What is NIAS?

National Institute for African Studies (NIAS) is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy think tank committed to promoting sustainable livelihoods through widening access to markets for the poor as a function of improved policy and systems.

Founded by Dele Bello-Williams and Bola Faniku in 2000, NIAS aims to build a coalition of Change Makers contributing via research, discourse, and advocacy to the emergence of reformed institutions and infrastructure that support sustainable livelihoods for the masses.

What is the organisation’s mission?

To end the likelihood of inter-generational poverty transfers within African communities within a generation.

Our Vision

We look forward to a time when most children born to African parents will no longer be guaranteed to grow up poor, but will become net contributors to global commonwealth and knowledge.

We are convinced that the primary role of government in poverty alleviation is to enable people to trade their way out of poverty by focusing its energies on removing institutional, infrastructure, and policy barriers that keep people poor.

Therefore, we are providing practical and thought leadership towards resolving systemic challenges that perpetuate persistent and chronic poverty in Africa and amongst the UK’s African diaspora communities.

Our Forward Strategy

The organisation’s mission has undergone a revision to address our beneficiaries’ urgent needs of the season: achieving sustainable livelihoods. Our work is now focused on providing thought and practical leadership towards resolving challenges posed by persistent and chronic poverty in Africa, as well as amongst UK diaspora communities.

In spite of advances in aid targeting, democracy, technology penetration and international trade, persistent inter-generational poverty transfers continue to plague the communities that we serve.

We continue to develop advanced monitoring and evaluation tools to achieve value for money and to enable us (and our partners) to utilise successful approaches across communities in Africa and the UK.

Who runs NIAS?

NIAS is headed by Executive Director and co-founder, Dele Bello-Williams. Mr. Williams, along with Chairman Luke Kwamya and other members of the board, guides the vision and overall goals of the Institute. Senior staff members and our panel of expert change makers direct our research agenda.

What are the NIAS’ political affiliations?

NIAS is independent, nonpartisan, as such, policy makers from all political persuasions recognise us as a valued source of unbiased analysis.

How is the NIAS funded?

As a registered charity, NIAS relies on membership contributions, grants, and sponsorships from individuals, corporations, and foundations. Member contributions offer us the opportunity to promote our findings and to influence global leaders and experts in our areas of expertise. Our members can attend private events and receive special access at our major conferences. For further information on our supporters, please see the Our Partners page.

What are NIAS’ principal areas of research?

When NIAS was founded in the early 2000, the original focus was on health policy and infrastructure support. This research agenda has expanded to include a broader focus on sustainable development research, with current programme emphasis on widening access to markets for the poor.

We study the factors that drive sustainable economic livelihoods for citizens and communities in urban and rural Africa. We currently prioritise research into widening market access and market infrastructure for growth and job creation. We also study best models and approaches for delivering individual and corporate philanthropic gains to African societies in a sustainable manner.

Where can I find your research reports, slides and videos?

Most of our publications are open source and will be available for free download here. We are currently working to make our publications available to purchase or for free access via this website.

Some of our publications come with video slides and some interactive data, although some of them are reserved for events attendees or members and may not be accessible to general public. Check out our publications section for more information.

Are your events open to the public?

We convene a range of events annually, from our annual Change Maker Awards, to several roundtable discussions and symposiums on topical issues of our research or trending issues. Check out Our Calendar for upcoming events.

The public is welcome to attend our open events, which include opportunities to meet acclaimed authors, development economists and thought leaders in our areas of engagement.

Where is NIAS located?

Our headquarters is based at 12 Castle Hill, Windsor, Berkshire, England. We also have project offices in Brentford and Putney, South West London.

Want to learn more?

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