Ambassador James C. Swan is a Senior Advisor in ASG’s Africa practice, drawing on his long career as a diplomat working in and with countries facing complex political transitions to help the firm’s clients navigate in overseas markets.
Previously, Ambassador Swan served as U.S. Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where he guided a team of more than 125 diplomats, military personnel, and development professionals – along with more than 400 Congolese staff – during a period of intense U.S. diplomacy that saw the defeat of the M23 rebel group, increased international support for governance and stabilization programs, and a negotiated political settlement that averted a violent conflict at the end of the DRC President’s constitutional mandate.
Ambassador Swan also served as U.S. Special Representative for Somalia. During his tenure, the U.S. government formally recognized the Somali government for the first time in more than 20 years. Previously, he was Ambassador to Djibouti, where he led a significant increase in U.S. military cooperation with Djibouti while also expanding U.S. support to the health, education, and governance sectors.
In addition to his postings overseas, Ambassador Swan served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in Washington, DC, where he managed U.S. policies and programs in 23 central and east African countries. He also was Director of African Analysis in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research. In this role, he served as principal liaison on African issues between the U.S. Department of State and the intelligence community.
Earlier in his career, Ambassador Swan held assignments as Deputy Chief of Mission in Kinshasa, DRC and Brazzaville, Republic of Congo; Desk Officer for Congo/Zaire; Political Officer in Somalia, Cameroon, and Nicaragua; and Consular Officer in Haiti. Before joining the Foreign Service, he worked as a Management Analyst in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education.
Ambassador Swan holds a B.Sc. degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, and a Master’s in Security Studies from the National War College. He speaks fluent French.
He is based in Nairobi, Kenya.