Kamissa Camara is a senior advisor for Africa 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

Can Algeria Help Niger Recover From Its Army Coup?

Can Algeria Help Niger Recover From Its Army Coup?

Thursday, October 5, 2023

By: Kamissa Camara;  Donna Charles

Democracies and democracy advocates should welcome this week’s tenuously hopeful sign in Algeria’s announcement that the 10-week-old military junta in Niger has accepted Algiers’ offer to mediate in a transition to civilian, constitutional rule. Still, Algeria’s government and the junta left unclear the extent of any agreement on mediation, notably disagreeing on a basic element: the duration of a transition process. Algeria can bring significant strengths to a mediating role. In stepping forward from what most often has been a cautious posture in the region, Algeria creates an opportunity that international partners should seek to strengthen.

Type: Analysis

Civilian-Military RelationsDemocracy & Governance

Countering Coups: How to Reverse Military Rule Across the Sahel

Countering Coups: How to Reverse Military Rule Across the Sahel

Thursday, August 3, 2023

By: Kamissa Camara;  Susan Stigant

Three years of coups around Africa’s Sahel region — eight of them in six nations, from Guinea on the Atlantic to Sudan on the Red Sea — leave many African and other policymakers frustrated over how to respond. The Sahel’s crises have uprooted more than 4 million people and could add millions more to our record levels of global human migration as Africa’s population grows and its climate destabilizes. Yet the pattern of coups and other evidence — notably from USIP’s Sahel fieldwork, counter-coup research and bipartisan analysis teams — offer guidelines for effective responses by African, U.S. and international policymakers.

Type: Analysis

Global Policy

A Coup in Niger: What It Means for Africa, U.S. and Partners

A Coup in Niger: What It Means for Africa, U.S. and Partners

Thursday, July 27, 2023

By: Kamissa Camara

This morning’s coup d’etat in Niger only deepens the pattern of instability across Africa’s Sahel and damages what has been a rare process of fairly steady democracy building in the region. Niger’s democratically elected government has been a valued partner for African and international efforts to stabilize the Sahel against its web of insurgencies, extremist movements and military coups. Kamissa Camara, a former foreign minister of Niger’s neighbor, Mali, now an analyst on the region with USIP, says the coup underlines lessons already evident about how to improve international efforts to build democracy and peace.

Type: Analysis

Civilian-Military RelationsDemocracy & Governance

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

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

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

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