Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji is a research fellow at the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Nigeria. Funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, he joined the GIGA as a visiting fellow in June 2014 and stayed for two years.
What is your research focus?
The focus of my project at the GIGA Institute for African Affairs is elections in Africa. I try to identify the core challenges countries face during the electoral process by doing content analysis of election observation reports in different African countries. I also try to identify patterns of problems and to analyse which problems are more persistent. I then try to look at the spread of these problems in the different regions.
How did you benefit from your time at the GIGA?
Among other things, the GIGA has a reputation of academic excellence and has a great network among German academic communities. I was hoping to benefit from this network and to get engaged with German scholars, which happened quite fast. Soon after I arrived, Andreas Mehler, who was then director of the GIGA Institute for African Affairs, invited me to make a presentation for a GIGA seminar. Later he asked if I could transform the transcript of my presentation into a written text as they would consider publishing it in the Africa Spectrum journal. That was a huge privilege for me. It was well received within the German policy research community. People called me and asked me to do presentations based on that article. So this one article really launched me into the GIGA academic network.
How would you describe the work environment at the GIGA?
I think the work environment here is excellent and not as bureaucratic as in other places. People here do not make things more difficult. You make a request and within a short time you get a response. So the interaction among the GIGA family is excellent, something that any scholar could hope for.
Many thanks for this interview.