The core mission of the CSIS Africa Program is to conduct sustained and timely research and analysis on the major elements of U.S. policy toward Africa, with the aim of substantially shaping discourse in Congress, the executive branch, and among the broader policymaking community. The program also provides a platform to African opinion leaders and seeks to integrate African perspectives into the Washington policy dialogue.
Conducting research and analysis on major elements of U.S. policy toward Africa that is centrist and forward looking.
Richard Downie authors a Critical Questions on the evolving use of communications technology by Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab and why widespread media coverage of their propaganda videos can exaggerate the threat these groups pose to the U.S.
Audio: Boko Haram: The View From the Ground 
This episode of The CSIS Podcast features Jennifer Cooke and Richard Downie, reporting from Nigeria's capital, as they discuss the country's struggles with containing Boko Haram and its upcoming presidential election.
Audio: The Backstory on Boko Haram and the Kidnapped Girls
As part of the CSIS “Smart Women, Smart Power” speaker series, Jennifer Cooke talked to Nina Easton about the rise of Boko Haram, the kidnapped girls and the Nigerian government’s failure to rescue them, and the implications of the upcoming presidential election.
The national elections in Nigeria, scheduled for February 2015, come at a critical point in the country’s history. The vote carries high stakes for governance, security, and the economy and will have ramifications for Africa as a whole. Nigeria is the continent’s most populous country, with an estimated 170 million inhabitants, and its largest economy, with a 2013 GDP of $509 billion. This election primer provides an overview of Nigeria’s political history, major parties and candidates, and electoral process and outlines what is at stake and what will decide the upcoming elections.
Elections have always been high-stakes affairs in Nigeria, but the buildup to the 2015 elections has been accompanied by unprecedented levels of tension and anxiety. Two closely matched parties—the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of President Goodluck Jonathan and the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) led by General Muhammadu Buhari—appear confident of securing victory. Inflammatory rhetoric and violence have already marred the campaign period, and a six-week postponement of the polls, ostensibly to better secure the country’s North East against the predations of Boko Haram, has deepened the opposition’s distrust in the integrity of the process. It is still possible for Nigeria to build upon the democratic progress made in 2011, but in order to do so, all the main stakeholders must perform with diligence, professionalism, integrity, and—above all—respect for the process and Nigeria’s democratic future.
Latest media clips
Voice of America (article):  On Nigeria's new Russian arms deal and what it means for the country's relationship with the US
Vice (article):  On Kenya, al-Shabaab, and the threat of war
Reuters (article):  On Burkina Faso and Africa's potential for a "Black Spring"