Jendayi E. Frazer

Adjunct Senior Fellow for Africa Studies

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Expert Bio

Jendayi E. Frazer is adjunct senior fellow for Africa studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). She is also the president and chief executive officer of 50 Ventures, a private consulting and investment company that seeks to elevate Africa's global standing by investing in its governance, education, enterprise, and stability sectors.

From 2009 to 2014, Frazer was a distinguished public service professor at Carnegie Mellon University, where she was on the faculty of Heinz College’s School of Public Policy and Management. Her research focused on strengthening regional security cooperation and economic and political integration in Africa. She was also the director of Carnegie Mellon's Center for International Policy and Innovation (CIPI), where she focused on utilizing technology and applying innovative solutions to core issues of development and governance in Africa. She is the author of and contributor to a number of articles, journals, and books and was the co-editor of Preventing Electoral Violence in Africa (2011), which grew out of her work with CIPI.

Prior to her time at Carnegie Mellon University, Frazer served as the U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs from 2005 to 2009. She was special assistant to the president and senior director for African affairs at the National Security Council from 2001 to 2004, when she was sworn-in as the first woman U.S. ambassador to South Africa. She previously served in government from 1998 to 1999 as a CFR international affairs fellow, first at the Pentagon as a political-military planner with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, working on West Africa during Nigeria’s transition to civilian rule, and then as director for African affairs at the National Security Council, working on Central and East Africa. Frazer was also an assistant professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and assistant professor at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of International Studies.

She has been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award bestowed by the secretary of state, in recognition of her public service. In 2010, she was given the distinction of Dame Grand Commander in the Humane Order of African Redemption by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. She was also honored with the 2008 Distinguished Leadership Award from Boston University's African Presidential Archives and Research Center.

Frazer received her BA in political science and African and Afro-American studies, MA in international policy studies and international development education, and PhD in political science, all from Stanford University.


  • 50 Ventures, president and chief executive officer
  • Africa Exchange Holdings Company, managing partner
  • King Baudouin Foundation, board member
  • MasterCard Foundation, board member
  • Mo Ibrahim Foundation, board member
  • RiceHadleyGates, LLP, advisor
  • The Africa Center, board member
  • Teranga Gold Company, board member

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