The Africa Program at CSIS is the leading forum in Washington, D.C. for independent policy research and discussion on emerging issues affecting the United States in Africa. It provides new insights on topics falling within five broad themes:
- Security and conflict
- Africa’s changing economic landscape
- Governance and politics
- Human development
- U.S. policy toward Africa
The CSIS Africa Program provides:
Policy-relevant analysis and research: The CSIS Africa Program draws on a wealth of expertise, both in-house and through a network of academics and associates, based in the United States and on the African continent. During the past year, CSIS staff and associates conducted research in all corners of the Sub-Saharan Africa, from Nigeria to Ethiopia and Mali to South Africa. Recent work includes a study of the evolution of transnational terrorist groups in the Sahel, an examination of the impact of El Niño weather conditions on food security, and a major project looking at the intersection of religion and politics in six African states.
The Africa Program always seeks to answer the “so what?” question, moving beyond surface analysis of what is happening to discuss why it matters to the United States, and suggesting a range of policy options. In crafting policy recommendations, the program uses working groups and roundtable discussions to integrate perspectives from a range of stakeholders—the human rights community, the corporate sector, implementing organizations and agencies, congressional staff, administration officials, academics, activists, and African opinion leaders. Its recommendations are centrist, forward-looking, and pragmatic.
Unrivaled links to the Africa policy community and U.S. Congress: Thanks to its close contacts with the Africa policy community, the CSIS Africa Program is tuned into the real world and understands the tough choices and policy dilemmas faced by foreign policy decision-makers. The Africa Program engages directly with officials in the U.S. Congress, the U.S. State Department, the Department of Defense, the White House, and the main multilateral institutions. Its independent, non-partisan analysis is provided in various ways. Africa Program staff gave witness testimony in Congressional hearings on Nigeria and led a delegation of Hill staff to South Africa. Program staff briefed the International Monetary Fund as it considered the challenges of working in fragile states. They hosted high-level dinner discussions on governance issues in Nigeria that convened U.S. government officials, their Nigerian counterparts, and representatives from non-governmental organizations to discuss policy options in a neutral, non-confrontational setting.
A direct link between African leaders and the Washington policy dialogue: The CSIS Africa Program is the chosen forum for Africa’s leaders to engage directly with the Washington policy audience. CSIS has welcomed senior-level officials including the presidents of Côte d'Ivoire and Mali, the Prime Minister of Kenya, and the Finance Minister of Nigeria. In addition, CSIS provided a setting for leading U.S. policymakers and practitioners to explain their thinking on emerging issues in Africa, both in public debate and private dialogue. These interactive events quickly get beyond surface generalizations and enter substantive discussion and analysis thanks to detailed planning and careful selection of guest speakers by CSIS staff, and the participation of an informed audience that does not shy away from asking tough questions.
Media commentary and insight: Africa Program experts closely track the leading issues of the day and provide sharp, accessible analysis to news organizations attempting to understand complex issues in the African continent. CSIS Africa staff have appeared on CNN, the BBC, MSNBC, Fox News, PBS, ABC News, and Al Jazeera; their voices are heard on Voice of America, National Public Radio, and the BBC World Service; and their words have appeared in publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. The Africa Program produces blogs, commentary pieces, video interviews and audio podcasts; and its Facebook and Twitter pages enable a global audience to enter the debate.
In addition, the Africa Program provides tailored briefings to a range of U.S. companies seeking to understand the investment climate in Africa, as well as analysis on political and economic risk in specific countries and regions.