Nordic Africa Days : Time Space Africa: Reconnecting the continent

After the eventful week in Helsinki it was time to relocate to the historical riverside town of Turku. The event took place in Åbo Akademi´s Arken house, in the heart of the old ironmill block.

Nordic Africa days was organized by different nordic universities and institutions such as Nordic Africa Institute. Most of the participants were researchers from nordic universities, and the keynote speacers were international experts.

Few keynote speakers worth mentioning were author/professor  Mahmood Mamdani, who has written may interesting books. And Joyce Nyairo Program officer of media and civil society in  the Ford foundation in Kenya.  She talked about the changes in media, radios and television in east Africa

The focus of the event was more in social sciences and culture than in technology. That was one of the various reasons why the seminar was so interesting, challenging and beneficial. Talking to people with different backgrounds, from political sciences and urbanization researchers to gender issue specialists was really insipring. Getting to know Africa from non-energy or non-environmental angle  is in my aspect really important to the European Pamoja team.

Eventhough this event was not as succesful from the networking aspect as the previous events during this week, the learning experience made the compensation.  The seminar consisted of different panel discussions and workshops. It was really hard to choose which ones to attend, since the topics were so interesting. I was listening to a panel discussion on Livelihoods, housing and Urban poverty and the word energy was not mentioned at all, even though I believe that energy has an important role in the sustainable development of the urban areas. So I raised the question on renewable energy as a part of rural and urban development. The other panel discussion I attended had more to do with environmental issues such as impacts of the climate change in cultivation and the issues concerning agriculture:  erosion, soil salinity, pollution and big  foreign companies taking over the cultivation. – globally highly important topics.

For the signatory, that have not been to Africa yet, the Nordic Africa Days was a great event to learn, and to see more about Africa and to meet great people.

 Irena

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