John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "African Union"

AU Vote to Leave the International Criminal Court of Little Consequence

by John Campbell
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta attends the opening ceremony of the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 30, 2016. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri) Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta attends the opening ceremony of the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 30, 2016. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

Led by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, the African Union (AU) voted by a huge margin in favor of a proposal for withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC). In the aftermath of the vote, President Jacob Zuma reiterated his threat that South Africa would withdraw from the ICC’s jurisdiction: “Our strongly held view is that it is now impossible, under the circumstances, for South Africa to continue its participation…” The AU chairman, Chadian President Idriss Deby, repeated the regular criticism that the ICC is biased against Africa: “Elsewhere in the world, many things happen, many flagrant violations of human rights, but nobody cares.” Read more »

“Africa Rising”

by John Campbell
The sun rises over Mount Mikeno (C) in the Virunga National Park, Eastern DRC, December 12, 2008. (Reuters/Peter Andrews) The sun rises over Mount Mikeno (C) in the Virunga National Park, Eastern DRC, December 12, 2008. (Reuters/Peter Andrews)

For the past decade, the narrative of “Africa Rising” has been dominant. In hindsight, it was largely the product of high prices for Africa’s export commodities, especially oil, the continent’s rapid urbanization, an over-estimation of the growth of a middle class, over-reliance on dubious statistics, and more than a dollop of wishful thinking. “Africa Rising” was also a useful marketing tool for those seeking to raise capital for investment on the continent. Read more »

Al-Shabab and Islamic State: A New Rivalry

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Djibouti soldiers serving in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) display weapons and parade suspected al-Shabab members during a patrol in the south central town of Beledweyne in Somalia, May 9, 2013. (Reuters/Feisal Omar) Djibouti soldiers serving in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) display weapons and parade suspected al-Shabab members during a patrol in the south central town of Beledweyne in Somalia, May 9, 2013. (Reuters/Feisal Omar)

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

Earlier this month, al-Shabab attacked an African Union (AU) base deep into AU controlled territory. This was followed up last week with an attack on civilians in AU controlled Mogadishu. The attacks reminded the world, again, that although al-Shabab has lost some of its previous stature, it remains resilient. But, a new threat looms. Recently, al-Shabab has been struggling to counter the new threat of the self-proclaimed Islamic State’s growing influence in East Africa. As the Islamic State gains momentum, and the rival groups compete for recruits and jockey for position, they may both use attacks on AU troops and civilians to prove their legitimacy.  Read more »

Mugabe and Obiang Call for Security Council Reform

by John Campbell
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (R) and his Equatorial Guinea counterpart Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo arrive for the opening of the Harare Agricultural Show, August 31, 2007. (Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo) Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (R) and his Equatorial Guinea counterpart Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo arrive for the opening of the Harare Agricultural Show, August 31, 2007. (Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo)

Reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is a perennial African chestnut. The UNSC is more involved in Africa than in any other region, and many Africans feel it is acutely unjust that none of the permanent members are from the continent. (The permanent members are the victorious powers in World War II: China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States.) Read more »

What to Watch: Africa 2016

by John Campbell and Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Boys play on the roof of the entrance to a football stadium in Gao February 20, 2013. (Reuters/Joe Penney) Boys play on the roof of the entrance to a football stadium in Gao February 20, 2013. (Reuters/Joe Penney)

While western governments are currently transfixed on events in Iraq and Syria, it is important that they do not forget Africa. Boko Haram has become the world’s deadliest terrorist organization and Libya is increasingly becoming a base of operations for the Islamic State. Below, CFR’s Africa program outlines six African issues to watch in 2016. While they could certainly affect the lives of millions of Africans, these issues could also have serious implications for international politics. Read more »

Advancing African Development Through Intra-Continental Trade

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
(L-R) South Africa's President Jacob Zuma, Senegal's President Macky Sall and Rwanda's President Paul Kagame participate in a panel discussion on the future of Africa during the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in Washington,  August 5, 2014. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst) (L-R) South Africa's President Jacob Zuma, Senegal's President Macky Sall and Rwanda's President Paul Kagame participate in a panel discussion on the future of Africa during the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in Washington, August 5, 2014. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

This is a guest post by Fily Camara, an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Program. He is a masters candidate at New York University.

Intra-African trade has been only eleven percent of the continent’s total trade over the last decade. By comparison, more than sixty percent of Europe’s trade is intra-continental. The equivalent figure for North America is about 45 percent and for Asia it is about twenty-five percent. The small scale of Africa’s intra-continental trade reflects the continent’s dependence on foreign markets for the vast majority of their trade relations. African policymakers, as well as their Western counterparts, have long acknowledged the need for more intra-continental trade. It is a paradox that, for much of Africa’s postcolonial history, it has been a pioneer in regional integration. In addition to the African Union (AU), there are eight, smaller regional economic communities—many of which have successfully implemented common currencies and external tariffs in addition to cooperating on matters of security and justice. Nevertheless, commerce among countries in Africa remains low, with significant negative development ramifications. Read more »

The African Internet Governance Forum: Continued Discomfort with Multistakeholderism

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 28, 2015. (Courtesy/Jonathan Ernst) U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 28, 2015. (Courtesy/Jonathan Ernst)

This post originally appeared on the Council on Foreign Relations Net Politics Blog and is written by Mailyn Fidler. Mailyn is a Marshall Scholar studying international relations at the University of Oxford. You can follow her on Twitter @mailynfidler. Read more »

Good News About the African Standby Force

by John Campbell
Members of the Eastern Africa Standby Brigade from Ethiopia parade during the closing ceremony of the Field Training Service (FTS) in exercise Amani Carana in the Arta region of Djibouti, December 4, 2009. (Reuters/Thomas Mukoya) Members of the Eastern Africa Standby Brigade from Ethiopia parade during the closing ceremony of the Field Training Service (FTS) in exercise Amani Carana in the Arta region of Djibouti, December 4, 2009. (Reuters/Thomas Mukoya)

The BBC reports that troops from the African Union’s (AU) African Standby Force (ASF) have started military exercises in South Africa on October 20. This exercise is meant to establish whether the ASF will be fully operational by the intended December 2015 deadline. The AU’s aspiration is that the ASF will free the continent of the need for non-African outside forces for conflict resolution. Read more »

Congressional Interest in South Sudan

by John Campbell
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (seated) signs a peace agreement in South Sudan's capital Juba, August 26, 2015. (Reuters/Jok Solomun) South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (seated) signs a peace agreement in South Sudan's capital Juba, August 26, 2015. (Reuters/Jok Solomun)

The civil war and associated humanitarian disasters in South Sudan is reawakening Congressional interest and concern for South Sudan. A bipartisan group of seven congressmen have introduced a bill, HR 2989, “to encourage the warring parties of South Sudan to resolve their conflicts peacefully.” The congressional sponsors are Thomas Rooney (R-FL), Michael Capuano (D-MA), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Maxine Waters (D-CA), James McGovern (D-MA), and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE). Read more »

South Africa’s Possible Presidential Successors

by John Campbell
South African President Jacob Zuma (L) and the new African Union Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma attend the closing ceremony of the African Union (AU) leaders' meeting in Addis Ababa, July 16, 2012. (Courtesy Reuters/Tiksa Neger) South African President Jacob Zuma (L) and the new African Union Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma attend the closing ceremony of the African Union (AU) leaders' meeting in Addis Ababa, July 16, 2012. (Courtesy Reuters/Tiksa Neger)

Jacob Zuma’s term as president of South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) ends in 2017; his term as South Africa’s president ends in 2019. Zuma’s successor as ANC president will almost certainly be South Africa’s next president, unless there is an electoral upset of an enormous magnitude. Read more »