Episodes

  • Youth engagement in the Black and African diaspora stands as a foundational pillar in elevating our communities. The Hidden Genius Project was founded in Oakland, California in 2012 with the goal of revealing the true potential of black male youth. The mission is to develop quality, confident, and healthy young people who can lead. The Hidden Genius Project trains and mentors their geniuses in technology creation, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills to transform their lives and their communities at large. Beyond the United States, the Hidden Genius Project has held activations abroad including in Johannesburg, South Africa and Saly and Dakar, Senegal.
    The CEO and founder of The Hidden Genius Project, Dr. Brandon Nicholson joined Mvemba to dive into what it means to be a hidden genius and how his team curates programs that support their mission.

  • While African youth make up over 70% of the population on the continent, the institutions present are not fit for their participation and representation in government. This is exemplified by the fact that although African youth rely on the informal sector for employment, institutions cater to the formal sector. The youth, therefore, expend time and energy and work in survivalist modes which limit their participation in civic and political engagement. The institutions inherited from colonial powers did not cater to African demographics. Now, African youth are mobilizing, organizing, and campaigning for institutional reform to serve them. 
    Mvemba is joined by McDonald Lewanika, Southern Africa Regional Director at Accountability Lab, to discuss the importance of adapting to Africa’s fast-changing demographics by ensuring that the majority’s voices are catered for and given the appropriate platform. 

  • Whenever the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) makes the headlines, it appears that the challenges the nation is facing are only multiplying. From the escalating conflict in Eastern DRC to what is being called an attempted coup in Kinshasa the question remains: how will the largest sub-Saharan African nation overcome its complex challenges? Governance. Analysts point to weak and uninspired governance as one of the challenges that perpetuate instability in Africa. In May, six months after his election, President Felix Tshisekedi announced the newly appointed government of the DRC. This government faces the daunting task of confronting the array of conflicts and instability in the country.
    Fred Bauma, Senior Fellow and Executive Secretary of Ebuteli, joins Mvemba to discuss the reasons this government took so long to form, the state of governance in DRC, and the expectations of Tshisekedi’s second term in office.

  • After more than three decades of experience as a media entrepreneur, Claude Grunitzky’s passion for telling the authentic stories of Africans has only expanded. While perceptions and narratives of Africa have slightly shifted, the Western gaze on Africa has not. Limitless Africa is “the podcast that asks the questions that matter to Africa” through speaking with strong voices that promote the future of Africa. Mvemba is joined by Claude Grunitzky, Founder of TRACE and friend of the pod, to discuss asking the right questions about Africa, and limitless answers.

  • Since 2018, senior leaders from land forces across Africa, the United States, and other partner nations have met to strengthen their relationships, exchange information, and encourage cooperation at the Africa Land Forces Summit (ALFS). This marked the 5th anniversary of the summit, which was hosted in Livingstone, Zambia with the theme “Regional Solutions to Transnational Problems”. 25 different countries were represented in the summit- a growth from the initial 9 that attended the first summit in Nigeria in 2018.
    Mvemba is joined by Command Sergeant Major Reese Teakell, US Army Southern European Task Force, and Command Sergeant Jeremiah E. Inman, US Army Europe and Africa, to discuss the highlights and achievements of the partnerships between African and partner nations in security training. They delve into the education programs for non-commissioned officers and the importance of leadership development.

  • After attaining independence in 1961, the United Republic of Tanzania became instrumental in liberation movements throughout Africa. Julius Nyerere, Tanzania’s first president, established the ideology of Ujamaa (African socialism) as Tanzania’s political, social, and economic ideology. At the time of independence, the US established diplomatic ties with Tanzania and Nyerere had a close relationship with President John F. Kennedy. Nyerere stepped down from his presidency in 1985 and subsequent presidents opened Tanzania to become more democratic politically and economically while maintaining a socialist philosophy further strengthening relations with the US. However, the presidency of the late President John Magufuli eroded some of the democratic strides that previous presidents had instilled, straining bilateral relations with the US while strengthening ties with China. Nonetheless, the current administration under the leadership of President Samia Suluhu Hassan has beckoned on the United States for an improved relationship and deeper bilateral economic ties.
    Mvemba is joined by Ambassador Michael Battle, United States Ambassador to Tanzania, to discuss the history and current state of U.S.- Tanzania bilateral relations. Ambassador Battle shares his hopes of transformed US-Tanzania relations from an aid and development assistance model to a trade and investment model.

  • President Bassirou Diomaye Faye is not only Senegal’s youngest elected president but also the youngest democratically elected president in Africa. At 44- years old there is a lot of expectation resting on Faye and his mentor Ousmane Sonko as they take the reins after an election run-up that was nothing short of dramatic. Since 2021, protests against former president Macky Sall have left more than 60 people dead and hundreds of political activists jailed. Faye is expected to strengthen the eroded democratic institutions in Senegal that allowed Sall to attempt an unconstitutional bid to sustain his party’s hold on the presidency and that built conditions to repress dissent in the country.
    Hawa Ba, Director of Core Partners in Open Society Foundations, joins Mvemba to share her impressions from the tumultuous election. As the only West African country that has not experienced a coup, Senegal is a beacon of hope that alternative forms of power and governance can be achieved through elections.

  • Since 2022, the East Africa Community (EAC) has expanded to include two new partner states, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Somalia, bringing its membership up to eight partner states. Each nation admitted to the bloc brings its own set of challenges but also expands the opportunities and avenues for cooperation in the region. The EAC has been strong in providing economic opportunities to its partner states and the inclusion of DRC and Somalia prospects to acquire greater markets for the trading states and allow the two nations to grow. On the other hand, the EAC grapples with political integration problems as mistrust and tension exist across the borders of member states, weaving a complex web of alliances and political clashes.
    Beverly Ochieng, CSIS Senior Associate (Non-Resident), and Pascal Kambale, Human Rights Lawyer, join Mvemba to untangle the issues and opportunities faced by the EAC. As the EAC faces a transition period with its new member states, how can it solidify its leadership and ensure that each partner is held to account?

  • “Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all they have.” Project HOPE is a global health and humanitarian aid non-governmental organization founded by Dr. William B. Walsh in 1958.  Their first operations in Africa began in the mid-1960s in Guinea; and since then, they have reached 13 countries in Africa.  
    Project Hope began its work in Sierra Leone during the 2014 Ebola Epidemic to help combat the outbreak. During this period, the organization recognized the need to increase capacity to improve the health outcomes of women, newborns, and children, which has now become the primary focus of their work in the country. The organization has collaborated with the responsive leadership at the Ministry of Health to lower the rate of maternal mortality from 1360 per 100,000 live births to the current rate of 443. Furthermore, Sierra Leone have developed a 5-point strategy of reducing the maternal mortality rate to less than 300 per 100,000 live births by 2025.  
      
    Mvemba is joined by Dr. Uche Ralph-Opara, the Chief Health Officer at Project HOPE to discuss the current situation, work, and progress made by Project Hope in improving maternal health crisis in Sierra Leone.   

  • For a brief moment, it appeared as though all attention had shifted to the 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON), as the tournament gained global attention. The game saw the participation of 24 out of 54 countries in the tournament, hosted by the reigning champions, Côte d’Ivoire, from January to early February 2024.  
    The African Cup of Nations (AFCON) has been hosted in various African nations for over 60 years, with each game surpassing the former. However, AFCON 2023 set a new viewership record of over 2 billion viewers worldwide, making it the most-watched AFCON tournament. Furthermore, the game showcased the abundance of talents present in Africa through the participation of prominent football players such as Victor Osimhen from Nigeria, Achraf Hakimi, from Morocco, Sadio Mane from Senegal, and Mo’ Salah from Egypt, among many others.  
    Join Mvemba and Afolabi Adekaiyaoja, Research Analyst at CDD-West Africa, as they discuss the remarkable achievements of AFCON 2023, its impact on Africa and beyond, and the inextricable links between sports and politics.   

  • Amidst political, economic, and security issues Malians continue to seek justice and reconciliation to restore peace in their country. Since 2012, the Malian government has been engaged in a war against the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MLNA) who intend to secede the Northern region of Mali. Additionally, Mali has experienced 8 attempted coups with 5 of them being successful since its independence in 1960. The turmoil experienced raises questions on how to attain national cohesion and how the Malian government can navigate meeting the plethora of needs that its citizens require. Good governance which is accountable to the people is what Malians are asking for.
    Moussa Kondo, Executive Director Sahel Institute, joins Mvemba to share perspectives and insights into the political and economic landscape of Mali. Kondo expertly shares the historical context of the insecurity in Mali and some reflections on how Mali can overcome the challenges it is facing today.

  • More than 80% of African countries have experienced coups since the 1950s. The occurrence of coups can be seen as a reaction to poor governance that is unresponsive to the needs of the people. Regional and international responses to this “unconstitutional” seizure of power belittles and condescends coup leaders hence ostracizing and condemning already fragile nations without addressing the drivers of coups. Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger’s recent coups culminated with harsh sanctions from the regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). As a result, the three nations formed a mutual defense pact known as Alliance of Sahel States (AES) on September 16, 2023, then withdrew from ECOWAS on January 28, 2024. ECOWAS is accused of being a hypocritical, distant, and elitist club for privileged diplomats whose hostility to these nations drove them out.
    What are the failures of ECOWAS? What lessons can ECOWAS and other regional blocs in Africa learn from this? Mvemba is joined by General Saleh Bala, retired Brigadier General from the Nigerian military and CEO White Ink Consult in Abuja, Nigeria, to discuss how to understand the withdrawal of AES and where ECOWAS falls short as a regional bloc.

  • Youth, technology, and creativity are nurtured and bloom in Africa. These experiences are often diminished in Western media, skewing the understanding of the pace and dynamism of the continent. The youth leverage technology for entrepreneurship, cultural mobilization, political activism, and as a means to share their passions through art. The Roger Muntu Show bridges the gap between Western perspectives and the lived realities of Africans. With an enthusiasm for presenting authentic African stories, Roger Muntu engages Africans across the globe with stories that truly resonate with them. The show bridges connections between politicians, artists, activists, diaspora, and common people to allow for a greater understanding of each other's goals and experiences. Technology is at the forefront of The RM Show’s popularity. 
    Join Mvemba and Roger Muntu, International Broadcast Journalist at Voice of America, as they discuss what it means to be an African journalist. From anecdotes of his experience as a journalist to the impact of his work, Muntu shares why he is passionate about representing Africa authentically. 

  • On the heels of the Africa Climate Summit, the United Nations hosted COP28 in Dubai where world governments discussed how to prepare for and address climate change. The two-week conference culminated with both optimism and pessimism from the participants. Optimism rose from agreements like the Loss and Damage Fund and innovative food systems that tackle food insecurity on the continent. Previous pledges from developed nations in COP15 have not been fulfilled hence the pessimism and skepticism towards the COP28 Declaration. 

    COP28 participant and CSIS Africa Intern, Denis Owiny, joins Mvemba to discuss impressions from the conference, climate financing in Africa, and the future of Africa’s position in the clean energy transition.

  • On November 17th, 2023, President George Weah gracefully conceded to President-elect Joseph Boakai, who secured victory with a narrow margin of just 1.28% in votes. The electoral process was not only marked by a closely contested run-off but also had a first run of twenty candidates. This concession underscores Liberia's positive democratic trajectory and political stability. Furthermore, President Weah upheld the peaceful transition precedent set by his predecessor, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first female president. 

    To delve into the voting trends shaping Liberia's political landscape, Mvemba is joined by Charles Lawrence, Liberian Political Analyst. Together, they discuss the significance of this election, shedding light on the precedent it sets for peaceful and democratic transitions in the country.  

  • Oil and diamonds typically hint towards a strong and robust economy. However, there is a noticeable disconnect between the mineral richness of Angola and the lack of Foreign Direct Investment. This incongruity lingers, although the nation’s civil war ended in 2002, because the reconciliation process has not addressed the core issues that caused the war. Foreign investor and local stakeholder engagement in post-conflict Angola remains timid. This leaves civil society and economic agents unsatisfied with the political and economic landscape of Angola.  
    Sergio Calundungo, Founder of Social Observatory of Angola, and Carlos Rosado de Carvalho, Journalist and Radio Host on MFM Radio, join Mvemba to discuss the “paradox of abundance” that Angola faces. 

  • Although data is a powerful tool in decision-making, data collection and production in Africa have proven to miss the mark in pattern prediction. Afrobarometer is a Pan- African, non-partisan, non-profit research network with headquarters in Ghana that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, the economy, and society in Africa. Dr. Joseph Asunka, the CEO of Afrobarometer, speaks with Mvemba about the challenges in data collection in Africa as well as the ways Afrobarometer is building data collection methodologies for various contexts in Africa.

  • Yes, Chef! Mvemba is joined by Pierre Thiam, a renowned chef, author, and social activist. Hailing from Senegal, Chef Thiam is best known for bringing West African cuisine to the global fine-dining world. Chef Thiam and Mvemba discuss making it in the fine dining world in New York City, the stunning diversity of food from the continent, finding inspiration in tradition, the miracle grain "fonio" and bringing Senegalese food to American supermarkets.

  • Modeled after the Peace Corps, CorpsAfrica empowers African youth to work with local communities, emphasizing local ownership, collaboration, and participatory development. CorpsAfrica founder comments, “We’re creating a second Peace Corps, by and for Africans”. The organization aims to create a lasting impact by addressing community needs through a transformative and scalable model. Volunteers work for one year in high-poverty villages to direct scarce NGO resources to communities that need them. Operating in nine African countries, including Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda, CorpsAfrica addresses two of Africa’s pressing challenges: creating opportunities for youth and helping rural communities overcome poverty. 
    Mvemba is joined by Liz Fanning, Founder and CEO of CorpsAfrica, to discuss the ideas, challenges, and successes of CorpsAfrica as well as the ways African youth are engaging with the organization. 

  • For too long Africa’s role in the fight against climate change has been overlooked and underestimated. While world leaders and non-governmental organizations have tried to address the challenge, both sustainable solutions and actions have not been seen on the continent. The inaugural Africa Climate Summit brought together indigenous activists, African youth, and civil society organizations to discuss solutions to challenges felt by the most vulnerable and affected populations in this crisis. These voices highlighted what is often neglected in private sector-driven solutions by centering African voices, contributions, and demands. 

    After attending the summit, Ikal Angelei, an indigenous rights activist in Kenya, and Serah Makka, Africa Executive Director at ONE, shared their reflections with Mvemba. They share insights from the summit as well as propose some steps to increase the autonomy of Africans in the fight against climate change.