Below you will find a chronological list of research projects in the Studies Program. You can search by issue or region by selecting the appropriate category. In addition to this sorting control, you can search for specific subjects within the alphabetical, regional, and issue categories by choosing from the selections in the drop-down menu below.
Each project page contains the name of the project director, a description of the project, a list of meetings it has held, and any related publications, transcripts, or videos.
The Africa Roundtable Series will meet periodically during the 2007-2008 programming year in both New York City and Washington, DC. As always, the series will seek to provide a representative sampling of the prospects and problems on the African continent, but special focus will likely be given to the evolving crisis in Zimbabwe, the ongoing attempts to stabilize the Great Lakes Region, and the political situation in Nigeria. During 2006-2007, the series hosted Amos Kimunya, Finance Minister of Kenya; Tony Leon, leader of the official opposition in South Africa; and Atiku Abubakar, Vice-President of Nigeria, among others.
Work in the G8-Africa project continues as the project looks ahead to the 2005 G8 Summit at Gleneagles, chaired by the United Kingdom. In February 2005, the project published an Appendix to the Council Special Report issued last year, “Freedom, Prosperity and Security: The G8 Partnership with Africa: Sea Island 2004 and Beyond.” The Appendix included the analytic papers from the earlier project and a summary of achievements at Sea Island.
In June 2005, the Director will participate in pre-G8 Summit conference in Glasgow, sponsored by the University of Toronto (a major participant in our project last year) and the University of Glasgow. At the conference, he will discuss the progress under the G8-Africa Action Plan since last year.
This project was made possible through grants from CitiGroup and the UK Department for International Development (DfID).
The focus of this series was influenced by the major shift occurring in African governance as the Organization of African Unity is phased out, and Africans sign onto new membership in the African Union. The theme captures the new type of relationships being crafted between the AU and African states, between the AU and the international community, and between the African official leadership and the citizenry as this shift occurs.
African governance has emerged as one of the major topics in the American dialogue about whether developing strong relations with Africa is “in America’s national interest.” The American slogans “Trade, not Aid” and then “African solutions to African Problems,” which characterized some policy discussions in the 1990s, reflected the hesitation that many American policy makers have had towards investing in Africa given the length and fragility of Africa’s political and economic transitions. The African environment, however, is undergoing positive change.
A 2001 World Bank report, examining “Can Africa Claim the 21st Century,” answered yes, if Africa can develop the structures for trade, investment, growth, peace, and security that are needed. Obviously, African countries made significant adjustments as they moved to post-cold war politics focused on state democratization and economic restructuring. Africans themselves have recognized that this was not sufficient for preventing ethnic conflicts and civil war; stemming conflicts over resources between neighboring states; reducing poverty and achieving an equitable distribution of national resources; reducing debt and guaranteeing economic growth and development; or encouraging leadership transitions that reinforce democracy. Given the new understandings of shifts occurring within the global economy, African leaders have challenged themselves to construct patterns of regional and continental governance that will encourage unity and push Africa toward development.
Sessions of this series are designed to examine how it is in America’s long term interests to work with Africa in the changing global environment of the present, focusing on five major challenges under the African governance theme: the African Union (AU) and the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD); management of strategic resources; leadership and democratic transitions; security, anti-terrorism, and tribunals; global partnerships with the United States, G8, and the United Nations.
Nigeria has recently undergone sudden changes in leadership and is now struggling to consolidate the gains from the return to elected government. Nonetheless, ethnic, religious, and regional tensions as well as economic malaise continue to contribute to the potential for conflict. Due to Nigeria’s dominant position in West Africa and its vast oil reserves, an eruption of conflict would have substantial regional and international repercussions.
CPA’s Project on Nigeria concentrates on the role of Nigerian civil society in preventing conflict and pressing for sustainable democratic reform. CPA sent a study mission to Nigeria in January 1997 to evaluate developments in civil society and identify opportunities for partnerships between organizations in the United States and Nigeria. Drawing on both the mission and subsequent meetings, the Nigeria project recently released the third volume of CPA’s Preventive Action Reports, Stabilizing Nigeria: Sanctions, Incentives, and Support for Civil Society (1998).
The Africa program was a co-sponsor of the Corporate Council on Africa-Nigeria Economic Summit Group’s U.S.-Nigeria Investment Conference in Abuja, September 15-17, 2004. The Council’s delegation included Council Senior Fellow Walter Mead, President of the Fund for Peace, Pauline Baker, and the Director. They met with the finance minister, the minister of education, several state governors and local government officials, and others. The Director gave an address on the final day of the investment conference. It indicates the importance, but still tenuousness of economic reform in Nigeria.
The meetings in this project have helped shape what the Council can most usefully do to support the Nigerian reform effort. There is a dedicated and talented reform team in place in Nigeria, but their impact on other Ministries, the Assembly, and subsequently with State Governors is still quite uncertain. There is also considerable cynicism in Nigeria about reform.
The project's efforts to develop an integrated political and economic strategy for debt-relief; election reform; and corruption intensified with the visit of the Nigerian Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in March and the Director’s visit to Nigeria later that month.
During the minister’s visit, the Africa program hosted several meetings in New York and Washington. On March 1, Council member and Nigeria Working Group participant, George Soros hosted a dinner at his home for the minister with policymakers, media and business people. The New York Times ran a favorable editorial on Nigeria’s progress around the minister’s visit. At special Council briefing sessions in New York on March 2 and in Washington on March 3, hosted by our Nigeria project, the minister updated Council members and others on the progress to date of the government’s economic reforms.
Growing out of these sessions, there have been significant developments. With Council help, Nigeria has now developed a more specific and effective debt relief strategy. The project is also heavily invested in addressing the need for electoral reform before the 2007 presidential election. The Director participated in a workshop on electoral reform in Nigeria, March 15-17, sponsored by American University and the Yar’Adua Memorial Center. The workshop developed a set of principles for party leaders and a specific set of needed reforms. The Director also was a speaker at the closing session of the workshop. Electoral reform is critical to stability and continuity in Nigeria after 2007 and it is an important step toward a more comprehensive debt relief strategy with creditors worried about post-2007 developments. Also, the project contributes to the development of the terms of reference and bidding requests for a complete audit of the Nigerian oil and gas sector. Once complete, the audit it will put Nigeria at the forefront of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), endorsed at the last G8 meeting.
In 2004, the project received funding from the Ford Foundation and Shell International. The project is currently funded by a grant from Shell International.
The Director works with Equatorial Guinea, another oil-rich country in the region, to develop mechanisms to assure that oil proceeds are utilized for the benefit of the people in that country.
During the 2005-2006 program year, the project will focus on electoral reform by helping in seminars for the National Conference on Political Reform created by President Obasanjo, the Nigerian Parliament, and the Nigerian NGO community. The first of these should be held within three months and the latter two by the end of 2005 or early 2006.
The Director will visit the region several times in during the course of the year, traveling to the Gulf of Guinea and in other trips hosting small brainstorming sessions in the lead up to the 2007 elections in Nigeria in Abuja.
The Latin America Roundtable provides updates on breaking economic and political events in Latin America. The seminars are designed to provide prompt, thoughtful analysis of rapidly changing political and economic developments in the region. Although the seminars may be treated as discrete topics, taken together, the series provides a broad overview and a comparative perspective on the major issues, events, and debates in the Americas. Seminars have examined prospects for Colombia's future; the Chávez regime in Venezuela; Argentinean presidential elections; the politics of Mexican economic and political transition; Latin America's response to the global economic crisis; and the problems of development and regional integration in the Caribbean.
The roundtable also expanded its activities in Washington, D.C., to examine such topics as the consolidation of democracy, U.S.-Latin American relations, and a country focus on Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico and Cuba.
This roundtable is made possible by the generous support of the Ford Foundation.
Based in Washington, D.C., and directed by Julia E. Sweig, the Andean Roundtable Series addresses strategic questions related to developments in Colombia's war, Venezuela's political crisis, the crises of governance in the Andean countries, as well as the policies of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and other international organizations regarding Colombia's conflict and its spread. Thematic issues such as the connection between energy and security, corruption, and the use of natural resources in the Andes are also parts of the Roundtable Series. The Roundtable draws on a wide range of speakers, ranging from academia, the policy community, as well as U.S. and foreign government officials.
This roundtable is made possible by the generous support of the Ford Foundation.
Although Brazil is seen by many as a country that has yet to achieve its full potential, it is often forgotten that its economy and population are larger than those of Russia. While great disparities of income exist, Brazil has a powerful entrepreneurial class, a substantial industrial base, a middle class comprised of some 40 million people with a purchasing power of over $500 billion and a vibrant culture and boisterous mass media.
The study group will be organized around a series of sessions based on chapters for a book by Kenneth Maxwell, to be titled Brazil at 500, as background papers. The aim is to examine some of the complex cultural, political, historical and socio-economic constraints that have conditioned Brazil’s development and to provide an accessible text that will help explain Brazil to those in the policy, academic, journalistic, and financial communities who find themselves baffled by the vast and surprisingly little-known giant whose successes or failures will profoundly influence the future of Latin America and the Western Hemisphere as a whole.
One curious consequence of the end of the Cold War for Latin America has been its relegation to a mushy zone where hard choices seem unnecessary; the great disadvantage for U.S. policy makers is that this mindset makes any realistic assessment of interest in the region virtually impossible. But to begin any fruitful debate about U.S. policy options in the Americas, such an exercise is absolutely necessary and long overdue.
This study group will look at potential "hot spots" and challenges to the "Washington consensus" in Latin America, as well as the success stories in the region. It will also assess how U.S. policy might better respond to both potential crises and potential opportunities. The result of the study group will be a succinct book, The United States and Latin America: Setting Priorities in the 21st Century.
This roundtable, held in Washington D.C., addresses a range of issues such as the resolution of outstanding property claims; bilateral and regional security interests; the status of the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay; the implications for the Western Hemisphere of the restoration of a Cuban sugar quota; the impact on the Caribbean economy of resuming normal bilateral trade relations; Cuban participation in the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA); prospects for Cuba’s reentry into the Organization of American States (OAS); and the integration of Cuba into the international financial system. In addition, the roundtable highlights an examination of history, culture, race, and religion as these elements pertain to current conditions on the island and to policy implications for the United States.
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