The LSE IDEAS Africa International Affairs Programme is designed to promote greater understanding of the extent to which the recent past in Africa has a particular importance, and relevance for contemporary domestic politics and economies, inter-state relations, and the continent's relationship with the wider world. It aims at assistance and support for historical and political theory research and its publication, as well as the promotion of young African academics.

Africa faces many challenges, but also many opportunities for domestic growth, political stability and normalisation. Challenges include promoting good governance, political stability and social harmony, accelerating growth rates and employment, fighting corruption, and managing climate change. Opportunities include the steps the African nations have taken themselves to address these challenges, supported by the international community. Furthermore, study and discussion of Africa's current relationship with key external players (China, India, Brazil, Russia and the USA) form a key part of the Africa International Affairs Programme's framework.

The programme is broadly divided into five geographic parts but is united by three principle overarching themes. It covers the Magreb (The North Africa Initiative); the Horn; Southern Africa; Central and West Africa. In all of these areas, which mirror the regional economic communities, it envisages fostering collaboration and coordination with established and emerging scholars, universities and research centres through a series of seminars and conference meetings.  Graduate workshops, working seminars and conferences, and oral history meetings from key actors also form a regular part of the programme.

Secondly, it provides an electronic network for scholars, which is being expanded to include practitioners and policy makers. This is available through the LSE IDEAS website.

The third element of the project comprises the support and encouragement of research and scholarship by African scholars, as well as foreign researchers wishing to further their studies in contemporary history and politics in the African region. The assistance to young academics from the region is also conducted through workshops, guest lectures by prominent international scholars, and by encouraging and aiding their contributions to international journals.