Kamissa Camara is a senior visiting expert for the Sahel at the U.S. Institute of Peace. She is a sub-Saharan Africa policy analyst and practitioner with 15 years of professional experience.

She has served as Mali’s minister of foreign affairs, minister of digital economy and planning, and most recently, as chief of staff to the president of Mali. Previous to that, she served as senior foreign policy advisor to the president.

Prior to working with the Malian government, Camara held leadership positions in Washington, D.C. with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and PartnersGlobal. At NED, Camara co-founded and co-chaired the Sahel Strategy Forum. She also spearheaded a multi-million-dollar program supporting civil society initiatives in West and Central Africa, with a particular focus on the Sahel.

From 2015 until 2018, she was the Sahel and sub-Saharan Africa instructor at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute where she trained U.S. diplomats before their postings in the region.

A well-published political commentator and television pundit, Camara has been featured, heard, and seen on CNN, Aljazeera, Voice of America, The Washington Post, France24, and RFI, among others. Camara holds a master’s in international economics and development from Université Grenoble Alpes and a bachelor’s in international relations from Université de Paris. 

Publications By Kamissa

Chad: President Déby’s Death Leaves Vacuum in Volatile Region

Chad: President Déby’s Death Leaves Vacuum in Volatile Region

Thursday, April 22, 2021

By: Kamissa Camara;  Jérôme Tubiana

The sudden violent death of Idriss Déby, the leader of Chad since 1990, throws the central African country into uncertainty. During a visit to the military frontline, Déby was allegedly killed in fighting in the country’s Lake Chad region, just days after the uncompetitive April 11 presidential elections in which he was re-elected for a sixth term. As USIP’s Kamissa Camara and researcher Jérôme Tubiana explain, Déby’s death does not change the structural deficiencies of the Chadian state. At the same time, Déby’s death leaves the West without a long-time ally in counterterrorism in the greater Sahel and Lake Chad Basin, and how the transition is managed has implications for the wider region, too.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & GovernanceViolent Extremism

It Is Time to Rethink U.S. Strategy in the Sahel

It Is Time to Rethink U.S. Strategy in the Sahel

Thursday, April 15, 2021

By: Kamissa Camara

Close to 10 years after the French military intervention pushed al-Qaida affiliated fighters out of northern Mali, the Sahel region continues to make headlines with the world’s fastest growing Islamist insurgency and one of the world’s most severe humanitarian crises. Across the region, insecurity and socio-political instability continue to reach new heights. Yet, unrelenting setbacks in the fight against terrorism are undermining political support for international actors within a region where a donor “traffic jam” is currently at play. For these reasons, a change in international policy toward the Sahel is not only necessary, it has become inevitable.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

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