John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Afrobarometer Poll Questions the “Africa Rising” Narrative

by John Campbell Thursday, October 31, 2013
A woman, displaced by recent fighting between Congolese army and the M23 rebels, carries firewood in the rain in Munigi village near Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo September 1, 2013. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) A woman, displaced by recent fighting between Congolese army and the M23 rebels, carries firewood in the rain in Munigi village near Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo September 1, 2013. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

Afrobarometer is a research project coordinated by institutions in African countries and with partners in thirty-one countries. It recently conducted a survey of public opinion across thirty-four African countries that showed popular skepticism about the “Africa Rising” narrative. This, despite relatively high growth rates. Read more »

Adolescent Motherhood: Children Giving Birth to Children

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Wednesday, October 30, 2013
A woman carrying her baby and wrapped with a shawl walks through a sandstorm in Timbuktu July 29, 2013.  (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters) A woman carrying her baby and wrapped with a shawl walks through a sandstorm in Timbuktu July 29, 2013. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Emily Mellgard, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program.

The UNFPA’s 2013 “State of the World Population” report, published today, focuses on “Motherhood in Childhood.” It puts a very necessary spotlight on the alarming rates of girls and young women, mostly in developing countries, who continue to give birth to children while they are still children themselves. Read more »

Africa’s Brain Drain: Nigerian Medical Doctors

by John Campbell Tuesday, October 29, 2013
A woman has her blood pressure checked as others wait for a medical examination at the health centre in Gbangbegouine village, western Ivory Coast, July 4, 2013. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters) A woman has her blood pressure checked as others wait for a medical examination at the health centre in Gbangbegouine village, western Ivory Coast, July 4, 2013. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters)

It is well known that the departure of educated and highly trained Africans from their continent is a significant break on development. With respect to medical doctors, the president of the Nigeria Medical Association, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, MD, placed this reality in high relief in a press interview on September 27. Read more »

Unpacking Africa’s Growth Forecasts: Potentials and Risks

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Monday, October 28, 2013
Workers are seen in front the construction site of Eskom's Medupi power station, a new dry-cooled coal fired power station, in Limpopo province, June 8, 2012. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters) Workers are seen in front the construction site of Eskom's Medupi power station, a new dry-cooled coal fired power station, in Limpopo province, June 8, 2012. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Diptesh Soni. Diptesh is a master’s degree candidate at the Columbia University School of International Public Affairs (SIPA) studying economic and political development. You can read more by him at: https://dipteshsoni.contently.com/. Read more »

African Statistics: Poor Numbers and Political Wrangling

by John Campbell Friday, October 25, 2013
A man walks past a light rail station under construction at the Orile-Iganmu district in Lagos August 29, 2013. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) A man walks past a light rail station under construction at the Orile-Iganmu district in Lagos August 29, 2013. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

Morten Jerven, an academic at Canada’s Simon Fraser University, published an important book for those who believe that decision-making should be informed by facts. His book, Poor Numbers: How We are Misled by African Development Statistics and What to Do About It, was published earlier this year by Cornell University Press. Read more »

New South African Opposition Party Focuses on African National Congress’ Corruption

by John Campbell Thursday, October 24, 2013
Former Managing Director of World Bank, Mamphela Ramphele, speaks during the Youth Engagement Summit 2009 in Putrajaya outside Kuala Lumpur November 16, 2009. (Bazuki Muhammad/Courtesy Reuters) Former Managing Director of World Bank, Mamphela Ramphele, speaks during the Youth Engagement Summit 2009 in Putrajaya outside Kuala Lumpur November 16, 2009. (Bazuki Muhammad/Courtesy Reuters)

Mamphela Ramphele’s new political party, AgangSA is making high level corruption a political issue in the run-up to South Africa’s 2014 national elections. Her party has called for a minimum sentence of fifteen years for any public official convicted of corruption, and the same for any member of the public convicted of corrupting a public official. She is also calling for new legislation that would prohibit government officials and their families from doing business with the government. In her travels around the country, she is visiting townships and “informal” (shack) settlements, where she highlights the fact that the principal victims of corruption are the very poor. Read more »

Slavery: As Modern as It Is Ancient

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Mauritanian anti-slavery protesters march to demand the liberation of imprisoned abolitionist leader Biram Ould Abeid in Nouakchott, May 26, 2012. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters) Mauritanian anti-slavery protesters march to demand the liberation of imprisoned abolitionist leader Biram Ould Abeid in Nouakchott, May 26, 2012. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Emily Mellgard, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program.

The Australia based, Walk Free Foundation on Oct 17 published their first annual Global Slavery Index. The Index ranks 162 countries by how prevalent slavery is in each country and by absolute numbers of the population that is in slavery. Read more »

Boko Haram Terror on Northern Nigeria’s Highways

by John Campbell Tuesday, October 22, 2013
A woman crosses a deserted road in Bulumkutu, after the military declared a 24-hour curfew over large parts of Maiduguri in Borno State May 19, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) A woman crosses a deserted road in Bulumkutu, after the military declared a 24-hour curfew over large parts of Maiduguri in Borno State May 19, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Drew Hinshaw in the Wall Street Journal reports Boko Haram terror on the four hundred-mile long highway between Kano (northern Nigeria’s largest city) and Maiduguri (the Northeast’s largest city). He reports incidences of chain-saw beheadings of truck drivers at the hands of Boko Haram members, perhaps an indication of the high propaganda value of such brutal murders. Read more »

Reflections on United States Counterterrorism Mistakes in Africa

by John Campbell Monday, October 21, 2013
Two U.S. soldiers talk while training Malian soldiers while training in Gao, eastern Mali November 13, 2006. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters) Two U.S. soldiers talk while training Malian soldiers while training in Gao, eastern Mali November 13, 2006. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters)

Alex Vines, director of Area Studies and International Law, and head of the Africa Program at Chatham House, a London based think-tank, has written a thoughtful article for CNN. He looks at U.S. counterterrorism operations in Africa, including questions about their legality under international law and their impact (often unintended) on weak African states. Read more »

Foreign Exchange Controls: Good or Bad for South Africa?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Friday, October 18, 2013
A man walks past the Johannesburg Stock Exchange building in Sandton December 6, 2012. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters) A man walks past the Johannesburg Stock Exchange building in Sandton December 6, 2012. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by John Causey, a private equity consultant based in South Africa, who specializes in sub-Saharan Africa transactions.

In a pithy headline Richard Grant, writing for Forbes Magazine, recently remarked that “It Cost Mark Shuttleworth More To Leave South Africa Than It Did To Leave The Earth.” The attention-grabbing headline, while technically accurate, requires explanation. Read more »