John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Africa’s Changing Economic Landscape

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
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 »

Elephants in Greater Danger Than Previously Thought

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
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 »

Protesting Power: Ethnic Demonstrations Continue in Ethiopia

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
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 »

Africa at the Olympics

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Women's 10,000m Victory Ceremony Gold medallist Almaz Ayana (ETH) of Ethiopia, silver medallist Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot (KEN) of Kenya and bronze medallist Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH) of Ethiopia pose with their medals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Reuters/Alessandro Bianch) Women's 10,000m Victory Ceremony Gold medallist Almaz Ayana (ETH) of Ethiopia, silver medallist Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot (KEN) of Kenya and bronze medallist Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH) of Ethiopia pose with their medals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Reuters/Alessandro Bianch)

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

Now that the Olympics are over, it is time to tally up the medal totals. Sub-Saharan Africa made its mark on the competition. The breakdown is as follows: Read more »

Yellow Fever in Central Africa: A Preventable Epidemic

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A Congolese man is vaccinated during an emergency campaign of vaccination against yellow fever in Kisenso district, of the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa, July 20, 2016. (Reuters/Kenny Katombe) A Congolese man is vaccinated during an emergency campaign of vaccination against yellow fever in Kisenso district, of the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa, July 20, 2016. (Reuters/Kenny Katombe)

Gabriella Meltzer is a research associate in the Council on Foreign Relations Global Health program.

From Ebola to Zika, recent global health crises have been defined by unpredictable outbreaks of mysterious pathogens. However, the yellow fever epidemic currently sweeping across Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo was not only predictable, but could have been stopped by the World Health Organization (WHO) with the necessary political will and logistical organization. Read more »

Illegal Mining and the Role of “Zama Zamas” in South Africa

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A miner is seen underground at Lonmin Plc's Karee mine in Marikana, Rustenburg 100 km (62 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, March 5, 2013. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko) A miner is seen underground at Lonmin Plc's Karee mine in Marikana, Rustenburg 100 km (62 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, March 5, 2013. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

Nathan Birhanu is an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program. He is a graduate of Fordham University’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy & Development.

In recent years, the mining industry has struggled to turn a profit due to a slowdown in demand from China’s economy and an oversupply from producers. South Africa’s mining companies, who export primarily platinum, iron ore, gold, coal, and manganese, have been heavily affected by the downturn. Read more »

Troubling Clampdown on Opposition in Tanzania

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Former Tanzania's Prime Minister and main opposition party CHADEMA presidential candidate Edward Lowassa (C) addresses a campaign rally at Ruaha in Kilombelo District in Tanzania, October 23, 2015. Tanzanians will go to the poll on October 25, to elect the fifth president.  (Reuters/Emmanuel Herman) Former Tanzania's Prime Minister and main opposition party CHADEMA presidential candidate Edward Lowassa (C) addresses a campaign rally at Ruaha in Kilombelo District in Tanzania, October 23, 2015. Tanzanians will go to the poll on October 25, to elect the fifth president. (Reuters/Emmanuel Herman)

Tyler Falish is a student in Fordham University’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy & Development and a former intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli is known as “the Bulldozer,” a moniker reflecting his knack for pushing through big infrastructure projects during his time as minister of works. As president, he has received praise for his anti-corruption platform, as well as his very public displays of support for government thrift. However, Magufuli has also tightened the vise on opposition to his party. Read more »

Boko Haram’s Factional Feud

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Nigerian soldiers hold up a Boko Haram flag that they had seized in the recently retaken town of Damasak, Nigeria, March 18, 2015. (Reuters/Emmanuel Braun) Nigerian soldiers hold up a Boko Haram flag that they had seized in the recently retaken town of Damasak, Nigeria, March 18, 2015. (Reuters/Emmanuel Braun)

This is a guest post by Jacob Zenn. Jacob is a fellow of African affairs at The Jamestown Foundation in Washington DC.

Since Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau pledged allegiance to self-proclaimed Islamic State’s leader Abubakar al-Baghdadi in March 2015, Boko Haram has been known as the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP). From that pledge until August 8, 2016, the formerly bombastic Shekau had not been seen publicly. During this period, Shekau and his former rival for Boko Haram leadership, Mamman Nur, appear to have been locked in a factional feud, with the two of them sending audios behind-the-scenes condemning one another. Nevertheless, until August 3 the Islamic State recognized Shekau as the “wali,” or governor, of ISWAP. Read more »

After the Vote, It’s “Morning in South Africa”

by John Campbell and Guest Blogger for John Campbell
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma reacts during the official announcement of the municipal election results at the result center in Pretoria, South Africa, August 6, 2016. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko) South Africa's President Jacob Zuma reacts during the official announcement of the municipal election results at the result center in Pretoria, South Africa, August 6, 2016. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

This post was co-authored by John Campbell and Allen Grane, research associate for Africa Policy Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Many friends of South Africa’s post-1994 “non-racial democracy” have seen developments within the ruling African National Congress (ANC), especially under Jacob Zuma, as threatening the open political system based on the rule of law. So long as voting was largely determined by racial identity, the 80 percent of South Africa’s population that is black seemed to ensure that the party would remain in power indefinitely. The White, Coloured, and Asian minorities supported the Democratic Alliance (DA), but together they are not large enough to constitute an alternative to the ANC, except on the provincial level. (The DA has long dominated predominately Coloured and White Western Cape.) The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), which calls for an assault on White “privilege,” were largely confined to the townships. Read more »

The Kimani Murders and the Future of Police Accountability in Kenya

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Kenyan police officers Silvia Wanjiku, Stephen Chebulet (covering their heads) suspected of killing human rights lawyer, Willie Kimani, his client and their driver, cover their heads as they are escorted from the dock at Milimani Law courts in Nairobi, Kenya, July 4, 2016. (Reuters/Thomas Mukoya) Kenyan police officers Silvia Wanjiku, Stephen Chebulet (covering their heads) suspected of killing human rights lawyer, Willie Kimani, his client and their driver, cover their heads as they are escorted from the dock at Milimani Law courts in Nairobi, Kenya, July 4, 2016. (Reuters/Thomas Mukoya)

This is a guest post by Claire Wilmot, a former intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Program. She is a master of global affairs graduate from the University of Toronto, where she currently researches justice reform. You can follow her on twitter at @claireLwilmot. Read more »