The Institute for African Alternatives (IFAA) is an independent progressive Pan-African organization committed to the development of alternative social and economic policies in South Africa, the African continent and beyond.
IFAA’s principal objectives are to promote:
  • Environmentally sustainable economic transformation and redistribution.
  • Non-racialism, anti-racism and rejects all forms of derogation and discrimination.
  • Maintenance of our democratic systems, the values of the constitution and an active civil society.
  • Continental solidarity and African self-reliance.
  • Inter-generational and youth participation in political and social discussions.
  • Dialogue on critical current issues on diverse platforms.

About Us

IFAA promotes alternative ideas on social, ecological and economic transformation by engaging civil society who see inequalities on the basis of race, gender, class, ethnicity and caste, among others, as impediments to a flourishing society.

IFAA engages in broad policy research and advocacy, with a current focus on industrial policy,  and raises critical issues for debate through our publications and public forums. IFAA aims to produce and promote constructive analysis of South African and African socioeconomic and political issues and provide a platform for the dissemination of progressive views. IFAA encourages critical engagement with mainstream discourses. 


Our History

IFAA was founded in London in 1986 by radical political economists Prof. Bade Onimode (Nigeria), Prof. Ben Turok (South Africa), Prof. Abdoulaye Bathily (Senegal), Sheperd Nzombe (Zimbabwe), Prof. Kwame Ninsin        (Ghana), Prof. Mahomed Suleiman (Sudan), and Prof. Haroub Othman (Tanzania). IFAA was launched in part to address the decline of African economies caused by both harsh  restructuring policies imposed by the Bretton Woods organisations as well as poor governance in many countries.  IFAA’s approach to development achieved considerable    international prominence. At its height, IFAA had centres in six African countries (Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Tanzania, Sudan) as well as an office in London. The institute cooperated with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). IFAA hosted   numerous conferences and published several substantial works on Africa’s developmental challenges. Unfortunately, due to funding concerns, the IFAA centres closed in the early 1990s.

Prof. Ben Turok re-established IFAA in South Africa on his return from exile in 1991. This was followed by the launch of New Agenda: South African Journal of Social and Economic Policy in the early 2000s. IFAA offices moved to central Cape Town in 2014 when Prof. Turok retired from parliament that year. The Institute is now based at Community House in Salt River, Cape Town.

Our Staff

  • Acting Director: Prof. Ari Sitas
  • Administration: Shamielah Booley
  • Research and Events: Bruce Kadalie
  • Research Services Manager: Rachael Nyirongo
  • Project Manager: Christine Leibach
  • Production Editor: Moira Levy
  • Assistant Researcher: Jason Hartzenberg

IFAA Board

The IFAA Board consists of the following distinguished academics, former members of government and civil society leaders:

Hon. Kgalema Motlanthe

(Chair) Former President of the Republic of South Africa, Patron of the Kgalema Motlanthe Foundation

Mr Tony Ehrenreich

Parliamentary Liaison Officer for COSATU

Mr Pallo Jordan

Former Minister of Arts and Culture

Prof. Evance Kalula

Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Cape Town, Chair, ILO Committee of Freedom of Association

Prof. Steven Robins

Professor of Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, University of Stellenbosch


Prof. Ari Sitas

Former Head of Department of Sociology, University of Cape Town, writer, dramatist and poet

Ms. Buyelwa Sonjica

Former Minister of Arts and Culture

Prof. Viviene Taylor

Former Head of Department of Social Development, University of Cape Town