Into Africa

By CSIS | Center for Strategic and International Studies

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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.

Episode Date
Work in the Age of Covid-19
2623
How will the Covid-19 pandemic affect the future of business, trade, and investment in sub-Saharan Africa? How important will technology and automation be for economic development in the region? Guests Laird Treiber (State Department), Chukwuka Onyekwena (Center for the Study of the Economies of Africa), and Vijaya Ramachandran (Center for Global Development) join host Judd Devermont to discuss the new world of work. Guests also analyze South Africa and Nigeria’s responses to the pandemic. Background Reading South Africa’s Bold Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic – Judd Devermont and Topaz Mukulu Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the Nigerian economy – Chukwuka Onyekwena and Mma Ekeruche Nigeria's Tech Sector May Be Booming, but Where Are the Women? – Vijaya Ramachandran and Blessing Omakwu Can Africa Be a Manufacturing Destination? Labor Costs in Comparative Perspective – Vijaya Ramachandran et al. Philanthropy and the Humanitarian Crisis in Northeast Nigeria – Judd Devermont
May 28, 2020
Viruses and VEOs
2112
How will the Covid-19 pandemic affect African governments’ ability to respond to violent extremism in the region? Will groups exploit the health, economic, and political crisis brought on by the pandemic? In this security-focused episode, host Judd Devermont is joined by Bulama Bukarti (Tony Blair Institute), Emilia Columbo (CSIS), and Will Brown (The Telegraph, CSIS) to discuss the violence in northern Mozambique, Boko Haram’s attack on Chadian soldiers in late March, and Covid'19's implications for the security landscape. Background Reading: Extremist Groups Stepping up Operations during the Covid-19 Outbreak in Sub-Saharan Africa – Emilia Columbo and Marielle Harris Supporting Mozambique’s Response to the Growing Insurgent Threat in Cabo Delgado – Emilia Columbo How Jihadi Groups in Africa Will Exploit COVID-19 – Bulama Bukarti As the World Is Distracted, Boko Haram Terrorists Strike a Key Western Ally – Will Brown
May 14, 2020
The Shape of Africa to Come
2245
Experts project that the next few years will be pivotal for Africa's growth and influence. What policies should African governments and their partners focus on to positively shift the region’s trajectory? Jonathan Rosenthal (The Economist), Erin Sikorsky (National Intelligence Council), and Jakkie Cilliers (Institute for Security Studies) join Judd Devermont to discuss forecasting and the continent's projected growth and development. Guests also explore the widespread abuses by security forces during Covid-19 enforced lockdowns and Lesotho’s Prime Minister Tom Thabane’s decision to step down.  Background Reading: Africa First! Igniting a Growth Revolution - Jakkie Cilliers The African Century (The Economist special report) - Jonathan Rosenthal  Global Trends: The Paradox of Progress (2017 report)  - National Intelligence Council
Apr 30, 2020
Never, Ever, Explain Satire
2346
Can humor be leveraged to spark political change? Bruce Wharton (former U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe), James Wan (African Arguments), and Nkechi Nwabudike (The Other News) join host Judd Devermont to discuss the role of satire in African media, politics, and diplomacy. Guests also discuss the government of Zimbabwe’s comments on Covid-19 and the challenge of holding free and fair elections during the Covid-19 pandemic. This is our sixth episode in partnership with African Arguments. Background Reading: Surviving COVID-19: Fragility, Resilience and Inequality in Zimbabwe - African Arguments Pandemic at the Polls - Judd Devermont Satire: BP praised for ambition to destroy Africa but potentially a bit slower - James Wan Writing about “that kind of country” in a time of coronavirus - Jess Auerbach 
Apr 16, 2020
In Hot Water
2051
Rising temperatures across the globe will have profound consequences for Africa’s oceans and the people that are dependent on them for their livelihoods. How can countries work together in order to mitigate the effects of climate change? Max Bearak (Washington Post), Nina Forgwe (British High Commission in Cameroon) and Whit Saumweber (CSIS) join host Judd Devermont to discuss local and international community responses. Also, guests review how governments are reacting to the Covid-19 pandemic and the upcoming year for the diplomatic initiative: G7++ Friends of Gulf of Guinea Group.  Background Reading: A Crisis in the Water is Decimating This Once-Booming Fishing Town  by Max Bearak and Chris Mooney COVID-19 Is an African Political Crisis as Much as a Health and Economic Emergency  by Judd Devermont and Eric Olander
Apr 03, 2020
Partner of Choice
1951
African militaries are working with the U.S., China, Russia, and others in order to address their security concerns. In an increasingly crowded space, are Africans looking for a partner of choice or a choice of partners? Host Judd Devermont sits down with Katie Bo Williams (Defense One), Ryan Cummings (Signal Risk) and Jonah Victor (Author) to discuss African views on U.S. and foreign security assistance. Guests also review Malian President Keita’s negotiations with extremist leaders and the wave of vigilante violence in Zambia. Background Reading African Security: An Introduction - Jonah Victor and John Siko Speaking with Vampires: Rumor and History in Colonial Africa - Luise White Social media claims about Zambia gas attacks linked to riots, lynchings - AFP
Mar 19, 2020
In Courts We Trust?
1982
What is the role of the courts in ensuring that elections are free and fair? Are African courts becoming more independent? In our fifth episode with African Arguments, Jimmy Kainja (academic), Marti Flacks (former NSC Director for Africa), and Carl LeVan (American University), join Judd Devermont to explore recent developments in how elections are conducted. Guests also discuss the nullification of election results in Malawi and Kenya, Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé’s fourth term and more.   Background Reading Malawi court orders fresh elections. What now? by African Arguments The Game Has Changed: Rethinking the U.S. Role in Supporting Elections in Sub-Saharan Africa by Judd Devermont The opposition playbook for discrediting elections and its risks by African Arguments How to Rig an Election by Nic Cheeseman
Mar 05, 2020
The Future of African Studies
2300
Africa plays a major role in world affairs and will gain in prominence in the coming decades. How should the U.S. support African studies programs to develop the next generation of Africa experts? This special episode was recorded live at The Elliott School of International Affairs. Judd Devermont is joined by Ambassador Reuben Brigety II (The Elliot School); Jennifer Cooke (The Elliot School’s Institute for African Studies) and Professor Mohammed Camara (Howard University) to discuss the future of African studies. Also, Trump’s travel ban on Nigeria, Sudan, Eritrea, and Tanzania and President Ramaphosa’s new role as African Union Chair. Background Reading: Trump trashes Nigeria and bans its immigrants. Nigerians love him for it. – Adaobi Nwaubani, The Washington Post
Feb 20, 2020
Bringing African Legislatures Back In
1839
How have African legislatures evolved and how do they shape political competition across the continent? Ken Opalo (Georgetown University), Janette Yarwood (U.S. House of Representatives), and Tyler Beckelman (U.S. Institute of Peace) sat down with Judd Devermont to explore new approaches to strengthening legislative institutions. Guests also weigh in on the agenda behind Kenya’s Building Bridges Initiative and the ongoing Anglophone conflict in Cameroon. Background Reading: Legislative Development in Africa: Politics and Postcolonial Legacies by Ken Opalo Cameroon Must Make Concessions to End the Anglophone Crisis by Ken Opalo and Claire Hazbun Congressional Letter to His Excellency Paul Biya What to Watch in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2020
Feb 06, 2020
City of Immigrants
2367
Most migrants stay in Africa, settling in a neighboring country rather than traveling to Europe. How is this shaping demographic and urbanization trends in Africa? Host Judd Devermont is joined by Abdi Nor Iftin (Author), Erol Yayboke (CSIS), and Beza Tesfaye (Mercy Corps) to discuss Abdi’s book ‘Call Me American: A Memoir.’ Also on this episode; guests discuss South Sudan’s fragile peace deal and humanitarian challenges, plus the threat of Al Shabaab in Somalia.   Background Reading Call Me American: A Memoir by Abdi Nor Iftin A Short Window to Resuscitate South Sudan’s Ailing Peace Deal by Crisis Group Trends in Forced Migration Report by Erol Yayboke Critical Choices Report by Mercy Corps
Jan 23, 2020
Finding Our Own Champions
1934
Local LGBT rights advocacy groups continue to form across the African continent. How can international advocates and policymakers support sexual minorities without making them more vulnerable to attacks? Robbie Corey-Boulet (AFP), Neela Ghoshal (Human Rights Watch), and Yoseph Badwaza (Freedom House) join host Judd Devermont to discuss Robbie’s new book, Love Falls on Us. Guests also assess Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Nobel Peace Prize win and current threats to President Déby’s regime in Chad.   Background reading: Love Falls On Us: A Story of American Ideas and African LGBT Lives by Robbie Corey-Boulet. Briefing: Problems multiply in Déby’s Chad by Philip Kleinfield.  
Jan 09, 2020
A Love-Hate Relationship With African Print
1850
African prints are wrapped up in complicated issues around gender, tradition, and commerce. How do these dynamics affect their starring role in the creative economy? In our fourth episode with African Arguments, host Judd Devermont is joined by Aubrey Hruby (Atlantic Council); Topaz Mukulu (CSIS); and Idza Luhumyo (writer) to discuss the history and future of the East African leso. Guests also discuss Angola's new opposition leader and the impact of Chinese streaming service, Boomplay.
Dec 12, 2019
Bobi Wine and the Making of a President
1888
In this special anniversary episode, Ugandan musician and opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi (aka. Bobi Wine), joins host Judd Devermont, Lauren Blanchard (Congressional Research Service) and Damola Durosomo (OkayAfrica) in studio to discuss the challenges he faces in the lead up to Uganda’s 2021 presidential elections. Plus, guests delve into Somalia’s domestic politics and examine why Nigeria’s first Oscar submission, Lionheart, was disqualified.
Nov 26, 2019
Season Two Preview
102
Season 2 of Into Africa starts next week. Host Judd Devermont unveils some of the exciting new features in store for the next season. As our audience grows, so do our ideas and this will be reflected in the new topics, high-profile guests, and dynamic formats we plan to showcase. What to expect: Special interviews with prominent African leaders, live streamed in-studio shows, off-site live recordings, and more!
Nov 21, 2019
The Russia-Africa Show in Sochi
33:48

With the conclusion of the first-ever Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, how should the U.S. respond to Russia’s return to Africa? What are Putin’s goals for the region? Host Judd Devermont talks Russian engagement with Simon Allison (Mail & Guardian), Andrea Kendall-Taylor (Center for a New American Security) and Karen Monaghan (retired CIA officer). Guests also discuss the latest on CAR’s conflict and Guinea-Bissau’s pivotal upcoming presidential elections.

Background reading:

Nov 14, 2019
The Russia-Africa Show in Sochi
2027
With the conclusion of the first-ever Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, how should the U.S. respond to Russia’s return to Africa? What are Putin’s goals for the region? Host Judd Devermont talks Russian engagement with Simon Allison (Mail & Guardian), Andrea Kendall-Taylor (Center for a New American Security) and Karen Monaghan (retired CIA officer). Guests also discuss the latest on CAR’s conflict and Guinea-Bissau’s pivotal upcoming presidential elections. Background reading: Russian Theater: How to Respond to Moscow’s Return to the African Stage - Commentary by Judd Devermont
Nov 14, 2019
Where’s Your Digital ID?
1488

What role does digital identity play in unlocking Africa’s economic potential? Host Judd Devermont sits down with Magdi Amin (Omidyar Network), Cameron Hudson (Atlantic Council) and Victoria Crandall (Young African Entrepreneur podcast) to discuss the significance of digital ID, Sudan’s battle to implement reforms and revive its economy, and Benin’s current state of affairs.

Oct 31, 2019
Living in Translation
1641

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.

Oct 17, 2019
Express Yourself
1711

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.

Oct 03, 2019
The Party Don’t Stop
2108

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.)

Sep 19, 2019
Too Good To Die
1754

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.)

Sep 05, 2019
We are Young
1889

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.

Aug 22, 2019
Toward a More Pragmatic U.S. Policy on China-Africa Relations
2223

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.

Aug 08, 2019
It’s a Woman’s World
2013

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.

Jul 26, 2019
The Beautiful Game’s Soft Power
1970

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.

Jul 11, 2019
Where’s the “Poll” in U.S. Policy?
2124

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.

Jun 27, 2019
There’s No One-Size-Fits-All Transition
2161

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.

Jun 14, 2019
Updating the Coup Playbook
2146

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.

May 30, 2019
Podcasting Across Africa
2008

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.

May 16, 2019
Charting a New Course for African Cities
1620

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.

May 02, 2019
The Famished Road
1500

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).

Apr 18, 2019
Collateral Trade Damage
1456

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.

Apr 04, 2019
The Art of Analysis
1759

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.

Mar 21, 2019
The Gulf, East Africa, and the Great Game
1841

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.

Mar 07, 2019
Know Your (Human) Rights
1925

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.

Feb 22, 2019
It Takes a Million to Hold Us Back
1236

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.

Feb 07, 2019
Decoding the Continent
1678

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.

Jan 23, 2019
Truth, Lies, and Journalism
1638

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.

Jan 09, 2019
No Peace to Keep
1523

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.

Dec 12, 2018
Whose Election Is It Anyway?
1846

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. 

Nov 28, 2018
Music is the Weapon of the People
2232

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.

Nov 07, 2018