Associated researchers

Associated researchers work with issues that are important to NAI and collaborate with NAI. 

Deborah Fahy Bryceson, Extraordinary Professor

Senior Research Associate at NAI

Deborah Bryceson is a well-known Africanist scholar, oft-cited for her pioneering work on the concepts of ‘deagrarianization’ and ‘transnational families’ Having completed her BA and MA degrees in Geography at the University of Dar es Salaam (1972-1978). She obtained a PhD in Sociology from the University of Oxford in 1988. Her academic career began as a researcher at the Bureau of Resource Assessment and Land Use Planning at the University of Dar es Salaam (1976-1981), going on to become a Senior Research Fellow at the Afrika-studiecentrum, University of Leiden (1992-2005) and the University of Glasgow (2009-2013). She lectured at the Architectural Association, London (1982-1985) and the University of Birmingham (2002-2003) and is currently Honorary Fellow and Professor at the Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh. She has delivered keynote addresses around the world, notably Fukui Japan, Oxford, Utrecht, New Delhi, Edinburgh and Canberra Australia.

She has served as a Research Consultant for numerous UN agencies over the years, including UNICEF, ILO, UNCTAD, UNU, FAO and the World Bank, as well as for the Tanzanian Government, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the British Department of International Development, DANIDA and CARE International. She has been member of the journal editorial board of Urban Studies and is currently Co-Director of the International Gender Studies centre at the University of Oxford.

She has published 15 books and edited collections and over 130 journal articles and book chapters. Her region of specialization is East Africa, however, in her research grant work she has specialized in pan-African comparative research and led country case study research teams spanning East, West and Southern Africa. Her three main subject areas are:

Livelihood, labour, mobility and settlement in processes of transition – notably urbanisation in developing countries, urban economies, urban growth and mobility patterns of the poor, occupational change and deagrarianisation.

Social dynamics and institutions – including the changing nature of the family, transnational families, creole societies, social networks, drinking patterns, work cultures, age and gender differentiation, women's employment patterns and participatory research methodology.

Agrarian studies - rural social and economic development, notably: food marketing, agricultural policy, famine prevention and rehabilitation, urban food supply constraints, rural transport, the impact of public investment on rural welfare, and the impact of HIV/AIDS on famine-prone rural African communities. 

Henning Melber, Director emeritus and Extraordinary Professor

Senior Research Associate at NAI

Henning Melber studied Political Sciences and Sociology at the Freie Universität Berlin (1972-1977). He obtained a PhD in Political Sciences in 1980 and a Habilitation (venia legend: Development Studies) in 1992 at the University of Bremen. He was Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Kassel (1982-1992), Director of The Namibian Economic Policy Research Unit (NEPRU) in Windhoek (1992-2000), Research Director at The Nordic Africa Institute (2000-2006) and Executive Director of The Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation (2006-2012), where he remains employed as a Senior Advisor since then. He is Extraordinary Professor at the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria since 2011 and Professor Extraordinary at the Centre for Africa Studies at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein since 2013. He was the Swedish member of the Executive Committee of the European Association for Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) for more than ten years. Henning is co-editor of the Africa Yearbook (, managing co-editor of Africa Spectrum ( and editor-in-chief of the Strategic Review for Southern Africa (

He has published over 40 monographs and (co-)edited volumes, as well as some 500 journal articles and book chapters, mainly on Namibia and Southern Africa, global governance and African policy issues, international civil society, racism, and the legacy of Dag Hammarskjöld. His special focus is on liberation movements as governments in Southern Africa and the limits to liberation.

Language skills: German, English, Afrikaans

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