John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update September 6- September 12

by John Campbell
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 6 to September 12, 2014. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

Black and White Income Inequality in South Africa and the United States

by John Campbell
A fruit vendor waits for customers at an informal settlement in Thokoza, south of Johannesburg, July 18, 2014. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters) A fruit vendor waits for customers at an informal settlement in Thokoza, south of Johannesburg, July 18, 2014. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters)

South Africa is notorious for having gross income inequality. Its GINI coefficient–a standard for measuring income inequality–is one of the highest in the world. The World Bank computed it at 63.1 in 2009, with zero being absolute equality and one hundred absolute inequality. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the GINI coefficient for the United States in 2012 was 47.7. When analyzing these two GINI coefficients, there is a danger of comparing apples with oranges. The GINI coefficients here cited were developed by two different institutions, no doubt with different methodologies. What GINI coefficients actually show is also a matter of debate. Still, they indicate income inequality was greater in South Africa than in the U.S. in recent years. Read more »

Huge Diamond Mined in South Africa

by John Campbell
A visitor holds a 17 carat diamond at a Petra Diamonds mine in Cullinan, outside Pretoria, January 22, 2009. London-listed Petra Diamonds said it expected a difficult operating environment going into 2009 and that it saw conditions improving by the end of 2010.  (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters) A visitor holds a 17 carat diamond at a Petra Diamonds mine in Cullinan, outside Pretoria, January 22, 2009. London-listed Petra Diamonds said it expected a difficult operating environment going into 2009 and that it saw conditions improving by the end of 2010. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters)

Diamonds are associated with glamour and South Africa. The Cullinan Mine, east of Pretoria, is famous for diamonds of the huge variety, including the ‘Cullinan Diamond,’ at 3,106 carets, the largest gem quality diamond ever found. The owner presented it to King Edward VII in 1905, and the Great Star of Africa, which was cut from it, is in the scepter of the royal regalia used at the coronation of British monarchs. Read more »

Africans Coming to New York

by John Campbell
A passer-by walks near a mural with former South African President Nelson Mandela in the Harlem neighborhood of New York, June 28, 2013. A passer-by walks near a mural with former South African President Nelson Mandela in the Harlem neighborhood of New York, June 28, 2013.

Henry Louis Gates estimates that altogether about four hundred and fifty thousand Africans were brought to what is now the United States as part of the Atlantic slave trade, legal and illegal (legal importation of slaves from Africa ended in 1808, but illegal trafficking to the United States continued until 1865 and the defeat of the Confederacy). Thereafter, there was little African immigration to the United States, in part because of persistent American racism. Those blacks that came to New York in the twentieth century were mostly of Caribbean origin. They played a major role in the Harlem Renaissance and black New York politics. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. and Shirley Chisholm were both of Caribbean origin. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update August 30-September 4

by John Campbell
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 30 to September 4, 2014. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

HIV/AIDS, South Africa, and the United States

by John Campbell
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks with South Africa's Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi after attending a PEPFAR (U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) Transition Signing, at Delft South Clinic in Delft South, a suburb of Cape Town, August 8, 2012. (Jacquelyn Martin-Pool/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks with South Africa's Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi after attending a PEPFAR (U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) Transition Signing, at Delft South Clinic in Delft South, a suburb of Cape Town, August 8, 2012. (Jacquelyn Martin-Pool/Courtesy Reuters)

In the aftermath of the miracle of a democratic transition from apartheid to “non-racial” democracy, South Africa faced a disease nightmare. During the presidencies of Nelson Mandela and his successor, Thabo Mbeki, up to a third of some population groups in South Africa were victims of HIV/AIDS. Deaths soared, and the national life expectancy dropped by a decade. Read more »

A Special Report by the Nigeria Security Network and the Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update

by John Campbell
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)

The Nigeria Security Network, a group of academics and think tankers, has issued a special report on the remarkable expansion of Boko Haram’s control in the northeastern state of Borno.  It is a must-read.  The report includes a detailed map that pinpoints the towns and territories that Boko Haram occupies. It reveals something approaching a crescent around the major city of Maiduguri, that has a population of at least one million, including a Christian minority. It concludes that Nigeria is losing control of Borno state. It suggests that if Borno falls to Boko Haram, Yobe and Adamawa could follow, along with parts of Camerooon.  If that were to happen, a major humanitarian crisis is likely. Read more »

A Caliphate in Northeastern Nigeria?

by John Campbell
Mike Omeri (R), Coordinator of the National Information Centre, speaks next to Chris Olukolade (L), Nigeria's Director of Defence Information, during a news conference on issues relating to security, multiple bombings and military operations in Nigeria, at the National Briefing Centre in Abuja, July 2, 2014. Mike Omeri (R), Coordinator of the National Information Centre, speaks next to Chris Olukolade (L), Nigeria's Director of Defence Information, during a news conference on issues relating to security, multiple bombings and military operations in Nigeria, at the National Briefing Centre in Abuja, July 2, 2014.

Boko Haram chieftain Abubakar Shekau has announced in a video released on August 24 that the Borno town of Gwoza is now part of a caliphate and will be ruled according to strict Islamic law. The Nigerian Ministry of Defense denies that Boko Haram controls the town and insists that Nigeria’s territorial integrity is intact. According to credible Nigerian media sources, the United Nations Humanitarian Office (OCHA) has confirmed that Gwoza is under rebel control. Read more »

Ebola in the Congo

by John Campbell
Medical workers in protective clothings work in the Ebola isolation zone at a makeshift health clinic run by the medical charity Doctors Without Borders at the village of Kampungu, near Kananga in western Kasai province in south-central Democratic Republic of Congo, some 700 km (435 miles) east of the capital Kinshasa, September 18, 2007. Medical workers in protective clothings work in the Ebola isolation zone at a makeshift health clinic run by the medical charity Doctors Without Borders at the village of Kampungu, near Kananga in western Kasai province in south-central Democratic Republic of Congo, some 700 km (435 miles) east of the capital Kinshasa, September 18, 2007.

The health minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Felix Kabange Numbi, has announced an outbreak of the Ebola virus in the remote Equateur province. Two cases have been confirmed by the ministry. The authorities have moved quickly to isolate the village where the disease was found. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update August 16–August 22

by John Campbell
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 16 to August 22, 2014. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »