This session will feature Judd Devermont, former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council (NSC). He has also served as the special advisor for Africa strategy at the NSC from 2021-2022. Prior to the NSC, he served as the director of the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and as the National Intelligence Officer for Africa, leading the U.S. intelligence community’s analytic efforts on sub-Saharan Africa.

Registration: This event is in-person for attendees. RSVP required.


Speaker: Judd Devermont, former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council (NSC)
Moderator: Natalie Colbert, Executive Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Judd Devermont is an Operating Partner at Kupanda Capital, a pan-African investment platform to advise, create, and scale companies that have lasting impact.

Prior to joining Kupanda, Mr. Devermont served as Special Assistant to President Biden and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council. In this role, he was responsible for coordinating U.S. responses to major political, security, and economic challenges across the region. He also authored the U.S. Strategy toward Sub-Saharan Africa; helped stage the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in 2022; launched major new initiatives, including increasing African permanent representation in international bodies and establishing the President’s Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement; and directed billions of dollars toward infrastructure, digital connectivity, and clean energy projects.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Devermont was the Director of the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) from 2018-2021 where he convened numerous private and public conferences, as well as published more than a hundred reports and analytic articles on African issues. He also hosted Into Africa, a biweekly podcast series on African politics and policy and cohosted 49, a limited podcast series on U.S. strategy toward Africa. Mr. Devermont was a frequent commentator in print, on radio, and on television, as well as an expert witness at U.S. Congressional hearings.

A former career intelligence officer, Mr. Devermont was the National Intelligence Officer for Africa at the National Intelligence Council from 2015-2018. In this position, he was responsible for leading the U.S. intelligence community’s analytic efforts on sub-Saharan African issues and represented the Director of National Intelligence at interagency meetings. He also was the Central Intelligence Agency’s senior political analyst on Africa and spent more than a decade analyzing emerging trends and key developments across the continent.

In addition, Mr. Devermont worked at the National Security Council from 2011-2013, contributing to President Obama’s Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa in 2012 and coordinating the U.S. approach to Somalia, Nigeria, and the Sahel, as well as its partnership with the African Union.

Mr. Devermont has a master’s degree in African Studies from Yale University with bachelor’s degree in history from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has lived in Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, and South Africa, and has travelled extensively across the continent.