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Nordic Africa Institute Research Assistant on debt distress and Food Security in Africa

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About the Nordic Africa Institute

The Nordic Africa Institute is a Swedish government agency and has a unique mandate to produce research and inform policy which is relevant to support development in Africa. The Institute has since its establishment in 1962 been an important research, documentation and information centre on modern Africa in the Nordic countries. NAI is jointly financed by the governments of Sweden, Finland and Iceland, and promotes research on and knowledge of contemporary Africa in the Nordic countries, as well as cooperation between mainly African and Nordic researchers. The Institute also disseminates information on current African issues, through publications, seminars, conferences and various policy-related activities.

About the project

Africa’s escalating external debt has become a growing concern, as both debt stock and servicing obligations are soaring to alarming levels across the continent. Contributing factors include limited revenue generation, ineffective public financial management systems, and external shocks such as the Covid-19 pandemic, commodity price fluctuations resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and climate-related disasters. This mounting debt hampers government spending on crucial services such as healthcare, education, and infrastructure, hindering socioeconomic progress and worsening poverty and food insecurity. A new project at NAI will be launched soon to explore the links between debt levels and food security and nutrition on the continent. The project’s findings are expected to offer valuable insights for national governments and international stakeholders to promote sustainable debt management and support economic resilience and growth.

We prefer that the applicant lives within commuting distance from Uppsala.

Key duties

We are recruiting a Research Assistant (RA) to support our project team with various tasks associated with this project. Specifically, the main duties of the holder of this position will include the following:  

  • Conducting a comprehensive literature review to document existing evidence on the interlinkages between external debt and food security in low- and middle-income countries;
  • Gathering and cleaning data on African debt, macroeconomic indicators, and food security and nutrition from selected databases, and performing preliminary statistical analysis of datasets using Excel and Stata;
  • Aiding the study coordinator in designing and executing empirical analyses;
  • Providing research, writing, and editing assistance for various project outputs; and
  • Performing other duties as assigned.

Qualifications & Competence:

The successful candidate will possess the following qualifications and skills:

  • A Master’s degree (MSc) in development economics or a related field relevant to the project’s theme.
  • Knowledge regarding issues pertaining to Africa’s development challenges, including food insecurity and debt, is advantageous.
  • Good quantitative and analytical skills, with proficiency in using statistical software and programming languages such as STATA, SPSS, or R, are required.
  • Excellent academic writing abilities and a high level of proficiency in spoken and written English.
  • Knowledge in Swedish is considered a merit but not mandatory.
  • The candidate will be supervised by a NAI researcher; but should have an ability to work independently.
  • Emphasis will also be given to personal suitability.

Desirable/merit

  • Knowledge of parties and politics in conflicts in Africa, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Libya, the Sahel and Somalia
  • Good knowledge of data science software for quantitative and qualitative data analysis
  • Some knowledge of African research centres, networks and universitities
  • Academic or policy research publication record

The application should contain

  • A cover letter providing motivation for the application, including any particular interest in working for the Nordic Africa Institute and on the research theme.
  • A complete CV with a list of 1) work experience, 2) research (including any study assignments, scientific papers or publications that are relevant to this position), 3) academic training and courses and conferences or events attended and/or organized. Emphasis should be placed on Africa or UN-focused peace and security.
  • One writing sample by the applicant that relates to the thematic area of research. (list the publication in your cover letter with an online link, and/or attach a PDF file in the documents in the online system).
  • The name, professional title and addresses (phone, e-mail) of one reference.

As part of the recruitment process, shortlisted candidates will be invited to an interview and submit a writing sample.

Contact persons:
Professor Assem Abu Hatab ([email protected]), Senior Researcher and Head of the Research Project. Trade Union representative: Henrik Alfredsson (Saco-S) ([email protected]). All can be reached at +46 18 471 52 00 or [email protected].

Apply through our online recruitment system, link below. 

Salary: Individual salary.
Placement: Uppsala, Sweden.
Starting date: It is intended the candidate will start as soon as possible and no later than 1 May
Type of employment: 6 months temporary position 2024.

Scope of employment: 100 %.
Please submit your application by 22 March 2024.

Please do not send offers of recruitment or advertising services.

Apply for this position

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