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The Institute on African Affairs and the Journal of African Policy Studies: A Brief History

The Journal of African Policy Studies (JOAP) is a leading journal that focuses on policy issues pertaining to Africa. It was created in 1995 by the former Institute on African Affairs (IAA) a Think Tank based in Washington, D.C. 

About IAA

IAA worked to affect and promote policy issues of interest and relevance to African countries through organizing conferences, fostering discussions, and crafting policy options with the hope of affecting change in specific areas of public policies both in Africa and outside of Africa. Some of the Institutes major discussions included its 1991 Conference on the Environment, Development, and Democracy. This conference convened through a grant offered by Copleland featured as keynote speaker, the Honorable Robert McNamara, former Defense Secretary of the United States and President of the World Bank. Among other speakers were Dr. Mahmoud Mamdeni of Columbia University, Dr. Richard Joseph of Emory University and Dr. Nzo Ngola of Howard University. The 1991 conference was followed in subsequent years by others, focused on Health, Trade and Investment, Conflict Management, etc. These conferences featured speakers from very high levels of government, think thanks and the corporate world in Africa, the United States, the World Bank and Academia. Past participants in the programs included, the Honorable Soglo, the first democratically elected President in Africa during the Democratic awakening in Africa of the 1990s, the Honorable Ms. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who would go on to become Africa’s first female elected president and president of Liberia, Dr. Amos Sawyer who also became president of Liberia, Dr. Ali Mazrui, professor at State University of New York at Binghamton, and producer of the Television Series, The African, Dr. Ismail Seregaldin, then Director of the Africa Region at the World Bank’s Technical Department, Dr. Richard Bissell, Director of Science and Technology at the US Agency for International Development, Dr. Kevin Cleaver, Director of the Agriculture Department at the World Bank, Ms. Regina Brown, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Africa at the US State Department, Health Ministers from Zimbabwe, Namibia, Morocco, and Ambassadors from the various African countries in Washington D.C. amongst the most prominent, the Ambassadors from Zambia, Ivory Coast, Mali, Burkina Faso, etc. 

Despite its noticeable activities, there was something lacking. This was the fact that the institute needed a forum that would attract experts from across Africa, and the world who work on policy issues relevant to Africa to make contributions to the discussions and suggestions on remedies. The Institute’s founder and Executive Director, Dr. Moses Tesi , recommended to the Board the creation of a Journal that would focus attention on researching, publishing, and disseminating findings and policy relevant pieces to better affect decision-makers on various issues facing Africa. After much discussion and debate, the Board agreed. Because of a lack of funding, publication of the journal was stalled. There was also the issue of finding an Editor. The goal was to have as editor, a reputable scholar whose credibility and reputation would generate interest among prospective authors. Based on the recommendation of Dr. Sullayman Nyang, one of the Board members, we contacted Dr. Edmond Keller, Professor of Political Science and Director of the James Coleman African Studies Center at the University of California, Los Angeles to request that he become Editor. Dr. Keller accepted and so we began work on producing the journal under the name The Journal on African Policy Studies (JOAPS) in 1995. Dr. Keller designated one of his graduate students, Angelica Muaka to serve as his editorial assistant. Dr. Tesi, IAA’s Executive Director became Managing Editor. The Coleman Center at UCLA financed the journal’s editorial activities and did not bill or demand refunds from IAA. For that IAA was very appreciative. 

However, without any resources to support the journal, the financial cost became too much for the Coleman Center to bear. So because of the cost, Dr. Keller returned the editorial activities of JOAPS to the Managing Director, Dr. Tesi and stepped down as Editor. He stepped down after putting the journal on good footing. He had put together a strong Editorial Board of accomplished personalities that worked on Africa. He had also published the first three volumes of the journal and they were of impeccable quality. Dr. Keller remained a member of the Editorial Board and continued to offer advice to the publication. Dr. Tesi, who became editor, has been guiding the journal ever since Dr. Keller’s contribution to the journal both in his efforts, time, and resources cannot be forgotten. Unfortunately, a year after Dr. Keller stepped down and the financial support that his center had offered to found and finance the journal was no longer available, the Institute’s hope of getting a grant from the Ford Foundation (after it had received a small proposal writing grant from the same institution to develop its proposal further), was dashed when it received notification some months later saying it had been refused the grant it had requested. 

Without the grant it had anticipated from the Ford Foundation, the IAA could not carry out its activities. So, it folded. However, publication of the Journal of African Policy Studies continued under Dr. Tesi as editor on a reduced scale of two issues due to cost. Using his University’s facilities, graduate assistant, plus the meager revenue derived from subscription has been what has kept it going.

The Journal has published from some of the leading experts on Africa in a variety of policy areas. It has produced a highly respected volume on Health, Environment, Fertility, Nigeria, etc. Amongst some of the well- known names that have published in the journal are Ali Mazrui, Goran Heyden, John F. Clark, Edmond Keller, Earl Conteh-Morgan, Tinanjaye Moluwa etc.  

JOAPS and IAA’s functioning had also been due to the generous collaboration and contribution in time and support from Ms. Carrie Crawford, Mr. James O’Connor, Ms. Barbara Abel, Mr. Richard Noukelack, Dr. Sullayman Nyang, Dr. Edmond Keller, Dr. Richard Bissell, Mr. Richard Westebe, the Honorable Ms. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Dr. Kevin Cleaver, Ms. Regina Brown, etc.

Moses K. Tesi

Co-Founder the Institute on African Affairs 

Principal-Founder, the Journal of African Policy Studies

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Contact Us

JOURNAL OF AFRICAN POLICY STUDIES

Department of Political Science and Intl. Relations

Middle Tennessee State University

Murfreesboro, TN 37132, United States of America

Dr. Moses  K. Tesi, Editor

Email: Moses.Tesi@mtsu.edu
Mr. Baye M. Sambou, Assistant Editor

Email: bs5v@mtmail.mtsu.edu   

Ph. 615 898-5731

Fax: 615 898-5460