Ali A. Mazrui Senior Fellow

Abdourahmane (Rahmane) Idrissa is a political scientist with strong interests in history and political economy. He obtained his doctorate at the University of Florida following research work on democratization and political Islam in the Sahel before developing an expertise in the political economy of development in the course of a two-year postdoc at the universities of Oxford and Princeton. He is currently a senior researcher at Leiden University’s African Studies Centre.

Idrissa is widely published in English and French, including a wide-ranging book on the Politics of Islam in the Sahel which covers five countries and multiple historical periods, and L’Afrique pour les nuls – ‘Africa for dummies’ – produced in the French version of the popular ‘for dummies’ collection. His recent research work focuses on what Jihadist violence is doing to state building and sociopolitical democratization in the Sahel region, in particular the countries of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. Part of this work is carried out in collaboration between the Dutch research institute Clingendael and a think tank Idrissa founded in Niger, EPGA.

Some of Idrissa’s work is also published in large circulation magazines such as the London Review of Books or the New York Review of Books, as well as in the New Left Review and Sidecar.

As a fellow at the Institute, Idrissa will be working on a book about the Songhay Empire and the significant changes that has occurred on the global stage during its century of existence, the pivotal sixteenth century. The book is under contract with publishers Allen Lane and Penguin Books.