John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Climate Change"

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 »

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 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) 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) 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 »

International Assistance for Nigerian Refugees

by John Campbell
Refugees gather in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, that was set up for Nigerians fleeing the violence committed against them by Boko Haram militants, at Wurojuli, Gombe State, September 1, 2014. (Samuel Ini/Courtesy Reuters) Refugees gather in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, that was set up for Nigerians fleeing the violence committed against them by Boko Haram militants, at Wurojuli, Gombe State, September 1, 2014. (Samuel Ini/Courtesy Reuters)

In the best of times, Northeastern Nigeria and the adjoining regions in neighboring Chad, Niger, and Cameroon are among the poorest regions in the world. Food security, especially, is highly fragile in the face of desertification and overpopulation. These are not the best of times. Read more »

Climate Change and Conflict Triggers

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A Kenyan woman fetches water from a gully in Nyakach district, an area where massive land degradation has been exacerbated by livestock grazing and a rapidly increasing population, in western Kenya June 28, 2005. (Antony Njuguna/Courtesy Reuters) A Kenyan woman fetches water from a gully in Nyakach district, an area where massive land degradation has been exacerbated by livestock grazing and a rapidly increasing population, in western Kenya June 28, 2005. (Antony Njuguna/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jim Sanders, a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his former employers.

Recent protests in Turkey and Brazil are being lionized in the financial press as products of rising prosperity in “developing” countries, where economic growth grates against stagnant institutions. Yet simultaneously another powerful force is also engendering violent social unrest and revealing institutional deficiencies: climate change. Read more »

The Great Green Wall of Africa

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A dried up river filled with sand winds its way across the desert near Gos Beida in eastern Chad June 5, 2008. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Courtesy Reuters). A dried up river filled with sand winds its way across the desert near Gos Beida in eastern Chad June 5, 2008. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Courtesy Reuters).

This is a guest post by Kyle Benjamin Schneps; a dual master’s degree candidate at Columbia University specializing in international security policy and global health initiatives. He is currently completing a graduate internship with the Africa Studies program at Council on Foreign Relations. Read more »

Unstable Oil Markets Affect Nigerian Society

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Lagos, Nigeria A woman walks through Olusosun rubbish dump in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos April 18, 2007.(Finbarr O'Reilly/Courtesy Reuters). Lagos, Nigeria A woman walks through Olusosun rubbish dump in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos April 18, 2007.(Finbarr O'Reilly/Courtesy Reuters).

This is a guest post by Jim Sanders, a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his former employers.

Times are changing and Nigeria’s ministers of finance and petroleum are worried. An energy boom in the U.S., competition from rival African oil producers, and Asian refiners’ increasing ability to handle “sour” crude, are conspiring to reduce demand for Nigeria’s traditionally desirable light sweet crude. Read more »

Nigeria’s Floods and the Jonathan Administration

by John Campbell
Houses are submerged in floodwaters in Idah Local Government Area, in Nigeria's central state of Kogi. 29/09/2012 (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Houses are submerged in floodwaters in Idah Local Government Area, in Nigeria's central state of Kogi. 29/09/2012 (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Floods resulting from the autumn rainy season have devastated central and southeastern Nigeria. According to Nigerian media, the flooding is the worst in fifty years, and has already killed more than one hundred and displaced more than a million people. The Nigerian media speculates that the particularly heavy rains are associated with global warming–as is the shortage of rainfall, when it occurs, and the advance of the Sahara Desert in the north. Read more »

Guest Post: Lake Chad Shrinks, Conflict Grows

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Chadian men collect water with plastic canisters loaded on a hand cart in Lake Chad, on the island of Kouirom, January 27, 2007. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Chadian men collect water with plastic canisters loaded on a hand cart in Lake Chad, on the island of Kouirom, January 27, 2007. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Laura Dimon. Laura is the Africa program intern at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Earlier this week, the New York Times detailed the impact of Niger’s desertification on children, who must trek longer and longer distances to collect water. This is only one of the negative consequences of climate change that has hastened the drying up of the Lake Chad water basin. Over the last forty years, the water basin, which has supported up to thirty million beneficiaries across Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger, has shrunk by 95 percent. The lake’s shrinkage is the result of a myriad of factors: decreased rainfall resulting from climate change, increased demand for water caused by population growth and agriculture, an explosion of parasitic vegetation, and weak institutions managing competing demands. Read more »