Africa Center

Africa’s time has come.

The mission of the Africa Center is to raise African voices and strengthen African nations’ influence in transatlantic dialogue. A preferred destination for African cultural, political, and business leaders who want to create a more authentic African narrative, the Council is a powerful platform for better knowledge of Africa and for the promotion of opportunities on the African continent. The center prepares policymakers and investors for the onset of the African Century by supporting dynamic geopolitical partnerships with African states and multilateral institutions.

“G20 countries account for 80 percent of global emissions; Africa 4 percent. Floods, deforestation, difficult access to water, rising seas—all this show that for Africa global warming is not a threat, but a reality. And in the meantime, only one of the signatory countries of the Paris Agreements meets its goal of reducing gas emissions: Gambia, an African state.”

Ambassador Rama Yade

The Africa Center, now under the leadership of Ambassador Rama Yade, shaped its work in 2021 around four pillars: rule of law, the creative and cultural industries, prosperity, and multilateralism.

Rule of Law

In partnership with the Policy Center for the New South (PCNS), the Africa Center convened the G5 Sahel Ministers of Economy for a Sahel Development Summit. This event not only led to critical dialogue surrounding the limits of military containment, but also highlighted the opportunity to focus on development issues through the report Sahel: Moving Beyond Military Containment.

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Using its sphere of influence to promote peace, security, governance, and uphold human rights, the Africa Center hosted a conversation with the former Sudanese Foreign Minister Mariam Al-Mahdi. The former minister, who was in hiding at the time of the event, is one of the most outspoken critics of the military government.

Creative and Cultural Industries

The Africa Center hosted an unprecedented Africa Creative Industries Summit in October 2021. The hybrid event was held on the start date of the most important African film festival in the world, and its focus on African creative and cultural industries was a disruption of traditional thinking surrounding the continent. High-level guests included the president of Ghana, the president of Burkina Faso, the prime minister of Barbados, US State Department officials, members of Congress, industry icons, American CEOs, and leaders of US and African agencies. Artists such as Coumba Gawlo Seck and Nomcebo, who performed her worldwide hit “Jerusalema,” rounded out the unique convening. Due to a partnership with Trace Media, the audience included more than forty-five million viewers in Africa, showcasing the significance of the creative industries in Africa’s success.


Reflecting the ethos of the center’s Afro-Century Initiative, founded in partnership with the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), the center hosted an event to highlight Pan-African partnerships advancing continental vaccine access and investment events like Infracorp, designed to attract investors to Nigerian infrastructure. The convening framed how African agencies and innovation are driving economic recovery after COVID-19. Additionally, the Africa Center hosted the first high-level readout on the 2021 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), featuring expert views on the Chinese commercial footprint in African markets. In a key moment of impact, Senior Fellow Aubrey Hruby delivered Senate testimony on US trade and investment in Africa before the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy.

Latif Cherono, electronics manufacturing manager at the innovation lab called Gearbox for entrepreneurs and artisans, works on the Surface-mount technology (SMT) line at the Industrial area in Nairobi, Kenya, March 15, 2021. REUTERS/Jackson Njehia


The Africa Center launched the Priorities for US-Africa Commercial Policy in the Biden Administration report and for Africa Day hosted Senior Director for Africa in the National Security Council Dana Banks, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and Deputy Assistant Secretary Akunna Cook. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) joined the Africa Center for an #ACFrontPage event to discuss the committee’s ambitions for renewed engagement with African nations and the paths toward a new African narrative.

Big wins of 2021

The Africa Center used #AfricasTimeHasCome throughout 2021, which has been utilized by millions of social media users and has generated several million impressions. Through its convening of more than eight hundred events and publication of 131 reports since its founding, the Africa Center has amplified the meaning of this intentionally chosen hashtag: Africa is a continent of opportunity.

In 2021, the Africa Center bridged the gap between US and African leaders through a series of targeted interventions and promotion of a narrative of confidence in Africa’s future. The center reframed official and investor narratives about the African continent, worked to right-size risk perceptions, and created a sense of urgency and enthusiasm about participating in African states’ growing prosperity.

Vision for 2022

In March 2022, the Africa Center maximized the efforts of the Africa Creative Industries program by hosting the first of five planned forum events for the creative industries agenda, the Sports Business Forum. The center will also host the second annual African Creative Industries Summit to conclude the 2022 Africa Creative Industries programming.

The Africa Center will use the coming year to take the topic of Russia in Africa head on, with a specific focus on the Sahel. Additionally, it will highlight the issue of climate finance and launch an African climate change working group focused on COP27, which will be held in Egypt. Africa business strategy, with an eye toward economic diplomacy and impact investment, will also emerge as a key area of focus, as will agriculture, food insecurity and agribusiness; public health, medical insurance, space development, disability, and medicine policy; and development strategy.


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Annual Report

May 10, 2022

Global China Hub

By Atlantic Council

The China Global Hub was founded in September 2021 to research and devise allied solutions to the global challenges posed by China’s rise.

Read the full report

Image: Jessica Davis Ba, Africa policy advisor for the Office of the Vice President, provided opening remarks at the Africa Creative Industry Summit alongside Ambassador Rama Yade, senior director of the Africa Center.