Associate Research Fellow, Coordinator of the Observatory of Central and Southern Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa Center

Research Interests: 

  • Risk and conflict analysis
  • Security sector reform
  • Governance of natural resources
  • Central Africa, Southern Africa, Great Lakes region
  • Relations between China and Africa


An Independent consultant, Thierry Vircoulon has been a Research Fellow at Ifri since 2006. He coordinates Ifri's Observatory of Central and Southern Africa and collaborates with the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime (South Africa). For 20 years, his work has focused on conflicts, security and governance issues in Africa. He is the author of several books on South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
A graduate of the National School of Administration (Ecole Nationale d'administration - ENA) and Sorbonne University, Thierry Vircoulon has taught a Master's level course on security issues in Sub-Saharan Africa at the Institute for Political Studies (Sciences-Po). He has worked for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Commission on the African continent, particularly in South Africa, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
All my publications

Condemnations of French politics have gained momentum in recent years in French-speaking Africa. The grievances are multiple: military interventions, the persistence of the regional currency inherited from colonial time (CFA franc), development aid policy, restrictive visa policy, etc....

By: Thierry VIRCOULON, Marc-André LAGRANGE

While a state of siege was declared a year ago in two Congolese provinces and Kenyan authorities organized a meeting in Nairobi between the Congolese government and armed groups, the pacification of the Congolese East remains unresolved. This study looks back at the Tshisekedi government's...

By: Thierry VIRCOULON, Dominique LECOMPTE 

Although it has largely gone unnoticed in France, the agreement signed on December 3, 2020 between the European Union (EU) and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP) is a major shift in the long-standing relations between the EU and countries in the Global South. ...

By: Jean-Pierre CABESTAN, Elisa DOMINGUES DOS SANTOS, Zhao Alexandre HUANG, Philippe LE BILLON, Thierry VIRCOULON

China and Africa have enjoyed a strong relationship since the wave of African independences in the 1960s. Nevertheless, relations between China and Africa have significantly expanded since the late 1990s and have been fueled by a growing discourse centered on a “win-win” partnership between...


The Mbororo are Fulani who, unlike the Fulbe, have not become sedentary and have practiced nomadic herding for a long time. However, over the past several decades, they have been undergoing a sedentarization process in northern Cameroon (Septentrion), to the point that many of them have become...

By: Thierry VIRCOULON, Henri-Paul MAGLOIRE

Despite the coronavirus pandemic and the passing of  President Pierre Nkurunziza on June 8, 2020, the election cycle (presidential, legislative, senatorial, communal and hillside elections) have been upheld and went smoothly. Not only has the ruling party, the National Council for...

All my medias