Five years ago, SEI established a centre in Tanzania – at the Institute of Resource Assessment, University of Dar es Salaam – to support closer collaboration with African networks and organizations on issues including water and sanitation, agriculture, and energy.
Now, seeking to expand its presence in the region, SEI Africa will relocate to Nairobi, Kenya, joining the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) on its campus in Gigiri.
“Being in Nairobi will mean we are closer to a greater number of stakeholders and potential partners,” said Stacey Noel, Director of the Africa Centre. “Nairobi is a focal point for international and regional research organisations, and also hosts a large UN campus and the offices of many key donors.”
“We are all energized by the prospect of new challenges and eager to continue our work on sustainable development in Africa, but isn’t easy to leave Dar es Salaam after five good years,” added Noel.
SEI Africa will consolidate its research under four key themes, aimed at tackling the most pressing challenges of sustainable development in Africa: climate change adaptation; sustainable energy; agricultural growth, livelihoods and rural development; and urbanization.
“I have high aspirations for the Africa Centre,” said Johan L. Kuylenstierna, Executive Director of SEI. “The dynamic and positive changes in Africa, with rapid economic growth and democratization, create an exciting environment for SEI, with our focus on the science-policy interface. We will seek to expand our operations and continue to build strong partnerships with African and other organizations throughout the region”.
Ongoing engagement in Tanzania
Deputy Centre Director Othniel Yila emphasized that the relocation will not change SEI’s commitment to Tanzania.
“We will remain very engaged in Tanzania, maintaining our research projects and strong ties with our partners, as well as our friends. We will continue to collaborate with the Institute of Resource Assessment at the University of Dar es Salaam, as well as with other key Tanzanian stakeholders, such as the Sokoine University of Agriculture. We’d like to say ’Asanteni sana’ to all of our partners for their extraordinary work.”
Plans for expansion
The centre currently has five staff from five different countries, with a target to triple that number. “We plan to have two additional staff members join the centre this fall to support administration and communications, and have a further ambition to expand to 15 staff within two years,” said Noel.