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Understand the challenges of democratization and governance, urban growth, civic activism, economic change, political affairs, and conflict within and between African countries.

Featured Courses

Develop regional expertise to solve complex policy problems and address global challenges.

Energy, Politics and Development in Africa

This course focuses on the political and economic challenges associated with resource wealth in SSA with particular attention paid to petroleum.

Course topics include debate over the resource curse, conflict, corruption, a taxonomy of oil country regimes, taxation and revenue management, state enterprises and other key players. The course profiles a number of individual oil-rich SSA countries.

Conflict and the African Great Lakes

Africa’s Great Lakes region has become synonymous with conflict. Over the last five decades, this region has seen genocides, ethnic violence, land disputes, civil war, cross border conflict and a multi-national war.

Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have been affected by one or many of these destabilizing factors. The course introduces students to the main issues affecting peace, stability and development in the Great Lakes.

Contemporary African Politics

A conceptual and historical overview of politics in Sub-Saharan Africa since independence. Considers the social basis of politics, the nature of political actors and the institutional context.

Examines major tendencies in political thought and ideology. Reviews regime types and strategies of rule. Analyzes central themes and processes in African politics, including clientelism, ethnicity, authoritarianism and democracy. Discusses important cases and trends.

Political Economy of African Development

This course examines the political context of Africa’s post-colonial development and considers the historical evolution of African economies from the colonial era, and the structural and institutional features of economic development since independence.

Students will review the evolution of economic policy and the nature of political regimes and the incentives of political and economic elites and popular constituencies, as well as examine the genesis of economic crisis and attempted reform.

LEARN FROM THE BEST

Study with world-class experts who are renowned for their scholarship, influence, and networks.

Peter Lewis

Warren Weinstein Associate Professor

Deborah Brautigam

Professor Emerita in International Political Economy, Director of China-Africa Research Initiative

Chiedo Nwankwor

Vice Dean for Education and Academic Affairs, Senior Lecturer and Director of SAIS Women Lead


In the News

Don’t Hype the Disinformation Threat

Foreign Affairs, May, 5, 2024

Blackjack

In the Small Wars Journal, Professor Albert J. Marckwardt writes about the authorization for the use of force against Mexican cartels was introduced in Congress. 04/29/24

Q&A with SAIS’ Jonas Nahm, Co-Author of 2024 U.S. Presidential Economic Report

The breadth and depth of the Economic Report of the President…reflects the deep bench of expertise at the Council of Economic Advisers, and the federal government more broadly.

A Closer Look at the Gaza Casualty Data

Good Authority (blog), December 14, 2023. With Marc Lynch.

The Ghosts of Lebanon

Foreign Affairs, November 14, 2023.

The Political Dynamics of Disasters

Arts & Sciences Magazine, November, 2023.

No Comment

Eliot A. Cohen wrote in The Atlantic, 06/01

It’s Not Enough for Ukraine to Win. Russia Has to Lose

Eliot A. Cohen wrote in The Atlantic, 05/19

The Shortest Path to Peace

Eliot A. Cohen wrote in The Atlantic, 02/28