John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update May 16-May 22

by John Campbell Tuesday, May 26, 2015
The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau) The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau)

Below is a visualization and description of some of the most significant incidents of political violence in Nigeria from May 16, 2015 to May 22, 2015. This update also represents violence related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

The Conflicting Messages of Jacob Zuma

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Friday, May 22, 2015
South African President Jacob Zuma attends the summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), called to discuss industrialisation in southern Africa, in Harare, April 29, 2015.  (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters) South African President Jacob Zuma attends the summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), called to discuss industrialisation in southern Africa, in Harare, April 29, 2015. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Cheryl Strauss Einhorn, a journalist and adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has denounced the anti-immigrant violence racking his country while also promising to step up a crackdown on illegal immigration. It’s a tricky and dangerous high stakes game to play, one that does not address the nation’s underlying problems of unemployment and poverty, and that sadly puts South Africa’s stability at stake. Read more »

United States Support for African Peacekeeping

by John Campbell Thursday, May 21, 2015
U.N. peacekeepers patrol in their tank, past the deserted Kibati village, near Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, August 7, 2013. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) U.N. peacekeepers patrol in their tank, past the deserted Kibati village, near Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, August 7, 2013. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

Multilateral peacekeeping operations have long been a feature of the international community’s response to African conflicts (most of which are domestic though often with outside meddling). For those concerned about African peacekeeping operations, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Center for Preventive Action has just published an important new special report by Paul D. Williams titled Enhancing U.S. Support for Peace Operations in Africa. It is a must-read for those involved in African security issues. Read more »

Response Needed to Northern Nigeria’s Humanitarian Disaster

by John Campbell Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Baby Lurky, whose family was displaced as a result of Boko Haram attacks in the northeast region of Nigeria, sleeps in the shade at a camp for internally displaced people (IDP) in Yola, Adamawa State, January 14, 2015. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Baby Lurky, whose family was displaced as a result of Boko Haram attacks in the northeast region of Nigeria, sleeps in the shade at a camp for internally displaced people (IDP) in Yola, Adamawa State, January 14, 2015. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

In the May 19 New York Times Adam Nossiter reports on the conditions of women and girls newly freed from Boko Haram captivity. He reports that they are among some 15,000 internally displaced persons (IDP) at a camp in Dalori, Borno, outside of the state capital, Maiduguri. Read more »

A New Generation of South African Politics?

by John Campbell Tuesday, May 19, 2015
A statue of Nelson Mandela stands outside the gates of Drakenstein Correctional Centre (formerly Victor Verster Prison), near Paarl in Western Cape province, February 10, 2010. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Courtesy Reuters) A statue of Nelson Mandela stands outside the gates of Drakenstein Correctional Centre (formerly Victor Verster Prison), near Paarl in Western Cape province, February 10, 2010. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Courtesy Reuters)

The African National Congress’s (ANC) electoral support is slowly eroding. Its share of the national vote has declined to 62.2 percent in 2014 from its high water mark of 69.7 percent in 2004. Its leader, President Jacob Zuma, is much more unpopular than the party, and outside his Zulu core constituency, many see him as corrupt and incompetent. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update May 9-May 15

by John Campbell Monday, May 18, 2015
The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau) The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau)

Below is a visualization and description of some of the most significant incidents of political violence in Nigeria from May 9, 2015 to May 15, 2015. This update also represents violence related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

Race and the Development Paradigm

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Monday, May 18, 2015
A boy carries a container of water in the suburb of Epworth in Zimbabwe's capital Harare December 7, 2009. Aid agencies, led by the United Nations, on Monday launched an appeal for $378 million to meet Zimbabwe's humanitarian needs, amid signs that the crisis facing the country is easing under its unity government. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters) A boy carries a container of water in the suburb of Epworth in Zimbabwe's capital Harare December 7, 2009. Aid agencies, led by the United Nations, on Monday launched an appeal for $378 million to meet Zimbabwe's humanitarian needs, amid signs that the crisis facing the country is easing under its unity government. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Mora McLean, President Emerita of The Africa-America Institute.

Some twenty years ago, Amartya Sen, spurred a major shift in development theory by making the case that per capita gross domestic product should not be the sole measure for assessing and comparing well-being across the globe. Sen called attention to global mortality data showing that men in Bangladesh were more likely to live to age forty than black American men in Harlem, despite having much lower incomes. He argued that “[t]he need to widen the scope of conventional economics to include the economics of life and death is no less acute in the United States than it is in famine stricken sub-Saharan Africa.” Read more »

Unprecedented Rhino Poaching in 2015

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Friday, May 15, 2015
A ranger walks behind a pair of black rhinoceros at the Imire Rhino and Wildlife Conservation Park near Marondera, east of the capital Harare, September 22, 2014. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters) A ranger walks behind a pair of black rhinoceros at the Imire Rhino and Wildlife Conservation Park near Marondera, east of the capital Harare, September 22, 2014. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters)

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

This year rhino poaching has increased significantly in South Africa and Namibia, part of a worsening trend. Since 2007 there has been a 10,000 percent increase in poaching in South Africa alone. An average of twelve rhinos were poached in South Africa between 2000 and 2007 per year; that number ballooned to 1,255 in 2014. Read more »

Sudan’s Recent Elections and Daunting Future

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Thursday, May 14, 2015
Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (C) casts his ballot during elections in the capital Khartoum April 13, 2015. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Courtesy Reuters) Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (C) casts his ballot during elections in the capital Khartoum April 13, 2015. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Aala Abdelgadir, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relation’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative.

Last month, Sudan held national elections, and Omar al-Bashir secured another presidential term. Though expected, many commentators are focused on the illegitimacy of al-Bashir’s victory. The election’s results are indeed disappointing, but the real challenge facing Sudan is its uncertain future. The country is struggling with an economic crisis, ethnic conflict, and political gridlock. These must be the focus of politicians and analysts alike if Sudan is ever to regain stability. Read more »

More on Nigeria’s South African Mercenaries

by John Campbell Wednesday, May 13, 2015
A burnt armour tank is seen abandoned along a road in Bazza town after the Nigerian military recaptured it from Boko Haram, in Adamawa state, May 10, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye) A burnt armour tank is seen abandoned along a road in Bazza town after the Nigerian military recaptured it from Boko Haram, in Adamawa state, May 10, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

After almost five years of reverses, the Nigerian federal government largely cleared Boko Haram fighters from the territories they occupied in Borno state–in about five weeks. The Nigerian government has given most of the credit to an allegedly invigorated Nigerian army. There has also been some acknowledgement of the contributions of Chadian and Nigerien forces. There has, however, been little recognition of the role of South African mercenaries, though they are likely to have been crucial to military success against Boko Haram. Read more »