John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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New CSIS Reports on Africa

by John Campbell
July 19, 2011

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni speaks at the presentation of the Government Budget for the year 2011/2012 at the Serena conference center in the capital Kampala, June 8, 2011. (Edward Echwalu/Courtesy Reuters)

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has released ten case studies on “Assessing Risks to Stability in Sub-Saharan Africa.” The reports cover Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia,  Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan and Uganda. The papers, commissioned by the U.S. Africa Command, use a common framework, identifying conditions, catalysts, and triggers, to examine the stability and potential threats to each country.

These papers fill an important space in the literature on sub-Saharan Africa, providing good introductions for the non-specialist to these countries in less than thirty pages each. Scholarly experts in their respective fields authored each paper, and the arguments are carefully constructed.

While the authors note that there are some common characteristics and conditions among the case studies—population growth, climate change, and inequality—they attempt to avoid over generalizations and focus on each country’s individual circumstances. In general, they take care to root their arguments in the historical context that they provide. In fact, these sections are useful  in of themselves, as most of this information is often only available across multiple sources or within the academic literature.

A recommended read for nonspecialists, students, and policymakers alike.

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