John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Ebola, Fear, and Better Communication

by John Campbell Wednesday, August 20, 2014
A U.N. convoy of soldiers passes a screen displaying a message on Ebola on a street in Abidjan, August 14, 2014. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters) A U.N. convoy of soldiers passes a screen displaying a message on Ebola on a street in Abidjan, August 14, 2014. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters)

Ebola is fearful. Its symptoms include raging fever, bleeding from orifices (including the eyes and ears), diarrhea, and vomiting. The mortality rate is high. Caregivers move about in space suits. Necessary care for the sick and proper medical practices, including quarantine and the burial methods, are contrary to the strong family and community-centered values of traditional West African society. Read more »

Ten Books for Approaching Religious Conflict in Nigeria

by John Campbell Tuesday, August 19, 2014
A newspaper front page reporting the death of Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe lies on a street in Calabar, Cross River State, southeast Nigeria, March 23, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) A newspaper front page reporting the death of Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe lies on a street in Calabar, Cross River State, southeast Nigeria, March 23, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation has just published Emily Mellgard’s “Must Reads on Religious Conflict in Nigeria.” Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update August 9–August 15

by John Campbell Monday, August 18, 2014
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 August 9 to August 15, 2014.
These incidents are included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

International Finance: “Somalia is Different”

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Thursday, August 14, 2014
Customers walk out of a Dahabshiil money transfer office in "Kilometer Five" street of Soobe village, southern Mogadishu, May 8, 2013. (Feisal Omar/Courtesy Reuters) Customers walk out of a Dahabshiil money transfer office in "Kilometer Five" street of Soobe village, southern Mogadishu, May 8, 2013. (Feisal Omar/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Sarah Madden, volunteer intern for the Council on Foreign Relations, Department of Studies. Sarah is currently a student at Santa Clara University studying business economics and entrepreneurship. Her interests are in Africa, economic development, and emerging markets. Read more »

Is the IMF Going to Save Ghana’s Troubled Economy?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Wednesday, August 13, 2014
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and President of Ghana John Dramani Mahama attend the Ghana Compact Signing Ceremony at the State Department in Washington, August 5, 2014. (Yuri Gripas/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and President of Ghana John Dramani Mahama attend the Ghana Compact Signing Ceremony at the State Department in Washington, August 5, 2014. (Yuri Gripas/Courtesy Reuters)

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

Long hailed as evidence of Africa’s growing political and economic stability, Ghana is suffering a reversal of fortune. One week ago as President John Mahama arrived in Washington for the U.S.-Africa Summit, his government finally admitted it needed urgent help to fix its faltering economy and contacted the International Monetary Fund for financial assistance. Read more »

Boko Haram: A Different Perspective

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Burnt-out cars are seen at the scene of a blast in Abuja, June 25, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Burnt-out cars are seen at the scene of a blast in Abuja, June 25, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jim Sanders, a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his former employers. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update August 2–August 8

by John Campbell Monday, August 11, 2014
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 August 2 to August 8, 2014. These incidents are also available here, and are included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters and the Labor Aristocracy

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Thursday, August 7, 2014
Supporters of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Party (EFF) cheer during their party's final election rally in Pretoria, May 4, 2014. (Skyler Reid/Courtesy Reuters) Supporters of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Party (EFF) cheer during their party's final election rally in Pretoria, May 4, 2014. (Skyler Reid/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jim Sanders, a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his former employers.

In his August 5 post on Julius Malema and South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), John Campbell concludes that both may be shoved aside by a responsible, left-wing political party, expected to be created by the Metal Workers Union in time to contest the 2019 national elections. As Campbell mentions, this new party is likely to be well funded with veteran leadership. However, what he views as the Metal Workers Union’s strengths—ample funding and veteran leadership—may be the very characteristics that will make any political party it creates unattractive to those now supporting Malema and the EFF. Read more »

Nigeria’s Chibok School Girls as Suicide Bombers?

by John Campbell Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, former minister of education and a "Bring Back Our Girls" campaigner, addresses supporters at the Unity Fountain, on the hundredth day of the abductions of more than two hundred school girls by Boko Haram, in Abuja, July 23, 2014 (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters). Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, former minister of education and a "Bring Back Our Girls" campaigner, addresses supporters at the Unity Fountain, on the hundredth day of the abductions of more than two hundred school girls by Boko Haram, in Abuja, July 23, 2014 (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters).

It has been nearly four months since Boko Haram kidnapped up to three hundred school girls from a school in Chibok, Borno state. Thus far, there has been little public evidence that the government has located them or is about to rescue them. Nor do the offers of assistance from friendly governments such as the United States appear to have had much impact. Frustration is growing, articulated by former education minister Obiageli Ezekwesili, an animator of the #BringBackOurGirls protests in Abuja. Read more »

South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters Making a Splash

by John Campbell Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Members of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party demonstrate outside Parliament in Cape Town, June 20, 2014 (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters). Members of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party demonstrate outside Parliament in Cape Town, June 20, 2014 (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters).

Julius Malema’s political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), won about 6 percent of the vote in the South Africa’s March national elections. This makes it South Africa’s third largest party, though it remains significantly behind the governing African National Congress (ANC), which won 62 percent of the vote, and the official opposition, the Democratic Alliance, which won 22 percent. Read more »