The Council on Foreign Relations' Africa program examines Africa's rapid socio-economic development and explores its still fearsome challenges. In doing so, the program seeks to provide policymakers, the business community, and the general public with information and policy recommendations for a continent that is no longer dark but rather becoming one of "lions on the move."
Half of the world's fastest growing economies are in Africa. High population growth rates and rapid urbanization make Africa a new frontier for international trade and investment. Democratic governments are taking root. Nonetheless, profound poverty remains, repressive regimes persist, and elections frequently have only a veneer of legitimacy. Ethnicity, religion, and disputes over access to water and land fuel conflicts that challenge new democracies and potentially feed the growth of terrorism.
The Africa program produces Africa in Transition, a daily blog that focuses on political and security issues evolving on the continent and the Nigeria Security Tracker, an interactive that charts political violence destabilizing Africa's most populous country. The program also regularly provides government, business, academic, and student briefings; and hosts two roundtable series: "U.S. Strategic African Partners" and "Africa After 50." Senior fellows publish frequent op-eds, articles, and books on developing issues and longer term trends. They also follow active public speaking schedules and are available to the media.
Africa After 50 is a roundtable series that examines new trends and regional dynamics that are shaping Africa's future and will impact U.S. policy opportunities on the continent. The emergence of new strategic players, especially China, India, and Middle Eastern countries, have created a more complex diplomatic landscape for the United States and African countries to navigate. Sustained economic growth over the past decade attracts interest in the region as a frontier and emerging market for global capital. Africa's entrepreneurs, rising urban middle classes and youth, and the introduction of new media are setting the stage for the next fifty years. Political stability and security remain fragile and depend on the increasing effectiveness of national and regional institutions. The African Union and sub-regional organizations in particular, have become more assertive in conflict resolution efforts across the continent, but long-term security will also require good governance innovation at the local and national levels. This series examines Africa's outlook after fifty years of independence from this new baseline by fostering discussion about the changing demographics, political and societal institutions, and the financial and physical infrastructure that will enable positive change. Hence the series focuses on new thinking and new strategies for Africa's transformation.
The U.S. Strategic African Partners roundtable series addresses issues of governance, corruption, insecurity and violence, national security, development and trade, and human rights in sub-Saharan Africa.
The CFR Africa program fosters discussion about how the United States can play a positive role in the region by strengthening the capacity of states to provide for their people and working with other African democracies on interests of mutual concern. The roundtables highlight the central importance of improving governance for peace, security, and development. The Africa program has a special focus on Nigeria and South Africa because of their size and strategic importance for the United States.
View All Publications