John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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U.S. Efforts to Power Africa

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Electricity pylons carry power from Cape Town's Koeberg nuclear power plant July 17, 2009 (Courtesy Reuters/Mike Hutchings). Electricity pylons carry power from Cape Town's Koeberg nuclear power plant July 17, 2009 (Courtesy Reuters/Mike Hutchings).

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

While on his Africa tour in June 2013, President Obama announced a new U.S. effort to expand energy access in Sub-Saharan Africa, where two thirds of the population are without electricity. The Power Africa initiative identifies and facilitates energy transactions between private enterprises and governments in African countries to generate 30,000 megawatts of new energy and reach 60 million households and businesses by 2020. Read more »

Zimbabwe: The ‘Crocodile’ Who Would Be King

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe congratulates Emmerson Mnangagwa (R) after he was sworn in as Zimbabwe's vice president at the State House in Harare, December 12, 2014. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters) Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe congratulates Emmerson Mnangagwa (R) after he was sworn in as Zimbabwe's vice president at the State House in Harare, December 12, 2014. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters)

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

Amid a public debate over the presidential succession, President Robert Mugabe named Emmerson Mnangagwa vice-president of Zimbabwe on December 10, 2014. It would seem that Mnangagwa, nicknamed ‘Ngwena’ or ‘Crocodile,’ is now the heir apparent to Zimbabwe’s president. Mnangagwa has been a member of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party since the 1970’s, and fought alongside Mugabe in the Zimbabwe war of liberation from white rule, which lasted from 1964 to 1979. Among other duties, Mnangagwa has served as Zimbabwe’s minister of state security, and, most recently, he was the minister of justice. Read more »

Somalia Ready for Oil Exploration?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Engineers and visitors explore an exploratory well near Dharoor town, 350 km (217 miles) from the port of Bosasso on the Gulf of Aden in Puntland, January 17, 2012. (Abdiqani Hassan /Courtesy Reuters) Engineers and visitors explore an exploratory well near Dharoor town, 350 km (217 miles) from the port of Bosasso on the Gulf of Aden in Puntland, January 17, 2012. (Abdiqani Hassan /Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Alex Dick-Godfrey, Assistant Director, Studies administration for the Council on Foreign Relations Studies Program.

Last month, Soma Oil and Gas, a London based energy company, searching for hydrocarbon deposits off the coast of Somalia, announced that it had completed a seismic survey to ascertain the potential for recoverable oil and gas deposits. Although further details have yet to be released, chief executive Rob Sheppard announced that the results were encouraging. However, Somalia, and potential investors, should proceed with caution when considering entering this frontier market. Read more »

1,155 Rhinos Poached in South Africa

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A White Rhino and her calf walk in the dusk light in Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa's North West Province, April 19, 2012. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters) A White Rhino and her calf walk in the dusk light in Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa's North West Province, April 19, 2012. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters)

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

Home to the world’s largest rhino population, South Africa saw 1,155 rhinos illegally killed in 2014. That is a 15 percent increase on 2013’s 1004 poached rhinos. More than 4.6 percent of an approximate total of 25,000 rhinos in Africa were killed this past year in South Africa alone. Read more »

Ten Years Later: Taking Stock of Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Sudan's Ali Osman Mohamed Taha and Sudan People's Liberation Movement leader John Garang laugh before the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Kenya's capital Nairobi, January 9, 2005. (Courtesy REUTERS/Antony Njuguna) Sudan's Ali Osman Mohamed Taha and Sudan People's Liberation Movement leader John Garang laugh before the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Kenya's capital Nairobi, January 9, 2005. (Courtesy REUTERS/Antony Njuguna)

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

Ten years ago today, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ended twenty-one years of civil war in Sudan. The internationally brokered accord between the governing National Congress Party (NCP) in the north and the southern rebel forces of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and Army (SPLM/A, later SPLM) was hailed as a tremendous achievement at the time. However, a decade later, an independent South Sudan is mired in civil conflict, political tensions and rebel violence are rife in Sudan, and the CPA has failed to establish peace and stability. Read more »

Balzac and Nigeria’s Boko Haram

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Muslims attend prayers during the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha at an open field in Lagos, October 4, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) Muslims attend prayers during the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha at an open field in Lagos, October 4, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/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.

Balzac’s early novel, Les Chouans (1829), is not critics’ favorite. But, the book, which deals with a revolt in Brittany of Chouans–peasants with royalist sympathies–against the French revolution, is a masterpiece of guerrilla warfare analysis. As I read it, I thought of Boko Haram–a sign of obsession, perhaps, or just simple curiosity. While chronological and cultural contexts are vastly different, I started to see commonalities between guerrillas fighting a civil war, regardless of time and place. Read more »

Kenya’s Troubling New Anti-Terrorism Legislation

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Police stop a protester from demonstrating for freedom of speech outside Kenya's parliament, December 18, 2014. (Courtesy REUTERS/Noor Khamis) Police stop a protester from demonstrating for freedom of speech outside Kenya's parliament, December 18, 2014. (Courtesy REUTERS/Noor Khamis)

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

In mid-December, the Kenyan parliament passed counterterrorism legislation that has since been hotly contested by politicians, civil society leaders, journalists, and ordinary citizens alike for its alleged infringement on basic civil liberties. Read more »

Tracking the Traffickers: Stopping the Wildlife Trade at its Source

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A worker uses a forklift to arrange a section of elephant tusks recovered from a container on transit, at the Kenyan port city of Mombasa, January 15, 2013. (Joseph Okanga/Courtesy Reuters) A worker uses a forklift to arrange a section of elephant tusks recovered from a container on transit, at the Kenyan port city of Mombasa, January 15, 2013. (Joseph Okanga/Courtesy Reuters)

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

On December 8, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, announced the creation of the United for Wildlife Task Force at the World Bank in Washington, DC (you can see the full speech below). The task force aims to work with the private sector to reduce illegal wildlife trafficking globally, it hopes to “identify ways that the sector can break the chain between suppliers and consumers.” Read more »

Post-Burkina Faso: Domino or Boomerang Effect?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A man stands next to a sign bearing the name of Gaston Karambiri during a funeral service for six people killed during the popular uprising of October 30 and 31, in Ouagadougou, December 2, 2014. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters) A man stands next to a sign bearing the name of Gaston Karambiri during a funeral service for six people killed during the popular uprising of October 30 and 31, in Ouagadougou, December 2, 2014. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jean-Yves Ollivier, a French businessman who has spent over forty years involved in peace talks in Africa. He serves as CEO of the Brazzaville Foundation for Peace and Nature Conservation. Read more »

Nigerians Impressed: the All Progressives Congress Convention

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A policeman stands guard near ballot boxes at All Progressives Congress (APC) party convention, in Lagos, early December 11, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) A policeman stands guard near ballot boxes at All Progressives Congress (APC) party convention, in Lagos, early December 11, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jean Herskovits, research professor of African history at SUNY-Purchase. Dr. Herskovits has been watching Nigeria’s politics at first hand for decades. She visits frequently, returning last month from her most recent trip. Dr. Herskovits is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Read more »