Knowledge production and management has a crucial role in contemporary societies and more specifically in Africa, in relation with capacity development gaps. For this reason, African think tanks have a peculiar position and action in the knowledge-power interface, between exogenous and endogenous political actors and processes in African contexts. It is therefore necessary to examine the political impacts of African think tanks. The political impact here does not refer to political parties and to partisan relations, but to the more complex political powers/relations (intertwining internal and external actors) at the national level in African contexts. Using insights from seven ACBF-supported think tanks across the continent as well as a review of the literature available in this domain, the presentation will highlight some preliminary results of a wider research examining the mutual interactions between African political powers and environments (including political leadership) and think tanks. Capacity gaps of think tanks will be examined to see whether and eventually how they limit their political impact in terms of policy research and action. Drawing some provisional conclusions, the presentation will raise some questions to reflect on the way ACBF (and other capacity building institutions) could fund more effectively think tanks across the continent to increase their effectiveness and performance and thereafter enhance their impact on the political arenas of African countries.