The Nordic Africa Podcast

Join us on the Nordic Africa podcast as we talk to political scientists, anthropologists and economists about current issues and trends in Africa. We analyse the choices of African leaders, we challenge dominant narratives about the continent, and occasionally, we look into the crystal ball to see where Africa is headed… Hosts Heba Habib and Henrik Alfredsson and guests guide us toward a deepened understanding of Africa’s role on the global scene.

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Tuesday Jun 18, 2024

The African Union (AU) recognized the African diaspora as Africa's "sixth region" in 2003. The diaspora has historically been vital in liberation struggles and remains influential in social and political development, enhanced by technology and globalization. Many African governments appreciate financial contributions from the diaspora, such as remittances averaging 2.6% of Africa's GDP, often exceeding foreign investment and aid. Political contributions, however, are more contentious, with governments responding in diverse ways, from restriction to collaboration. With a third of Africans voting in this super election year, we explore the diaspora's impact on democratic processes.
Our guests for this episode are: 
Henning Melber, NAI Associate and Extraordinary Professor at the University of Pretoria and the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein
Babatunde Fagbayibo, Professor of International Law at the University of Pretoria
Guðrún Sif Friðriksdóttir, NAI Senior Researcher 

Wednesday Apr 10, 2024

African nations are striving to maximize the value of their mineral resources within the global supply chain. However, they face hurdles such as infrastructure gaps, technological limitations, and complex regulatory frameworks. Overcoming these challenges requires concerted efforts to improve infrastructure, foster technology transfer, and streamline regulations, will the continent manage to overcome them? 
Our panel of experts for this episode are: 
Grasian Mkodzongi Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for African Studies at University of Cape Town.
Patricia Inonge Mweene, jewellery designer and entrepreneur in the Zambian gemstone industry
Patience Mususa, senior researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute

Wednesday Mar 13, 2024

Join us in our latest podcast episode as we delve into the recent decision by Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger (now known as the Alliance of Sahelian States) to exit the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). This move, announced on January 27, 2024, highlights deepening divisions within the region and raises concerns about escalating tensions in the Sahel. We examine the roots of this rift and its implications for regional stability, including the impact on the populations of these countries, the role of foreign powers and the challenges facing ECOWAS in responding effectively. Is this withdrawal an “Ecowexit” or simply a need for a change of tactics?
Our panel of experts for this episode:
Jesper Bjarnesen, senior researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute
Babatunde Fagbayibo, Professor of International Law at the University of Pretoria and visiting scholar at NAI

Friday Jan 26, 2024

The Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, was kicked off earlier this month and will go on until 11 February when the final will be played in Abidjan, the capital of the host country Cote d’Ivoire. With football fever rising on the continent, the theme for this year’s first episode of the Nordic Africa podcast naturally centers around football. Join us as we explore the political and economic dimensions of the beautiful game.
This episode features
Jesper Bjarnesen, senior researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala, Sweden.
Sebastian van Balen, associate senior lecturer at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University in Sweden
Carl Rommel, researcher at Uppsala University, Sweden, and author of the book Egypt’s Football Revolution: Emotion, Masculinity, and Uneasy Politics.
Oscar Rothstein, journalist at the independent media centre Danwatch in Denmark, and author of the book Det Lysende Hjerte on the passion and power of African football.
Buster Kirchner, freelance journalist who is right now in Côte d’Ivoire covering the Africa Cup of Nations.

Wednesday Oct 11, 2023

West Africa and the Sahel are one of the regions where people are most affected by climate change in the world. With global warming, access to land, water, and pastures is becoming more difficult. It creates competition. It is one of the drivers of violent clashes between farmers and herders and recent research has also shown how diminishing livelihood opportunities, caused by shrinking lakes, rising sea levels and other effects of climate change, can spill over to an increase in violent extremism and terrorism. What does the situation look like at present and how can it be countered? 
In this episode discussing with us  the links between climate change and security challenges are:
Angela Muvumba Sellström, senior researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute
Ngozi Amu, Head of Research and Analysis at the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) 

Monday Aug 21, 2023

In recent years, Russia has emerged as a prominent external actor on the continent, forging deeper ties in North Africa, extending its reach in the Central African Republic and the Sahel through the infamous Wagner group, and reigniting Cold War connections in southern Africa. However, the shadow of Russia's invasion of Ukraine looms over Putin's attempts to strengthen diplomatic relationships with African leaders, leading to diverse responses from African states. There are two meetings to watch; last month’s Russia-Africa summit, and the upcoming BRICs Summit! Join us as we delve into the potential impact of these summits not only on Africa but also in an increasingly multipolar world.
Our panel of experts in this episode includes:
Angela Muvumba Sellström, Senior researcher at NAI
Patience Mususa, Senior researcher at NAI
Henning Melber, NAI associate

Thursday Jul 06, 2023

Signed in 2018, officially launched in 2021, and now in full swing, the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, the AfCFTA, aims to create a single market in Africa by erasing trade and labour mobility barriers. By 2030, the African free trade zone is estimated to host 1.7 billion people and oversee consumer and business spending at a value of almost 7 trillion US dollars. While there is much to be gained from the agreement, there are some challenges ahead. Can Africa surmount them and harness its collective power to boost economic growth?
Our panel of experts include:
Assem Abu Hatab, senior researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute.
Jörgen Levin, senior researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute
Stephen Karingi, Director of the Regional Integration and Trade Division at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). 

Friday Jun 09, 2023

Over the past two decades, migration within and out of Africa has witnessed a notable rise. A majority of African born migrants relocate within the continent itself. Statistics show that approximately 11 million African-born migrants reside in Europe, nearly 5 million in the Middle East, and over 3 million in North America.
While Europe invests significantly in border control and surveillance, it also experiences an upswing in anti-immigrant sentiments. Nonetheless, it's crucial to delve beyond the noise. Join us as we debate brain drain versus brain gain, explore the drivers behind migration and debunk un-factual perceptions.
Our panel of experts for this episode:
Jesper Bjarnesen, senior researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute
Papa Sow, senior researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute
Joyce De-Graft Acquah, research fellow at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana and guest researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute.

Thursday Apr 06, 2023

Recently, French president Emmanuel Macron came back from a tour to Africa where he visited Gabon, Angola and the two Congos. Just ahead of his visit, he presented France’s new strategy for Africa, a strategy that should be seen against a backdrop where anti-French sentiment has been running high in West Africa and where France has withdrawn a lot of its military presence. In this episode of the Nordic Africa Podcast, we discuss trade, migration, neo-colonialism, cultural heritage and other aspects of Africa-France relations together with:
Cristiano Lanzano, senior researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute.
Papa Sow, senior researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute
Marie Deridder, researcher at the Forum for Africa Studies at Uppsala University

Tuesday Mar 07, 2023

There have been some gains in the political realm for women politicians in Africa as shown in the Kenya elections last fall and in the 2020 Ghana elections, where the first-ever women running mates were appointed as one of the two main presidential candidates. Although neither woman won, their appointments are considered a step forward. But many hurdles remain. In this podcast we discuss these issues with Diana Højlund Madsen: Senior researcher at NA ,Mandiedza Parichi lecturer in Midlands University in Gweru and Shilla Sintoyia Memusi, Policy Analyst with a PhD from University of Bayreuth.



The Nordic Africa institute is a 60-year-old knowledge hub for collaborative research, library services and communication that supports a deeper understanding of contemporary African perspectives, challenges and opportunities. Located in Uppsala, Sweden the institute hosts both African and Nordic scholars. Here on the podcast you will have an opportunity to listen directly to our scholars as they deep dive into current events on the continent.

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