Witney Schneidman

Witney Schneidman

Witney Schneidman is a nonresident senior fellow with the Africa Growth Initiative in the Global Economy and Development program at Brookings. He has over four decades of experience working on African economic and political issues. He has served in the U.S. Department of State twice, as deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs and as the South Africa analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the time of South Africa’s democratic transition. While deputy assistant secretary, Schneidman was actively involved in the passage and implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

In addition to his government service, Schneidman spent a decade as a senior adviser at Covington & Burling LLP, where he developed and chaired the firm’s Africa Practice Group that included the opening of an office in Johannesburg. He has also led his own consulting firm and currently is CEO of Schneidman & Associates.

During his career, he has worked with a range of U.S., African, and international companies in more than 35 African countries to mitigate risk, resolve disputes, and assist companies in aligning their commercial objectives with the economic growth objectives of African nations. He has also worked with a number of NGOs on a pro-bono basis who are seeking to enhance their activities on the continent.

Schneidman is the author of “Engaging Africa: Washington and the Fall of Portugal’s Colonial Empire,” which Foreign Affairs described as “a must-read for anyone interested in decolonization or Cold War diplomacy.” He has written extensively on African economic, commercial, and political issues, and has served as a commentator for CNN, the BBC, and NPR, among other media outlets.

He received a doctoral degree in international relations from the University of Southern California, a master’s in international relations from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and his bachelor’s from Temple University.

  • Areas of Expertise

    • U.S.-Africa trade and commercial diplomacy
  • Current Positions

    • President and CEO, Schneidman & Associates International
    • Life Member, Council on Foreign Relations
    • Advisory Board, Economic Club of Africa in New York
    • Advisory Board, Friends of the Legal Resources Center, South Africa
    • Advisory Board, African Centre for the Study of the U.S., University of Witwatersrand
    • Advisory Board, Africa Program, Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars
  • Past Positions

    • Senior Advisor for Africa and Former Chair, Africa Practice, Covington & Burling LLP
    • Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, U.S. Department of State
    • Senior Vice President, Samuels International Associates
  • Education

    • Ph.D., School of International Relations, University of Southern California
    • M.A., Department of Political Science, University of Dar es Salaam
    • B.A., Cum Laude, Department of History, Temple University
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