugees” or “internally displaced persons”. But beyond the purview of state bureaucracies and humanitarian agencies, there are of course also the formally invisible migrants, people...

Smallholder irrigation in Ethiopia

”This is the right place to do this kind of research”, Atakilte Beyene says on field work in the northwest region of Ethiopia at the Koga Irrigation Scheme. It’s the first large scale irrigation system managed by smallholder farmers in the country.

After the oil rush

Angola’s oil industry generated US$ 468 billion during the 13-year boom that ended in 2014. Now, as the prosperity vanishes, Angolans are left with one question: where did all the money go?

Changes don’t come easy

The Uganda elections on 18 February are not likely to bring change. Anything other than the continued incumbency of Yoweri Museveni, president for the last 30 years, will come as a major surprise to most observers.

One man’s war on corruption

It seems as if the campaign promises during last year’s election were not just cheap talk. President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria has during his first year in office launched serious initiatives to fight corruption. Although there have to date been few...

“Democracy not the target”

Last Friday’s terror attacks in Burkina Faso, that killed 30 people, came at a time when the country is in a critical stage of a frail democratization process.

Two terms in office is enough

People have demonstrated in both Burkina Faso and Burundi against presidents who are trying to hold on to power. The majority of voters think that two terms in office is enough. NAI researcher Jesper Bjarnesen believes that Burkina Faso will develop...

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