The Horn of Africa consists of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somaliland, Puntland and Somalia. The Institute has worked in the region since 2008. The first annual RVI Horn of Africa Course was held in Djibouti in 2008; in subsequent years it has been held on the north Kenyan coast, and in Jinja, Uganda. The Institute has undertaken various research and evaluation projects in the region, notably an account of the threats to Somaliland’s stability following the 2010 elections, published as Securing the Peace in Somaliland.
The RVI Rift Valley Forum for Research, Policy and Local Knowledge—previously the Nairobi Forum—established in 2012, is designed to promote critical discussion of political, economic, and social issues in Eastern and Central Africa. The Forum organises debates, seminars, lectures and book launches in Nairobi and elsewhere in the region bringing together researchers, policy makers, activists and representatives of affected communities
In 2013 the RVI initiated the Security and Justice Research Programme, a multi-year study focusing on the security and justice sectors in Somalia and Somaliland. Funded by the UK Department for International Development, the programme is designed to guide aid priorities.
In February 2014, the Redsea Cultural Foundation and RVI received a grant from the European Union to establish a permanent Cultural Centre in Hargeysa. The Centre was formally opened in August, during the 2014 Hargeysa International Book Fair, an annual event organised by Redsea Cultural Foundation. The Centre is intended to establish Hargeysa as a cultural hub in the Somali-speaking region, a place where artists from throughout the Horn of Africa can engage with Somali culture and society, and where youth in particular can express and develop their artistic talents.