John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Violence and Population Displacement in Africa

by John Campbell Friday, September 23, 2016
A man waits to receive food provided by the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) during a visit by a European Union delegation, at an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Azaza, east of Ad Damazin, capital of Blue Nile state, Sudan, October 21, 2015. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah) A man waits to receive food provided by the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) during a visit by a European Union delegation, at an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Azaza, east of Ad Damazin, capital of Blue Nile state, Sudan, October 21, 2015. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

The Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) has published a useful map showing the top ten countries in Africa for population displacement. It finds that 71 percent of the continent’s 18.5 million displaced are from Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It observes that each of the five are experiencing serious conflict, and that of the top 10, nine are autocratically governed. (Nigeria is the exception, with credible elections in 2015 that brought opposition leader Muhammadu Buhari to the presidency.) Read more »

Life in Nigeria’s Maiduguri during the Boko Haram Struggle

by John Campbell Thursday, September 22, 2016
A security personnel gestures at the Bakkasi camp for Internally Displaced People (IDP), after security was called in to control a protest rally held to demonstrate against what the IDPs said was a poor distribution of food rations, in Maiduguri, Borno state, Nigeria, August 29, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) A security personnel gestures at the Bakkasi camp for Internally Displaced People (IDP), after security was called in to control a protest rally held to demonstrate against what the IDPs said was a poor distribution of food rations, in Maiduguri, Borno state, Nigeria, August 29, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

What was it actually like to live in Maiduguri, one of Nigeria’s larger cities, and ground zero during the Boko Haram assault? Official restrictions on the media and all but non-existent security meant no stream of reporting akin to that of, say, Edward R. Murrow and many other journalists during the London blitz of World War II. There are no photographs of Maiduguri of the genre of St. Paul’s dome floating above the smoke of a burning London. Read more »

Famine in Northeast Nigeria

by John Campbell Wednesday, September 21, 2016
A girl displaced as a result of Boko Haram attacks in the northeast region of Nigeria, uses a mortar and pestle at a camp for internally displaced people in Yola, Adamawa State, January 14, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) A girl displaced as a result of Boko Haram attacks in the northeast region of Nigeria, uses a mortar and pestle at a camp for internally displaced people in Yola, Adamawa State, January 14, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

Michelle Faul, writing for AP, reports on the horrific famine now underway in Northeast Nigeria. She quotes Doctors without Borders as characterizing the crisis as “catastrophic.” She also quotes an American midwife who runs a feeding center as saying “These are kids that basically have been hungry all their lives, and some are so far gone that they die here in the first 24 hours.” Read more »

Africa’s Changing Economic Landscape

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Tuesday, September 20, 2016
A truck is loaded with bags of tea leaves at a plantation in Nandi Hills, in Kenya's highlands region west of capital Nairobi, November 5, 2014. (Reuters/Noor Khamis) A truck is loaded with bags of tea leaves at a plantation in Nandi Hills, in Kenya's highlands region west of capital Nairobi, November 5, 2014. (Reuters/Noor Khamis)

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

Bloomberg Markets’ Michael Cohen and Helen Nyambura-Mwaura have analyzed the current state of Africa’s economies in a very interesting article. They point out that despite the current poor performance of Africa’s larger economies (particularly Nigeria and South Africa), some of the continent’s smaller economies, especially in East Africa, are doing well and will likely continue to do so. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: September 10 – September 16

by John Campbell Monday, September 19, 2016
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 September 10, 2016 to September 16, 2016. 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 »

‘Bling’ and the Nigerian Political Class

by John Campbell Friday, September 16, 2016
A Nigerian man looks at a vehicle by German car maker Porsche in Lagos, March 14, 2012. (Reuters/Monica Mark) A Nigerian man looks at a vehicle by German car maker Porsche in Lagos, March 14, 2012. (Reuters/Monica Mark)

Nigeria is famous for the delight in display taken by the governing class and the rich. Hence, native dress for women and men is made of rich fabrics and bedecked with jewelry, residences often have gold-plated taps, and, at one point, the Hummer appeared to be the vehicle of choice. Read more »

Elephants in Greater Danger Than Previously Thought

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Thursday, September 15, 2016
A bird flies over a family of elephants walking in the Amboseli National Park, southeast of Kenya's capital Nairobi, April 25, 2016. (Reuters/Thomas Mukoya) A bird flies over a family of elephants walking in the Amboseli National Park, southeast of Kenya's capital Nairobi, April 25, 2016. (Reuters/Thomas Mukoya)

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

On August 31, The Great Elephant Census announced  disturbing news: the African savannah elephant population is  approximately 350,000, down from about 470,000, The study showed a 30 percent decline in the population between 2007 and 2014. This represents an 8 percent annual decrease in savannah elephant numbers, largely due to poaching. Read more »

The American University of Nigeria and the Adamawa Peace Initiative

by John Campbell Wednesday, September 14, 2016
A woman, who was freed by the Nigerian army from Boko Haram militants in the Sambisa forest, feeds her child at the Malkohi camp for internally displaced people in Yola, Nigeria, May 3, 2015.  (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) A woman, who was freed by the Nigerian army from Boko Haram militants in the Sambisa forest, feeds her child at the Malkohi camp for internally displaced people in Yola, Nigeria, May 3, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

The following text is the entirety of John Campbell’s speech delivered at Winning the Peace in Northeast Nigeria, hosted by the Congressional Nigerian Caucus and the American University of Nigeria, Yola, in Washington, D.C., September 12, 2016. Read more »

Protesting Power: Ethnic Demonstrations Continue in Ethiopia

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Tuesday, September 13, 2016
A policeman attempts to control protesters chanting slogans during a demonstration over what they say is unfair distribution of wealth in the country at Meskel Square in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, August 6, 2016. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri) A policeman attempts to control protesters chanting slogans during a demonstration over what they say is unfair distribution of wealth in the country at Meskel Square in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, August 6, 2016. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

This is a guest post by Zara Riaz, a research specialist in the Politics Department at Princeton University.

In the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia stands out among neighbors for its political and economic stability. Recent protests and escalating violence, however, expose Ethiopia’s longstanding political tensions and pose a serious threat to the government’s ability to maintain its strong hold. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: September 3 – September 9

by John Campbell Monday, September 12, 2016
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 September 3, 2016 to September 9, 2016. 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 »