Into Africa

Fearless music activists. Savvy tech entrepreneurs. Social disrupters. Into Africa shatters the narratives that dominate U.S. perceptions of Africa. Host Mvemba Phezo Dizolele, Africa program director and senior fellow 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.

Life in Mali Today: Unpacking Internal and Exte...
Mvemba is joined by Doussouba Konaté, Country Director and Global Program Manager for Accountability Lab Mali.
28 min
AFRICOM and the Triple Nexus
Mvemba is joined by Ambassador Andrew Young, Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Engagement of U.S. Africa Command.
37 min
A Conversation with DR Congo’s Minister of Fina...
Mr. Nicolas Kazadi, Minister of Finance of the Democratic Republic of Congo, discusses the Millennium Challenge Corporation, tackling corruption in the mining industry and the public sector, conflict in eastern DRC, and the auction of oil blocks and climate pledges.
34 min
Forecasting African Futures
Jakkie Cilliers, Head of African Futures & Innovation at the Institute for Security Studies, joins us to discuss Africa’s potential growth in different global scenarios.
31 min
H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of Somalia
Mvemba is joined by His Excellency Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia.
51 min
Survey: Why Turkey Is So Popular in the DRC, An...
Mvemba unpacks the results of CIC and BERCI's new national survey in the DRC with Joshua Walker, Director of Programs at the Congo Research Group and Francesca Bomboko, Co-Founder and Director of BERCI, a public opinion research firm based in the DRC.
44 min
Building A Political Career in Kenya
30 min
Addressing Forced Migration in the Horn
Mvemba is joined by Mohammed Abdiker, Regional Director for East Africa and the Horn of Africa at the International Organization for Migration.
32 min
Using Digital Tools To Increase Food Resiliency...
Mvemba is joined by Caitlin Welsh, the Director of the Global Food Security Program at CSIS, and Melodine Jeptoo, Researcher and Coordinator at PlantVillage.
33 min
Gold, Gas, and Good Governance
Dr. Zainab Usman joins Mvemba to discuss her new book, "Economic Diversification in Nigeria: The Politics of Building a Post-oil Economy."
31 min
Sahel Pressure on Littoral States
Mvemba is joined by Karana Olivier, Côte d'Ivoire Chief of Party for Equal Access International, to discuss the spillover of violent extremism from the Sahel into the littoral states of West Africa
29 min
Africa Outlook: What To Watch in the Second Hal...
Mvemba is joined by W. Gyude Moore (Center for Global Development) to explore challenges and opportunities for African countries in the latter half of 2022
39 min
Evan Mawarire on #ThisFlag and the Fight for De...
Mvemba is joined by Evan Mawarire, a Zimbabwean pastor, activist, and the founder of the #ThisFlag protest movement.
39 min
The Digital Future of African Development
Cina Lawson, Minister of Digital Economy and Transformation in Togo, and Lucy Nshuti Mbabazi, Head of Africa Advocacy and Partnerships at The Better Than Cash Alliance, join Mvemba to discuss the rise of digital payments in Africa's spurred by COVID-19 restrictions.
41 min
Tony Elumelu and Why “Africapitalism” Works
Mvemba is joined by African investor and philanthropist Tony Elumelu to discuss the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s work in empowering youth entrepreneurs across the continent.
29 min
Shea Butter, Women’s Empowerment, and Fair Trade
Rahama Wright, founder of social enterprise Shea Yeleen, speaks with Mvemba about all things entrepreneurship.
37 min
Public Institutions are the Backbone of Democracy
Ken Opalo (Georgetown) joins Mvemba to discuss the strength of public institutions across Africa.
34 min
Adulting in Monrovia: Returning Home from the D...
Mvemba and Amini Kajunju discuss diaspora, identity, and ESJ’s work in education and human development.
36 min
Intractable Instability, French Failure, and Ru...
Mvemba is joined by Nathaniel Powell to discuss instability in the Sahel.
29 min
Beyond the Paved Road
Mvemba and Travis Adkins of the U.S. African Development Foundation discuss Travis' role in foreign assistance and policy.
28 min
Ubuntu: I Am Because We Are
Mvemba and author Chidiogo Akunyili-Parr discuss Ubuntu and Akunyili’s recent book.
24 min
Unearthing Africa's Role in Modernity
Mvemba Phezo Dizolele speaks with author Howard French about his newest book, Born In Blackness.
23 min
Thinking Differently About Africa
In Judd Devermont's last episode as host, he is joined by Nnedi Okorafor, Patrick Gathara, and David Pilling.
40 min
An African Strategy Toward China
Judd Devermont is joined by Hannah Ryder, Cliff Mboya, and Casey Schmidt to discuss African agency and policy formation toward Beijing.
37 min
What is the history of stolen African artefacts—such as the Benin Bronzes—and what can be done to rectify these wrongs?
44 min
Africa’s Literary Scene
Guests discuss how African creatives are using online literary magazines to publish their work directly to the web—resulting in more visibility, wider audiences, and richer conversation.
34 min
China, the U.S., and African Security Chiefs
Judd Devermont and his guests discuss U.S. and Chinese government engagement with African security chiefs.
39 min
Franchising Terrorism
What is the nature of relationships between Islamic state provinces in Africa and the Islamic state central?
43 min
49 Trailer
Introducing 49, a new podcast discussing the past, present, and future of U.S. policy towards sub-Saharan Africa.
1 min
The Dos and Don'ts of U.S. Strategies Toward Su...
What does a consequential U.S. strategy towards sub-Saharan Africa look like?
45 min
Presidential Offspring
Several African leaders are setting the stage to hand over power to their sons.
41 min
Grave Narratives
In Rwanda, Paul Kagame’s development miracle story has largely insulated his regime from criticism.
46 min
Democracy Doesn't Come from the Sky
Judd Devermont sits down with Frances Brown, Moussa Kondo, and Thandekile Moyo to share recommendations for impactful deliverables for President Biden's upcoming Summit for Democracy.
39 min
The Gangs of Africa
In several countries, gangs, militias, and self-defense forces have become part of the security landscape. What’s behind this trend and what are the consequences?
47 min
Deciphering Disinformation in Africa
Disinformation operations in Africa are hidden in discretely coordinated social media campaigns
36 min
The Price of Peacekeeping
America spends more money on Halloween candy than on UN peacekeeping operations each year.
36 min
Africa's Muckrakers
Investigative journalism in Africa is entering a golden age.
40 min
Populism Rising
How does populism manifest itself in sub-Saharan Africa in comparison to other regions?
34 min
Africa on Africa
How do African media outlets portray politics, economics, and cultural life in their own countries and in the broader region?
35 min
Beyond Strongly-Worded Statements
How do we go beyond rhetoric that rarely translates into concrete and strategic action?
32 min
Cobalt and the Do No Harm Myth
Cobalt is found in some of the most conflict-stricken and unjust places on earth.
33 min
Making Sense of Chinese Tech
The growth of Chinese technology in Africa has sounded alarm bells in Washington and other foreign capitals.
35 min
Sauti Sol on Making Pop Music During a Pandemic
What role do musicians play in politics and advocacy, especially during a health crisis?
30 min
Season Three Preview
Welcome to the third season of the Into Africa podcast.
1 min
Viral Diplomacy
How does multilateral diplomacy transform during a global pandemic?
41 min
Exploring the Digital Currency Frontier
Covid-19 has accelerated the adoption of digital currency and mobile money platforms in Africa.
38 min
Africa Reacts to the U.S. Elections
The long-awaited results of the United States presidential election will shape the future of American democracy and U.S.-Africa policy for years to come.
37 min
If You Build It, They Will Come
The elderly and those living with noncommunicable diseases are two populations growing faster in sub-Saharan Africa than elsewhere
31 min
Virtues of Virtual Election Monitoring
When it comes to election observation, there’s often one rule for the West and another for everybody else.
40 min
A Zombie-Free Recovery of Africa's Energy Sector
Energy development is at the heart of an inclusive global recovery from Covid-19
38 min
How the Gulf, India, and Japan Think about Africa
Diplomatic engagement is at an all-time high across Africa.
38 min
How Beijing Courts African Partners
China's footprint in Africa extends beyond infrastructure projects and financing
34 min
Confronting the History of U.S.-Africa Policy
The last 70 years of U.S.-Africa policy is underscored by a bipartisan legacy of continuity.
38 min
La Françafrique n'est pas morte
France has complicated and often contentious relations with Francophone Africa.
34 min
Great Power Debate
Is great power competition the most constructive framework for formulating and implementing U.S. policies in sub-Saharan Africa?
45 min
Covid Corruption
Critical sources of funding and supplies are flowing into the region to help the African governments battle the Covid-19 pandemic.
32 min
It's an Infodemic!
What is the best way to tackle misinformation about the virus?
39 min
There’s an App for That
Africa is undergoing a digital transformation, helping the region to weather some the pandemic's negative consequences.
38 min
Work in the Age of Covid-19
How will the Covid-19 pandemic affect the future of business, trade, and investment in sub-Saharan Africa?
43 min
Viruses and VEOs
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.
35 min
The Shape of Africa to Come
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?
37 min
Never, Ever, Explain Satire
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.
39 min
In Hot Water
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?
34 min
Partner of Choice
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?
32 min
In Courts We Trust?
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.
33 min
The Future of African Studies
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?
38 min
Bringing African Legislatures Back In
How have African legislatures evolved and how do they shape political competition across the continent?
30 min
City of Immigrants
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.’
39 min
Finding Our Own Champions
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?
32 min
A Love-Hate Relationship With African Print
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?
30 min
Bobi Wine and the Making of a President
In this special anniversary episode, Ugandan musician and opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi (aka. Bobi Wine) discusses in studio the challenges he faces in the lead up to Uganda’s 2021 presidential elections.
31 min
Season Two Preview
Season 2 of Into Africa starts next week. Host Judd Devermont unveils some of the exciting new features in store for the next season.
1 min
The Russia-Africa Show in Sochi
With the conclusion of the first-ever Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, how should the U.S. respond to Russia’s return to Africa?
33 min
Where’s Your Digital ID?
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 si
24 min
Living in Translation
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 S
27 min
Express Yourself
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-Simm
28 min
The Party Don’t Stop
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)
35 min
Too Good To Die
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
29 min
We are Young
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
31 min
Toward a More Pragmatic U.S. Policy on China-Af...
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
37 min
It’s a Woman’s World
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 ambassad
33 min
The Beautiful Game’s Soft Power
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 im
32 min
Where’s the “Poll” in U.S. Policy?
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
35 min
There’s No One-Size-Fits-All Transition
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
36 min
Updating the Coup Playbook
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
35 min
Podcasting Across Africa
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
33 min
Charting a New Course for African Cities
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,
27 min
The Famished Road
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 McMaho
25 min
Collateral Trade Damage
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 (CSI
24 min
The Art of Analysis
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 Was
29 min
The Gulf, East Africa, and the Great Game
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 Godfr
30 min
Know Your (Human) Rights
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 Odin
32 min
It Takes a Million to Hold Us Back
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 (independ
20 min
Decoding the Continent
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 (CSI
27 min
Truth, Lies, and Journalism
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, an
27 min
No Peace to Keep
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
25 min
Whose Election Is It Anyway?
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 r
30 min
Music is the Weapon of the People
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) jo
37 min