Fearless music activists. Savvy tech entrepreneurs. Social disrupters. Into Africa shatters the narratives that dominate U.S. perceptions of Africa. Host Judd Devermont, Africa program director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington D.C., sits down with policymakers, journalists, academics and other trailblazers in African affairs to shine a spotlight on the faces spearheading cultural, political, and economic change on the continent.
How does language shape diplomatic engagement on a continent that houses such linguistic variety? In our third episode with African Arguments, host Judd Devermont explores this question with Nanjala Nyabola (Author), Catherine Kelly (African Center for Strategic Studies), and Michele Wagner (U.S. State Department). Guests also review the Somalia-Kenya maritime border dispute and Senegalese President Macky Sall’s eyebrow-raising decision to pardon a political rival.
African creatives are using their talents to represent the region and reshape African narratives. Host Judd Devermont chats with innovators Fati Abubaker, (Independent photojournalist) and Mike Achode (Crudo Volta), as well as academic Lindsey Green-Simms (American University) about perceptions of the continent and opportunities to impact U.S. policy. Plus, guests examine the rise of xenophobic violence in South Africa and what the Pope’s visit to Africa means for the future of the Catholic Church.
Why are some political parties able to hold onto power for decades? Do they still connect with their constituents or is the playing field uneven? Host Judd Devermont, Anne Pitcher (University of Michigan), Liberata Mulamula (George Washington University) and Emily Renard (Open Society Foundations) tackle these questions and open the conversation with spotlights on Angola and Congo-Brazzaville. (Note: The CSIS Africa Program has partnered with Open Society Foundations. However, this relationship did not inform the substance of this podcast episode.)
Despite democratic gains in Africa, some of its leaders are seeking to ditch presidential term limits and extend their grip on power. In this episode of Into Africa, host Judd Devermont (CSIS), Ayisha Osori (Open Society Initiative for West Africa), Alex Noyes (RAND Corporation), and Ambassador Mark Bellamy (CSIS) review the state of term limits in Africa and why some may view their leadership as indispensable. The experts also review Nigeria’s new cabinet of ministers and the deteriorating economic conditions in Zimbabwe. (Note: The CSIS Africa Program has partnered with Open Society Foundations and has a pending project proposal with OSIWA. However, these relationships did not inform the substance of this podcast episode.)
How can the U.S. support Africa’s next generation? Judd sits down with two young African leaders, Beverley Hatcher-Mbu (Africa Policy Accelerator) and Ezbora Lubamba (Young African Leaders Initiative), as well as the Executive Director of Emerging Public Leaders, Yawa Hansen-Quao, for a conversation on how leadership programs can equip youths to tackle African challenges and opportunities. Guests also weigh in on the recent U.S. Congressional delegation visit to Ghana and renewed interests in Africa’s entertainment market.
How should the United States respond to China’s rapidly expanding footprint in Africa? Host Judd Devermont (CSIS) teams up with the co-hosts of the China in Africa Podcast, Cobus van Staden and Eric Olander, as well as Yun Sun (Stimson Center) to discuss how the U.S. government can develop a more pragmatic and effective policy to manage China’s activities in Africa. A review of President Ramaphosa’s progress in South Africa and Zambian President Lungu’s crackdown on anti-China politicians serve as episode preludes. This episode is a joint production with the China in Africa Podcast, hosted and produced by the founders of the China Africa Project, Eric Olander and Cobus van Staden. Click here to listen to the China in Africa Podcast edition of the program. Subscribe to the China in Africa podcast on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe to the China Africa Project email newsletter.
From Sudanese protest icons to top political posts in Ethiopia, Liberia, and beyond, women are rising rapidly to the helm of sub-Saharan African politics. Host Judd Devermont is joined by Riva Levinson (KRL International), Mwende Mwinzi (Kenya’s ambassadorial designate to South Korea), and Esther Tawiah (Gender Centre for Empowering Development) to dissect the challenges women face as they break into a historically male-dominated arena. The episode begins with quick takes of the Trump Administration’s “Prosper Africa” initiative and motivations behind Liberia’s June 7th protests.
As African national teams battle it out on the pitch in Cairo, Host Judd Devermont (CSIS Africa Program Director) is joined by Trina Bolton (U.S. State Department), Ayodeji Rotinwa (African Arguments) and Richard Downie (CSIS) to discuss the political implications and soft power potential of the ongoing 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. Guests kick off the episode assessing the current friction within Botswana’s ruling party and the recent political violence in Ethiopia.
Should polling shape U.S. policy decisions in Africa? Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi (Afrobarometer), Christopher Fomunyoh (National Democratic Institute) and Brittany Brown (International Crisis Group) join Judd Devermont (CSIS) to discuss the role of polling in U.S.-Africa policy development and implementation. Guests also touch on President of Guinea Alpha Conde’s third term ambitions and Ghana’s 2020 presidential elections.
Supporting political transitions from military to civilian rule in Africa requires consistent engagement, international coordination, and diplomatic flexibility. If mishandled, it could result in violence and a democratic reversal. This episode features Ambassador Johnnie Carson, former NSC Director Allison Lombardo, as well as our first African Arguments author Faten Aggad, for a conversation on the significance of power transitions on the continent. Guests also weigh in on recent violence in Sudan and Uganda’s political and economic trajectories.
How do coup d'etats unfold in sub-Saharan Africa? Host Judd Devermont (CSIS Africa Program Director) sits down with experts Naunihal Singh (Naval War College), Max Siollun (Nigerian historian and author), and Alexis Arieff (Congressional Research Service) to discuss the political and intra-military dynamics that shape coups on the continent, and debate the impacts of technology on future military takeovers. First up, guests size up DRC President Felix Tshisekedi's first 100 days in office and weigh the significance of Mauritania's upcoming presidential election.
How can podcasts about Africa help counter outdated perceptions of the continent? Podcast hosts Judd Devermont (CSIS, Into Africa), Kim Yi Dionne (University of California, Riverside; Uhafamu Africa), Rachel Beatty Reidl (Northwestern University, Uhafamu Africa), Andile Masuku (African Tech Round-Up), and Travis Adkins (On Africa) join forces for this must-listen crossover episode. They talk the art of podcasting, Malawi's upcoming elections, and Jumia's IPO.
Africa’s future is urban. The continent will become 50 percent urban by 2030 and its urban population will double by 2050, yet policymakers have not revised their programmatic approach. In this recording from their 2019 Global Development Forum session, Judd Devermont (CSIS), Jefferson T. Koijee (Mayor of Monrovia, Liberia), Emilio Ciarlo (Italian Agency for Development Cooperation), Dana Omran (100 Resilient Cities), and Somik Lall (World Bank) share how the continent can configure its urban areas to unlock their potential.
How do we build roads to the future? Former Liberian Minister of Public Works Gyude Moore (Center for Global Development) explains how cutting-edge technology can revolutionize Africa’s basic infrastructure challenges. Judd Devermont (CSIS), Diane McMahon (Bechtel Corporation), and Joel Wiegert (Nexant) weigh in on Moore’s vision, Uganda-Rwanda tensions, and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
A trade war has escalated between the U.S. and China, and African economies are caught in the crossfire. On this episode, Bill Reinsch (CSIS), Catherine Chiang (CSIS), and Julius Agbor (Vanguard University of Southern California) join Judd Devermont (CSIS) to unpack how tariff tensions are impacting African economic growth and what it means for U.S.-Africa relations. The experts also assess the international response to Cameroon’s protracted conflict and the China-Kenya tiff over tilapia.
U.S. intelligence analysts, as well as academics and political risk consultants, struggle to anticipate and assess leadership transitions in sub-Saharan Africa. Judd Devermont (CSIS), Jeffrey Herbst (American Jewish University), Mike Noll (The George Washington University), and Amaka Anku (Eurasia Group) discuss why leadership analysis is so vexing, identify common pitfalls, and recommend critical thinking tools and techniques to sharpen analytic judgments. Examinations of South Africa’s recent corruption scandals and Côte d'Ivoire’s new political dynamic open the episode.
Gulf states are making moves on the continent, adding another layer to Africa's increasingly crowded and complex political landscape. Zach Vertin (Brookings Doha Center), Raechel Haecker (former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Africa), and Godfrey Musila (expert on international law and security) join Judd Devermont (CSIS) to unpack emerging Gulf-Africa dynamics. The podcast kicks off with close-ups on South Sudan's peace prospects and Gabon's ailing president.
Human rights violations persist across Africa. How can the global community engage national governments to reverse this trend? Judd Devermont (CSIS) puts the question to experts Carine Kaneza Nantulya (Human Rights Watch), Amy Lehr (CSIS), and Chidi Odinkalu (The Open Society Justice Initiative). Protests in Zimbabwe and Senegalese elections also feature on this episode.
A new generation of African protesters are using technology and innovation to call out injustices. Judd Devermont (CSIS), Mvemba Phezo Dizolele (Johns Hopkins University), Zachariah Mampilly (Vassar College), and former Ambassador Bisa Williams (independent observer via The Carter Center) weigh in on the resiliency of today's anti-regime movements. Analyses of the DRC elections and unrest in Sudan cue up this discussion.
Big data is unlocking Africa’s complex problems. Olúseun Onígbińdé (BudgIT), Ariel Ben Yishay (AidData), and Hilary Matfess (Yale) share how data helps hold leaders to account, track foreign spending, and assess security threats. With Judd Devermont (CSIS) moderating, the panel also checks in on Nigeria ahead of its presidential election and on the rising insurgent threat in Mozambique.
Journalism remains a vital but dangerous profession in sub-Saharan Africa. Rodney Sieh (FrontPage Africa), Jon Temin (Freedom House) and Siobhan O’Grady (Washington Post) join Judd Devermont (CSIS) to discuss Rodney's recent book, Journalist on Trial, and unpack challenges facing the continent’s media. But first, checkups for South African foreign policy and Gambian democracy.
What happens when peacekeepers deploy to an active conflict zone? Judd Devermont (CSIS), Dr. Paul Williams (George Washington University), Alice Friend (CSIS) and SRSG Parfait Onanga-Anyanga (MINUSCA) examine the challenge of peacekeeping where there is no peace to keep. Guests also consider Ethiopia’s future under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and whether the alleged death of leader, Amadou Koufa, will impair—or energize— the extremist group JNIM.
With elections heating up across the continent, Michelle Gavin (Council on Foreign Relations), John Tomaszewski (International Republican Institute), and Idayat Hassan (Centre for Democracy and Development) join Judd to talk election monitoring and the roles of international and domestic observers. Guests also weigh in on Congo’s fragmented political opposition and the growing threat of Tanzanian authoritarianism. Hosted by Judd Devermont and produced by Yumi Araki and Catherine Chiang at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Judd sits down with renowned Afro-beats star and fearless activist, Bobi Wine, to discuss how his music is inspiring Ugandan youths to challenge state repression. Damola Durosomo (OkayAfrica) and Lauren Ploch Blanchard (Congressional Research Service) join in on the conversation. Also in store, an update on Nigeria’s 2019 elections and Melania Trump’s not-so-memorable trip to four African countries.