In 2003, the Regional Bureau for Africa requested the Oslo Governance Center of UNDP to organize a consultation on the creation of an institute, which would examine the overall role of governance in the context of African development. Several subsequent consultations (Oslo, Addis-Ababa and Pretoria) led to the development of a concept paper that was examined and approved in June 2005 during the last consultation in Dakar.
Professor Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, then outgoing Director of the Oslo Governance Center, was appointed to serve as a full-time facilitator for the establishment of AGI.
A Steering Committee, composed mainly of the partner institutions and eminent African scholars, was empowered to assist and guide the Facilitator in the performance of his duties.
The Institute has its headquarters at Dakar in Senegal where it benefits from a Headquarters Agreement and the status of an African international organization. It has a Governing Board with 11 members, a Scientific Committee and an Executive Secretariat.