News archive

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


Ten trends during 2018

Africa 2018. The political parties based on former freedom movements are losing ground, commodity prices still decide the economy, and agriculture faces climate challenges. NAI's director, Iina Soiri, looks into African trends for the year 2018.

Praise for Africa Now series

Book reviews. Our popular Africa Now book series, created together with Zed Books, continued to receive a lot of praise in 2017. The Rise of Africa’s Middle Class (Ed Henning Melber) was described as “polemic, bold, engaging and an excellent read” in the November...

Support to cross-border force can provide stability

Sahel and North Africa. Increased support to the G5 anti-terrorism force can stabilize the region, but the key to curbing slave trade in Libya lies in reforming the country's security sector, according to NAI researcher Mikael Eriksson.

Water rituals still part of Tanzanian politics

Natural resources. The Majimaji war (1905–07) against German colonial rule began with water rituals. Maji medicine was supposed to turn bullets into water. NAI guest researcher Nancy Rushohora is studying the water rituals, which people still practise in southern...

Capitalism on steroids in Africa’s growing cities

Nigeria. Many people in African cities are finding their own solutions in every day life. What are the political implications of this?  What about the taxes that people contribute to, how is that revenue spent? These questions are discussed at a current...

'Increased aid does not reduce migration'

Migration. The European Union (EU) wants to increase aid to African countries, but on condition that they take action to prevent migration to Europe. This approach is cynical and does not reduce migration, according to NAI researcher Lisa Åkesson who...

Sample covers of African street literature.

African street literature enters the library

Street literature. New forms of literature are emerging in African megacities, outside the established publishing industry. In a new project, the NAI library aims to make such material accessible.

Tension and polarisation after election result upheld

Kenya. Despite opposition complaints, the Supreme Court upheld the result of the presidential election, which was held on 26 October, after the August had been nullified. Incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta won a landslide victory, thanks mainly to a boycott...

Engstrand-Neacsu new Head of Communications

Staff. Victoria Engstrand-Neacsu has been appointed as new head of communications at NAI. She will take up the position in January 2018. ”I am eagerly looking forward to begin working with the skilled and committed team at the Nordic Africa Institute”...

Increasing militarization in Africa

Security. Why are more and more resources spent to militarize Africa? Twenty conflict and security researchers will discuss this question in a two-day workshop at NAI.

The young generation will do a better job

Corruption. Some leaders in Africa do anything to keep the power, according to NAI guest professor Rachid Tlemçani. Despite this, he is optimistic about Africa´s future.

Life in waiting: young people in post-revolution Tunisia

Arab spring. The revolution in 2011 swept away repression, but the young men hanging around the cafés are still waiting for their daily lives to change. NAI guest researcher Karim Zakhour is investigating their strategies for building a future in the remote parts...

Corruption in African elites blocks economic growth

Governance. The colonial past is not the greatest obstacle to development in Africa, according to NAI guest professor Rachid Tlemçani, but rather political corruption in African elites. He is hopeful about young Africans making a stand against authoritarian...

Film industry to change attitudes towards farming

Nigeria. The country does not produce enough food for its population, yet few people want to work in agriculture. NAI guest researcher Idris Badiru investigates how movies and television could change people's perception of farming.

Bloggers and online commenters renew media criticism

Press ethics. Before elections in Kenya in August, male dominance of expert panels on television was challenged with the hashtag #SayNoToManels. NAI guest researcher David Cheruiyot is exploring new ways to discuss and regulate journalism in Kenya and South Africa...

Still long way to go to incorporate gender aspects in development aid

Gender and natural resources. To stop violent conflicts over natural resources, women need to have more influence in the resource management and decision-making. This recipe has proved successful in many parts of the world, but in many African countries, there are still lots of...

“Bubbles of security” when companies do police work

New book. Privatisation of security is becoming more common in Africa and sometimes private security companies also carry out the duties of police. The presence of these companies, however, is explained by foreign interests in mineral extraction. A new book in...

Politicians with weapons in the closet

Africa Now-series. Can we really trust former military leaders who become politicians? It is a common feature of many war-torn African countries and the subject of the book Warlord Democrats.

Jesper Bjarnesen recommends "On the Postcolony"

Series: Great Books on Africa. “It is a dense and somewhat difficult book to read, but worth the effort. I keep discovering new nuances in it” – Jesper Bjarnesen on ‘On the Postcolony by Achille Mbembe’.

Buying friends and votes

Elections in Liberia. An outgoing president who turned her back on the vice-president’s candidacy and a detained former president who interferes in politics through his ex-wife – these are some of the ingredients in the Liberian elections scheduled for 10 October.

How to work together for peace

Peacebuilding. At a recent policy-dialogue on Africa's regional efforts for peace, held in Rabat, many memorable and thought-provoking ideas came from youth representatives, NAI director Iina Soiri notes.

Bridging the digital divides in Africa

ICT development. Information and communication technology is developing rapidly in Africa. However, there are worrying trends, such as a growing digital divide between men and women, and between urban and rural areas. NAI guest researcher Samia Satti Mohamed Nour...

Launch of country pages

NAI has compiled the institutes’ resources on each African country in one place. The library’s resources, news articles and researchers who have expertise on a specific country are found in the country pages.

Lingering anxiety over presidency

Nigeria. President Muhammadu Buhari is back in office after sick leave – but will he be fit to run in the 2019 election? Uncertainty over the president’s health is particularly sensitive, as it impinges on an informal agreement that the presidency should...

The industrialisation that never happened

Economic development. Without domestic refining industries, African countries are bound to serve and supply other countries’ industries with raw material. For most leaders on the continent, industrialisation has been a top priority since the early 1960s. However, despite...

Patience Mususa recommends the book "Drinking from the Cosmic Gourd"

Series: Great books on Africa. Patience Mususa highlights a book that challenges the idea of all-knowing experts. “We don’t know everything. I think that is an important approach for all scholars”. Drinking from the Cosmic Gourd, How Amos Tutuola Can Change Our Minds by Francis B...

Wolf researcher joining NAI

Wildlife management. Through her work on interaction between wolves and humans in south-west Finland, Sanna Ojalammi learned how emotionally charged wildlife studies can be. As new researcher at NAI she returns to studying wildlife in Africa.

Trust in election process at a low

Kenya. NAI researcher Anders Sjögren doubts that a re-run of the presidential election can take place within 60 days, in accordance with the constitution. The trust in the election process is at a low, he says.

UNESCO project documenting liberation struggle

Digitization. It started with a conversation at a conference and ended up as a UNESCO project at the Nordic Africa Institute. In collaboration with UNESCO and the National Archives of Tanzania unique documents are digitized at the institute.

After 38 years, Angola will get a new president

Angola's presidential elections. The end of balloting on Wednesday, at 6 p.m. in most parts of the country, marked the end of nearly four decades with José Eduardo dos Santos in power. Preliminary election results are expected during Friday.

Terror attack in Burkina Faso's capital

Terrorism. Sunday’s terror act against a restaurant in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou, which claimed 20 human lives, bears resemblance with an attack by terror group Aqim in 2016, according to NAI researcher Cristiano Lanzano.

”Major risk for turmoil”

Kenya. Researchers fear violence if today's presidential race between Kenyatta and Odinga turns out to be as tight as the polls foreshadow.

Elections with a given winner

Rwanda. On 4 August Rwanda holds political elections. It is already clear that President Paul Kagame, who has been in power since 2000, will be re-elected for another seven years.

Flawless elections prevent violence

Kenya. Ten years ago, in the aftermath of the presidential election in Kenya immense violence took more than 1,000 lives. The 2013 elections were not violent, but accusations of vote-rigging meant the results were contested. This year’s elections, scheduled...

In this clip guest researcher Cush Ngonzo Luwesi presents NAI research on water issues.

Ethnic alliances shape politics

Kenya elections. As the polls are quite even at the moment, the results of the elections are likely to be very close – if they are free and fair. In that event the results are likely to be contested and post-election violence is not out of the picture, Sirkku Hellsten...

Development plan for Africa is patronizing

International cooperation. Promoting investments and creating jobs are key features in the Marshall Plan with Africa. However, nothing in the document explains exactly how. Moreover, Henning Melber dismisses the plan as condescending to Africa and Africans.

Challenges facing the Gambia

Blog post. Gambians are now free to exercise their political rights without fear of abduction. However, Amat Jeng notes, while the Gambia is democratizing there are security challenges. The legacy of the former President is looming large in the country.

Sacrifice to the Nile River

Uganda. Subsistence farmers on the African countryside depend on the erratic rains for their harvest and well-being. What is the role of traditional religion, rainmaking and sacrifice when the rain fails?

Engaging the private sector in science and innovation

New report. Technological progress and innovations do not occur spontaneously, they result from long-term investment. In Africa, innovations are much needed, but possibilities of achieving them are low, according to NAI guest researcher Samia Nour, co-author of...

Morocco goes West African

Regional cooperation. First regaining membership in the AU and now joining ECOWAS, Morocco shows a clear shift in policy and approach to Africa.

Brain drain of North African scholars

Migration. Lack of available positions and bad working conditions push academics abroad. According to NAI guest researcher Samia Nour, governments in the region do not invest sufficiently in higher education.

Germany treading carefully regarding colonial crimes

Colonialism. Negotiations between Germany and Namibia about atrocities in South West Africa during 1904-1908 is followed closely by European governments. The case could open up a Pandora’s box for other former colonial powers, Henning Melber, author of "Völkermord...

Her mission: to bring African books to a global audience

Publishing in Africa. British publisher Mary Jay has devoted her professional life to promoting the publishing industry in Africa. She is a director of African Books Collective, a non-profit, worldwide marketing and distribution outlet for more than 180 African publishers...

Warlords go into politics

New book. It gets more and more common that former military leaders from civil wars attempt to transform themselves into democrats and run for office. However, it is not always that simple and language of war may stain electoral campaigning.

Germany's past in the present

Colonialism. Germany has admitted responsibility for genocide among Nama and Ovaherero in its colony South West Africa during 1904-1908. But why is there unwillingness to apologize and to pay reparations? An open seminar on Tuesday discusses the unresolved...

Expanding city creates land conflicts

Ethiopia. Addis Ababa is growing fast. As the capital expands, farmers have to leave their land. A seminar initiated by Swedish parliamentarians analyzed current policies and practices on land issues and the Addis Ababa master plan, as well as the recent public...

Controlling the Nile – a struggle with colonial roots

Egypt. Dams and other water projects in Egypt during the 19th century are what interests Jakub Mazanec. He usually studies history at the Charles University in Prague, but has come to the Nordic African Institute to spend time among the NAI library...

A deep quest for gold

Mining. Artisanal goldmining is a dirty and heavy job, and often dangerous too. Yet rewarding for those who find a gold vein down in the pit. NAI researcher Cristiano Lanzano explains small-scale mining in Burkina Faso and Guinea.

Evolution from an African perspective

Evolution. We are all Africans, according to author Lasse Berg who discussed evolutionary science from an African perspective with NAI Director Iina Soiri in the NAI Library on Tuesday.

A distress call about water access

Water resources. Gaps in sub-Saharan Africa’s water infrastructure could be filled by adopting financial models inspired by the transport sector, says NAI guest researcher Dr Cush Ngonzo Luwesi.

Portuguese migration continues to Angola

Reversed migration. It is not very common for Europeans to move to African countries. However, in the wake of the economic crisis of 2008 many Portuguese have sought a better future in former Portuguese colony Angola.

Vodun provides identity and self-esteem

Benin. For a long time, the vodun religion was banned in Benin and its followers persecuted. Now it is allowed again, but some fear vodun will simply become a tourist attraction. NAI scholarship-holder Liisa Nokso-Koivisto looks at the cultural heritage of...

Trafficking or just child-raising?

Guinea-Bissau. A current controversy involves talibés from Guinea-Bissau begging in Senegalese cities and giving part of their money to Koranic teachers. International organisations have called it trafficking and a clear abuse of child rights conventions.

Diplomats and researchers discussed global goals

Development. The first session of a two-day symposium on the Sustainable Development Goals revolved around the purpose and expectations of the goals. Raymondo Wilson from the Mozambican embassy raised the question of how a country’s economic performance can be...

Schoolteachers under attack

Burkina Faso. Islamist terrorists have been targeting schools and forcing teachers to give lessons on the Koran and teach in Arabic. People are terrified, according to former NAI guest researcher Lassane Yameogo, but at the same time they are determined not to let...

Windows in the Mosque of Hassan II in Casablanca. Photo by Christopher Rose, Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0.

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

North Africa. In a new policy note, researcher Mikael Eriksson recommends a shift in policies towards a fresh narrative for North Africa. "When will we see a regional UN headquarter for migration in Rabat, or an international center of excellence for ocean studies...

Cartoons and comics evoke joy and sadness

Library exhibition. NAI's library has much more to offer than just research and statistics. Right now, an exhibition of comics and cartoons from or about Africa is on display. Many of the volumes are chronicles of actual events and may in fact be of relevance for...

Former NAI guest to lead Codesria

Research community. Godwin Murunga, who was guest researcher at NAI in 2009, has been appointed new executive secretary of the social science research-council Codesria, based in Dakar, Senegal.

Looking into the invisibility of refugees

Migration. NAI researcher Jesper Bjarnesen aims to deepen our understanding of forced migration. For eight years he has studied the experiences of Burkinabe cititizens who were forced to leave Côte d'Ivoire after an armed conflict broke out.

Money first, then ideology

Conflicts. Mexican exchange student Elda Berdeja focuses on terrorist movements in Africa. As well as her ordinary studies at Uppsala University, Berdeja is doing an internship at the Nordic Africa Institute.

Women militants often go unnoticed

Terrorism. Women fighters may play a central role when al-Shabaab recruits young Kenyans to join the militant Islamist group in Somalia, according to NAI guest researcher Linnet Hamasi.

Sex education hampered by taboos

South Africa. Although South Africa has the world’s highest rate of people living with HIV, general knowledge about it is low and young people do not know how to protect themselves. Religious and cultural taboos hamper prevention work according to NAI guest...

Finnish 15-year-olds to get We Should All Be Feminists

International Women's Day. Every 9th-grader in Finland will be given a copy of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s feminist call We Should All Be Feminists. “It is a wonderful booklet that every young person should read,” says NAI Director Iina Soiri.

New farming techniques due to climate change

Agriculture. NAI researcher Atakilte Beyene explains his work on how to build agricultural systems that are more resilient to climate change, with case studies in Ethiopia and Tanzania.

Coping with climate change

Agriculture. How to make farmers more resilient to the effects of climate change, is what occupies NAI researcher Atakilte Beyene. FILM: MATTIAS SKÖLD

Violent attacks target Nigerians

South Africa. Mobs in Pretoria have looted and set on fire houses belonging to immigrants, particularly Nigerians, in a new wave of xenophobic attacks.

Changing the past to make a better tomorrow

Futures studies. By creating alternative scenarios from and for the past, research may find ways to articulate future possibilities. NAI guest researcher Martins Kwazema combines the disciplines of history and futures studies in his work.

Exchanging village life for prostitution in town

Tanzania. Girls and young women from the rural Nyiramba region often move to the nearest city Mwanza. Many end up as sex workers in bars. NAI guest researcher Ludovick Myumbo explores how the girls perceive their own situation and what choices they have made.

The crisis around Lake Chad

Analysis. The world's most extensive humanitarian crises is currently playing out in northeastern Nigeria and around Lake Chad. About three million people have been displaced, seven million are dependent on food aid, half a million children are malnourished and...

Small steps towards school for all

Education. In Zanzibar teachers use problem-based action-research to make schools more accessible for all children, including those with disabilities or learning difficulties. Traditionally, children who were deemed “uneducable” were simply left at home, NAI...

More consumers won’t rescue democracy

New book. Many view the rapidly growing middle class in Africa as the solution to the continent’s political and economic problems. NAI researcher Sirkku Hellsten questions the very concept of the middle class and instead points to an absence of political...

Resolution of the Gambian crisis deserves more recognition

Gambia. The political crisis in the Gambia was resolved with the help of neighbouring countries under the auspices of West African sub-regional body Ecowas in collaboration with the African Union. In the end, this turned out to be a case of ‘African solutions...

Failed system won’t change overnight

Nigeria. Protests against President Muhammadu Buhari’s government have taken place in some Nigerian cities. Victor Adetula, head of research at NAI, views these developments as a sign of a rising citizens’ consciousness. However, he cautions against the...

Warlords turn politicians

Peace-building. “Research shows that former warlords need to be included when building peace. However, in some cases they keep playing of fear when running for office”, NAI peace and conflict researcher Anders Themnér says.

Why people are moving to the city

Migration. Why are people moving from the country to the city in Angola and Mozambique? NAI senior researcher Cristina Udelsmann Rodrigues talks about her work on urban-rural migration. Film: Mattias Sköld

Morocco reappearing in AU

African Union. On Tuesday this week the AU, during the summit in Addis Ababa, decided to admit Morocco’s request to regain its membership. Coinciding with the AU summit was a high-level meeting at the Nordic Africa Institute involving the ambassadors of North...

High level seminar at NAI

African unity. To face challenges such as terrorism, climate change and migration, heads of state in the African Union (AU) have frequently emphasised that Africa’s countries must act as one. But just how unified is Africa today? Ambassadors to Sweden from the five...

Gold and cyanide

Burkina Faso. The use of cyanide for gold extraction has changed the entire production chain of artisanal mining in Burkina Faso. And more importantly, it has rocked the power structure.

Neglected reconciliation takes its toll

Ivory Coast. Former rebel soldiers are dissatisfied with how they have been integrated into the regular army since the end of the civil war. In January, a group of armed soldiers took to the streets demanding improvements. According to NAI researcher Jesper...

Neoliberal visions vs urban realities

Tanzania. A new study explores the visions behind a large-scale urban redevelopment plan for Dar es Salaam, a plan that involved the resettlement of a large number of residents. Sociologist Jennifer Norström argues that the realities and desires of the...

North Africa and the Sub-Sahara

Seminar. To face challenges such as terrorism, climate change and migration, heads of state in the African Union (AU) have frequently emphasised that Africa’s countries must act as one. But just how unified is Africa today?

Nationalism and violence in Egyptian football culture

Egypt. The Arab Spring somewhat cooled the football fever in Africa’s most successful footballing nation of all time. For many, the sport became synonymous with Mubarak's nationalistic propaganda machine. Today interest is again on the rise.

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