On the academic side of policy analysis, some of the best sources I’ve found are African think tanks. A representative sampling:
- African Economic Research Consortium
- Centre for Social Science Research (South Africa)
- Consortium pour la Recherche Economique et Sociale (Senegal)
- Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (Senegal)
- Economic Policy Research Center (Uganda)
- Ethiopian Development Research Institute
- Heritage Institute for Policy Studies (Somalia)
- Institute for Empirical Research in Political Economy (Benin)
- Institute for Security Studies (South Africa)
- Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (Ghana)
- Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis
- Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research
- Pole Institute (DRC)
- Rift Valley Institute (Kenya)
- South African Institute of International Affairs
- Sudd Institute (South Sudan)
The African Women’s Development Fund maintains a list of experts in a variety of thematic areas. Internationally, the Brookings Institute’s Africa Growth Initiative is run by three African scholars, and the Wilson Center offers an occasional Southern Voices program, which features monthly policy analysis pieces by African scholars. Jonathan Bhalla has pointed my attention to Africa Research Institute’s Policy Voices series. The Social Science Research Council also runs a site called Kujenga Amani (“to build peace” in Swahili) featuring essays by African analysts.
One of the main avenues for citizen engagement with African politics and development is radio, since it’s accessible in places where poor infrastructure or illiteracy hinder the reach of print media. I don’t have any specific recommendations here, but if any readers have stations they’d like to recommend, it would be great to hear about them. GlobalVoices also aims to capture citizen media stories about sub-Saharan Africa. The Mail & Guardian’s Voices of Africa series also sources stories from around the continent, although they tend to be more focused on social issues and less political.
Finally, there’s some really exciting work going on among diaspora networks. While not aimed at policy analysis per se, Africans in the Diaspora is working to engage Africans abroad with development at home, and providing funding and training to domestic NGOs. The Diaspora African Women’s Network also looks like a great resource, with articles like this one on how diaspora organizations can influence the global development debate.