Zainab Usman is a senior fellow and director of the Africa Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Her fields of expertise include institutions, economic policy, energy policy and emerging economies in Africa.
Prior to Carnegie, Usman was a public sector specialist at the World Bank, where she worked on social sustainability, policy reforms, natural resources management and disruptive technologies. Her work has covered the Cote d’Ivoire, Morocco, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Congo, Serbia, Tanzania and Uzbekistan. Usman’s writings have been published widely: she is the author of Economic Diversification in Nigeria: The Politics of Building a Post-Oil Economy, which was selected as one of the Best Books of 2022 on economics by the Financial Times, and co-editor of The Future of Work in Africa: Harnessing the Potential of Digital Technologies for All. Usman also contributed to World Bank’s flagship report Rethinking Power Sector Reforms in Developing Countries; her other analytical pieces have been published by the journal of African Affairs, the World Bank’s Policy Research and Working Paper Series, and as book chapters in edited volumes with Oxford University Press and James Currey. Her written and broadcast commentary has appeared in Al-Jazeera English, BBC, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Project Syndicate and The Washington Post, among others.
Born in Nigeria, Usman obtained her doctorate from the University of Oxford. She previously worked at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford and has consulted for the UK’s Department of International Development.