Our missions

IFRA Nairobi
IFRA Nairobi

The French Institute for Research in Africa is active since 1977 in East Africa and has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Institute exists to promote research in all the disciplines in the humanities and social sciences within East Africa. It has a strong tradition of research in geography, political science, anthropology and history. In addition, it opened up to archaeology recently.

Its main missions are  :

  • To increase understanding of contemporary dynamics in Eastern Africa and foster the dissemination of knowledge. Research undertaken leads to the publication of books, journals, reports and to the organization of conferences.
  • To provide training to French, East African and European students in research by financing and/or supporting their fieldwork, helping networking between French and East African researchers and  institutions, fostering integration within ongoing research projects, and giving access to publications and presentations in conferences.
  • To strengthen  institutional relationship between French and East African universities and research centres by supporting joint operations, agreements of international cooperation, inter-academic exchanges and mobilities at the PhD and Master levels.

The Institute works under the French ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Centre national de la recherche scientifique, the French main research body. It is part in the French Research Centers Abroad network IFRE.

A Short History of IFRA-Nairobi

In 1977, a Centre of African Studies was established within the Maison Française in Nairobi by a group of scholars from the School of Higher Studies in Social Sciences / École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris, France). This centre aimed at coordinating the work of African research centres in France, West and East Africa. In 1980, it became the Centre of Research, Exchange and Scholarly Documentation (CREDU). Its missions included the strengthening of collaborations between universities in Eastern Africa and France in the field of social sciences and humanities. In 1992, CREDU became the French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA-Nairobi).

After years of collaboration, the IFRA and the BIEA (British Institute in Eastern Africa) moved in shared buildings in Nairobi in July 2009 and were joined later by the Rift Valley Institute.

Former directors: Denis-Constant Martin (1979-1981), Jean-François Médard (1981-1986), Jean Copans (1985-1989), Alain Ricard (1990-1992), Colette Le Cour Grandmaison (1992-1996), Bernard Charlery de la Masselière (1996-2000), Philippe Bocquier (2001-2005), Bernard Charlery de la Masselière (2006-2007), Bernard Calas (2008-2010), Christian Thibon (2010-2014).

Formers researchers: Daniel Bourmaud (1981-1984), Ariel Crozon (1993-1997), Francois Grignon (1997-2000), Hervé Maupeu (2000-2005), Hélène Charton (2005-2008), Jérôme Lafargue (2008-2011), Marie-Aude Fouéré (2011-2014).