Southern Africa

Research focuses on policies for generating inclusive and diversified economic growth to tackle inequality, strengthening regional security, consolidating democracy, and adapting to environmental change.

Research events and publications are informed by inclusive engagement with policymakers, investors, businesses, civil society, and media to build a greater understanding of the political economy of southern Africa, produce nuanced analysis and generate policy impact.

The Africa Programme’s work on Angola analyses current and emerging trends in the country’s politics and international relations.

An inclusive process of engagement with economic stakeholders in Zimbabwe is facilitating discussion towards a long-term economic strategy. A conference in Harare in 2017 built on two past projects focused on economic reform and international re-engagement that culminated into reports on The Domestic and External Implications of Zimbabwe’s Economic Reform and Re-engagement Agenda, published in 2016, and Zimbabwe’s International Re-engagement: The Long Haul to Recovery, published in 2014. The programme hosted successive finance ministers Tendi Biti in 2013, Patrick Chinamasa in 2016, and Mthuli Ncube in 2018.

Work on South Africa primarily focuses on the country’s regional and international political and commercial relations. In 2017, a publication discussed the drivers for South Africa’s Economic Engagement in Sub-Saharan Africa, and South African Minister of Trade Rob Davies outlined the country’s regional trading ambitions and their reactions to the UK’s Brexit negotiations. The programme has also engaged on youth perspectives on the country’s future and prospects for higher educational reform.

A 2018 conference on Mozambique examined how the context of the past continues to shape the country’s future. Published in 2015, the report Mozambique to 2018: Managers, Mediators and Magnates addressed the need for policy-makers to balance short-term needs of commercially competitive industries with social needs as well as the constitutional rights and expectations of the country’s citizens. 

The 2019 research paper Prospects for a Sustainable Elite Bargain in Mozambique: Third Time Lucky? explores Mozambique’s peace process and the risks ahead of the country’s 2019 elections.

The 2013 report Swaziland: Southern Africa’s Forgotten Crisis supported efforts for inclusive reform in eSwatini.

Work on sustainable development and job creation through bio-diversity conservation and regional political co-operation has focused on the Kavango-Zambezi transfrontier conservation area encompassing Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Zambia was a core case study for a 2017 study on creating businesses of scale for employment generation.