John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Africa"

What is the African Growth and Opportunity Act?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Representatives from various African nations gather at the opening session at the AGOA Forum during the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, August 4, 2014. (Reuters/Gary Cameron)

This article was originally published on SSA Frontiers

On May 18, 2000, Congress signed the African Growth and Opportunity Act, commonly known as AGOA, into law. AGOA is a trade program meant to establish stronger commercial ties between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa. The act establishes a preferential trade agreement between the U.S. and selected countries in the sub-Saharan region. Initially approved for fifteen years, AGOA was reauthorized for ten years on June 25, 2015, by the Obama administration. In its current form AGOA will last until September 30, 2025. Read more »

Podcast: Africa and The New Administration

by John Campbell
U.S. President Barack Obama walks off stage as he finishes his news conference at the conclusion of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the U.S. State Department in Washington, August 6, 2014. (Reuters/Jim Bourg)

Africa in Transition announces a new podcast series. For our inaugural effort the CFR Africa program’s own John Campbell and Allen Grane discuss the United States’ policy priorities in Africa and what the new Trump administration means for America’s relationship with its African partners. There is also a discussion of the focus of the CFR Africa program. Read more »

Africa’s Presidential Phone Calls

by John Campbell
U.S. President Donald Trump (C) arrives with Steve Mnuchin to swear him in as Treasury Secretary in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, February 13, 2017. (Reuters/Yuri Gripas)

Africa featured not at all in the U.S. presidential campaign, and the Trump administration has been silent about the continent since the inauguration. Hence, for American friends of Africa it was encouraging that President Trump spoke with the presidents of Africa’s two largest economies on February 13. However, there has been no White House explanation as to why the president chose the chiefs of state of those two particular countries: arguably, the United States has a closer security relationship with Kenya. As of February 14, the White House has released few details about the conversations, while there have been only brief reports from Nigerian and South African sources. This is not unusual: details of communications among heads of state are rarely made public. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: January 21 – January 27

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 February 4 to February 10, 2017. 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 »

AU ICC Withdrawal Recommendation Means little

by John Campbell
A general view shows Chad's President Idriss Deby addressing delegates during the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 31, 2016. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

At the end of the recent 28th African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa on January 31, a recommendation emerged that collectively member states should withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC). The AU is not a party to the Treaty of Rome, which established the ICC, and its recommendation cannot compel individual states to withdraw. According to the media, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tanzania opposed the AU recommendation and other states declined to commit themselves. In the aftermath of the recommendation, on February 1, Nigeria publicly reiterated its intention to remain within the ICC. Read more »

African Elite Reaction to President Trump’s Travel Ban

by John Campbell
African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (L) and Chadian President Idriss Deby attend a news conference at the close of the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 31, 2016. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

It is too soon to say what the lasting consequences will be of President Trump’s “travel ban” of the citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries and his 120-day suspension of all refugee admissions to the United States. But, it could have serious effects on U.S.-African relations. In 2010 the Pew Research Center found that of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population of 823 million, 234 million were Muslims. The Islamic population is heavily concentrated in West Africa where U.S. strategic and economic interests on the continent are the greatest, especially Nigeria, where at least 50 percent of the country’s population of two-hundred million is Muslim. However, there are Muslim minorities in nearly all African countries. Read more »

Salafism in Northern Nigeria Beyond Boko Haram

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A pilgrim returning from his Haj in Saudi Arabia looks on at the General Aviation Terminal of the Abuja Airport, Nigeria, September 29, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

This is a guest post by Alex Thurston. Alex is the author of  Salafism in Nigeria: Islam, Preaching, and Politics, and is an assistant professor at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. Alex was an international affairs fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations from 2013-2014. Read more »

South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters Breaks with Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe

by John Campbell
Julius Malema, the firebrand leader of South Africa's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) looks on before addressing his supporters during his campaign, ahead of the August 3, local government elections, in Etwatwa, a township near Benoni, South Africa, July 27, 2016. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko.)

South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is a voice of radical causes, including the expropriation of white-owned land without compensation. It is led by Julius Malema, former head of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL). Malema later broke with ANC party leader Jacob Zuma and was expelled from the party. He then organized the EFF as a rival party, which won over 6 percent of the vote in the 2014 general elections and more than 8 percent of the vote in the 2016 national municipal elections. Read more »

Biafra and the U.S.-Nigeria Relationship

by John Campbell
Supporters of Nnamdi Kanu are seen outside the premises of the Federal High Court in Abuja, Nigeria January 10, 2017. (Reuters/Stringer)

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is a separatist movement that seeks to recreate Biafra as an independent state. From 1967-70, there was a civil war over Biafra’s attempt to secede that left up to two million Nigerians dead. Ever since, the Nigerian government has tried to crack down on Biafra secessionist movements. Hence, it’s imprisonment of IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu. Read more »

Identity Politics in South Africa

by John Campbell
Students await the removal of the statue of Cecil John Rhodes at the University of Cape Town (UCT), April 9, 2015. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

The African National Congress (ANC), which has governed South Africa since the 1994 transition to “non-racial democracy,” traditionally eschewed identity politics. Though its electoral support was overwhelmingly Black, the party recruited its leadership from all races, which included many Whites and Asians. Nelson Mandela’s emphasis on racial reconciliation was very much in the spirit of the ANC. He particularly emphasized that there was place for Whites in post-apartheid South Africa. Famously, he attended a rugby championship match, the subject of the film Invictus. (Rugby is a White, mostly Afrikaner sport). Read more »