John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Climate Change"

Sea Levels along the West African Coast

by John Campbell
A view of the Makoko fishing community is seen from top of a floating school on the Lagos Lagoon, Nigeria, February 29, 2016. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

According to the World Bank, almost one third of West Africa’s population, responsible for creating 56 percent of GDP, lives along the coast of the Gulf of Guinea. Because of global warming, sea levels around the world are likely to rise by more than thirty inches (2.5 feet) by the end of the century. Africa, the Gulf of Guinea in particular, is expected to be especially hard hit: the number of people who could be flooded in Africa is estimated to rise from 1 million a year in 1990 to 70 million a year by 2080. Read more »

Famine in Northeast Nigeria

by John Campbell
A girl displaced as a result of Boko Haram attacks in the northeast region of Nigeria, uses a mortar and pestle at a camp for internally displaced people in Yola, Adamawa State, January 14, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

Michelle Faul, writing for AP, reports on the horrific famine now underway in Northeast Nigeria. She quotes Doctors without Borders as characterizing the crisis as “catastrophic.” She also quotes an American midwife who runs a feeding center as saying “These are kids that basically have been hungry all their lives, and some are so far gone that they die here in the first 24 hours.” Read more »

Massive Ivory Shipment Seized in South Sudan

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A customs officer arranges confiscated elephant tusks before a news conference at the Port Authority of Thailand in Bangkok, April 20, 2015. (Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom)

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

Last week, authorities at Juba International Airport seized nearly a ton and a half of ivory in South Sudan. This seizure highlights some of the critical factors in the fight against wildlife trafficking. Read more »

What Is New About Sectarian Fighting in Nigeria’s Middle Belt

by John Campbell
A tribal Fulani boy stands near cows at a local milk collecting centre in Dangwala Karfi village on the outskirts of Nigeria's northern city of Kano January 19, 2016. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

Sectarian conflict in Nigeria’s Middle Belt is attracting more attention both at home and abroad. Typically, conflict involves Muslim Fulani herdsmen clashing with Christian Barome (or other small tribes) farmers. Conflict between pastoralists and farmers has been endemic for years in the Middle Belt, where the predominately Christian south and the mostly Muslim north meet. The coincidence of boundaries between religions, land use, and ethnic groups promotes conflict, as does its manipulation by politicians to advance their particular agendas. Historically, the Fulani preyed on minority tribes to feed the slave trade. When Christianity arrived in the Middle Belt, it was embraced by the minority tribes, as opposed to the Islam of the slave catchers. Read more »

The Likelihood of Instability in Zimbabwe

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe gestures as he arrives to address Zimbabwe's Independence Day celebrations in Harare, April 18, 2016.(Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo)

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

Last spring, the Council on Foreign Relations published a Contingency Planning Memorandum (CPM) by Ambassador George F. Ward that described the potential for political instability and violence in Zimbabwe. Amb. Ward detailed three paths to instability in Zimbabwe: President Robert Mugabe’s death before an appointed successor is installed; a serious challenge to Mugabe’s control driven by increased factionalism; and an economic crisis triggering demand for political change. He also offered three corresponding “warning indicators”: any sign that Mugabe’s health is in decline; indication of increased dissent or infighting within the ruling party, Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF); and public unrest. Read more »

Ethiopia’s Forgotten Drought

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Residents wait to receive food aid at a distribution centre in Halo village, a drought-stricken area in Oromia region in Ethiopia, January 31, 2016. (Reuters/Edmund Blair)

This is a guest post by Gabriella Meltzer, Research Associate in Global Health for the Council on Foreign Relations Studies program.

El Niño was first discovered in the 1600s when fishermen noticed that in some years, water temperatures in the Pacific became warmer than usual. Hence, according to the National Ocean Service, El Niño today refers to “large-scale ocean-atmosphere climate interaction linked to a periodic warming in sea surface temperatures across the central and east-central Equatorial Pacific.” These anomalous weather patterns vary across regions, ranging from heavy rainfall and flooding to severe drought. Read more »

What to Watch: Africa 2016

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell and John Campbell
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 »

African Drought and Hydropower

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A 13.8 megawatt hydroelectric dam undergoes construction in Matebe, Democratic Republic of Congo, July 21, 2015. Reuters/Alyssa Ross

This is a guest post by Jameson McBride, an intern for Energy and the Environment at the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Program. He is currently studying Political Science and Sustainable Development at Columbia University.

Over the past few months, an energy crisis has been deepening in Zambia: the nation has been generating only 58 percent of its usual electrical capacity. The cause of this energy crisis, however, is not economic or political—it is drought. Like many sub-Saharan states, Zambia is heavily dependent on hydroelectricity, and recent drought has crippled the nation’s power supply. Zambia’s hydropower problems may only be a sign of things to come. Long-range models predict that climate change is likely to cause more droughts throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa. While hydropower is widely billed as sustainable due to its low emissions and high efficiency, the drought-induced Zambian energy crisis suggests that it may not be a reliable solution for African energy in a future marred by climate change. Read more »

Is President Buhari Making ‘the Perfect the Enemy of the Good?’

by John Campbell
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari addresses attendees during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 28, 2015. (Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)

President Muhammadu Buhari was elected president of Nigeria on March 31. He was inaugurated on May 29. Yet, he appointed his chief of staff and the secretary to the government of the federation – key positions in any administration – only in August. He still has not made any cabinet appointments, though his spokesmen are promising that they will be announced on September 30. Read more »

A Primer on Nigeria’s Oil Bunkering

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Smoke rises as an illegal oil refinary burns after a military chase in a windy creek near river Nun in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa December 6, 2012. Despite billions of dollars worth of oil flowing out of Nigeria South East, life for the majority of Niger Delta's inhabitants remains unchanged. Most people live in modest iron-roofed shacks, and rely on farming or fishing, their only interaction with the oil industry being when they step over pipelines in the swamps – or when a spill blights their landscape. (Courtesy Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

This is a guest post by Emily Mangan, an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Energy and Environment Program. She studies environmental policy at Skidmore College.

After resuming from recess, the Nigerian Senate pledged to increase the country’s oil revenue by reducing oil theft. Doing so would greatly increase Nigeria’s total oil exports and reduce oil spills that cause severe environmental damage in the Niger Delta. Read more »