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IDA's Africa Program

IDA’s Africa team focuses on trends and developments that could result in discontinuous political, social, or economic change in sub-Saharan Africa. Discontinuous change threatens traditional authorities and power structures by dramatically altering the way things have been for years. By causing sudden breaks with the past, discontinuous change can foster both societal progress and potentially violent instability.

The Africa team consists of experienced researchers, most at the Ph.D. level, who have lived and worked on the African continent. They have experience in East, West, Central, and Southern Africa. Their familiarity with the underlying structural conditions of African societies helps them foresee the potential effects of the catalytic factors that cause change.

Pic 1-Research discussing issues. Pic 2-Researchers with local Chiefs

The team’s objectives are to anticipate change and to describe for policy makers and operators its likely effects on both the African scene and on the security interests of the United States. They carry out their research through personal contact with African leaders and researchers, access to social, electronic, and print media, and continuous scanning of scholarly research. They partner with IDA experts in other fields including, for instance, defense planning, information technology, modeling, simulation, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to address questions of national interest, such as measurement of the effectiveness of engagement programs and efficient allocation of human and material resources to projects related to Africa.

The African Team 2015

IDA Researcher Published in Latest Contingency Planning Memorandum

AMB Ward and CFR publicationGeorge F. Ward, former ambassador to Namibia, discussed the possibility of political instability and violence in Zimbabwe associated with the end of President Robert Mugabe’s tenure; his article was recently published in the Center for Preventive Action's Contingency Planning Memorandum, “Political Instability in Zimbabwe” released by the Council on Foreign Relations. In the memo, Amb. Ward examines the possible risk factors in Zimbabwe, including the sudden death of the 91-year-old president without an apparent successor, growing factionalism within the main political party, and increased economic strife triggering more demands for political change. More...

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Volume 22
  • Volume 22, January 10, 2019
    • Ebola Epidemic in Eastern DRC Now Second Largest in History
    • The Evolving Conflict in the Central African Republic
Volume 21
  • Volume 21, December 11, 2018
    • Fisheries Crisis: The Case of Senegal and Mauritania
    • Unveiling the Evolving Face of Terror: Will ISIS Mobilize Female Jihadis in Africa?
  • Volume 21, November 1, 2018
    • Niger: The Golden Desert
    • Comoros—A Troubled Archipelago
    • Angolan Diamonds—The Challenges of Resource Reform
Volume 20
  • Volume 20, September 12, 2018
    • Uganda: Dissident Draws Attention to Human Rights Violations and Authoritarianism
    • Politicial Change in the Horn of Africa
  • Volume 20, July 11, 2018
    • Mali: Elections Highlight Governance Challenges
    • Unity Government Formed in Madagascar Ahead of Polls
Volume 19
  • Volume 19, June 28, 2018
    • Libya: Paris Conference Sets Lofty Goals, But Military Operations Will Drive Outcomes
    • Smart Cities: The Answer to Africa's Urbanization Problem?
  • Volume 19, May 24, 2018
    • Farmer-Herder Violence: A Continent-Wide Concern
    • Intra-African Trade—A Step in the Right Direction
  • Volume 19, May 17, 2018
    • Ebola Returns to Africa
    • Tunisia's Municipal Elections: Applying the Principles of Democracy and Decentralization
  • Volume 19, May 10, 2018
    • Is the Death of Afonso Dhlakama a Threat to Peace in Mozambique?
    • Amid Protests, Former President Banda Returns to Malawi
  • Volume 19, April 12, 2018
    • Angola: President Lourenco Continues to Clean House
    • Western Sahara: A Forgotten Conflict Shows Signs of Escalation
  • Volume 19, April 5, 2018
    • Sierra Leone Elections Highlight Economic Challenges
    • Democracy in Southern Africa: A Story of Two Trends

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