Richard Joseph, a Nonresident Senior Fellow in Global Economy and Development at the Brookings Institution, is the John Evans Professor of International History and Politics at Northwestern University. Former fellow of The Carter Center, Atlanta, he focuses on African governance, political economy, and democratization. As a lecturer at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, Joseph’s understanding of the misuse of Africa’s human, physical and natural resources underwent a fundamental shift as reflected in his essay “Affluence and Underdevelopment: The Nigerian Experience” (1978). During the subsequent three decades, he has confronted directly – in publications, seminars, lectures, and collaborative research programs – impediments in Africa to democracy and economic growth, the building of efficient public and private institutions, the reduction of systemic corruption and poverty, and the ending of violent conflict.
In a USIP Special Report in 2002, entitled “Smart Partnerships for African Development,” he drew on lessons learned over the previous twenty-five years that include two years as a Ford Foundation program officer and six years of direct engagement with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter conducting peace and democracy initiatives in several African countries, notably Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Sudan and Zambia. With the support of the Dutch Foreign Ministry, he initiated at Northwestern the Consortium for Development Partnerships (CDP) in 2004 and oversaw projects by West African researchers on governance, democracy and agribusiness. A grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2006 supported the creation of the Research Alliance to Combat HIV/AIDS (REACH). Survey research has been conducted on HIV prevention and treatment in several Nigerian communities involving dozens of researchers, graduate students, and field assistants backed by an international team. The policy-relevant findings of this pioneering program will be made available in reports and public symposia in spring 2010.
In his joint positions at Northwestern and the Brookings Institution, he will focus on the following:
• Africa 2020: Governance, Security and Development. It will advance ideas and action to achieve progress in these three critical areas during the next decade
• A Nigeria Project to promote collaborative efforts on overlapping policy challenges in this major country
• advancing innovative thinking about development aid based on his co-edited book, Smart Aid for African
• writing monographs based on his diverse experiences as a scholar, policy advocate and
• assisting the forthcoming administration of the United States government, and those of other countries and multilateral organizations, in the search for more effective policies to achieve political progress, economic growth, and poverty reduction in the complex terrain of contemporary Africa. His essays and talks are available at http://www.brookings.edu/experts/josephr.aspx.