John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Democracy"

Can the U.S. Help Nigeria Confront Boko Haram?

by John Campbell
Women study Hadith excerpts at Maska Road Islamic School in Kaduna, July 16, 2014. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters) Women study Hadith excerpts at Maska Road Islamic School in Kaduna, July 16, 2014. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

For a long time Nigeria was Washington’s most important strategic partner on issues of security and stability in Africa. But, the Boko Haram insurgency and Abuja’s response to it has put that partnership in jeopardy. The movement and the Nigerian government’s failed response to it pose a dilemma for the Obama administration. On the one hand, Boko Haram is repellent, regularly resorting to terror against the highly vulnerable, including the murder and kidnapping of young people in school. On the other hand, the official security forces carry out atrocities against the local population, and the government has thus far failed to address the drivers of the insurgency, including political marginalization, accelerating impoverishment, and rampant corruption. This state of affairs has allowed Boko Haram to ramp up its military campaign in 2014, having killed over 3,600 civilians and seizing control of more than 10 towns in northeast Nigeria. Boko Haram has also carried out cross-border operations, notably in northern Cameroon. Read more »

African Immigrants to the United States

by John Campbell
Yama Sumo (R), a former refugee from civil war in Liberia, sits by her sidewalk vegetable stand outside a housing project in the Park Hill section of Staten Island in New York City, September 20, 2007. (Mike Segar/Courtesy Reuters) Yama Sumo (R), a former refugee from civil war in Liberia, sits by her sidewalk vegetable stand outside a housing project in the Park Hill section of Staten Island in New York City, September 20, 2007. (Mike Segar/Courtesy Reuters)

I have written before about New York’s City’s African-born population. Here, I want to call attention to the current wave of African immigration to the United States. Read more »

Africa, The Summit and Development

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
U.S. President Barack Obama (bottom row, C) waits to depart with other leaders after a family photo for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the U.S. State Department in Washington, August 6, 2014. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama (bottom row, C) waits to depart with other leaders after a family photo for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the U.S. State Department in Washington, August 6, 2014. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Owen Cylke. Mr. Cylke is a development professional and a retired senior foreign service officer with U.S. Agency for International Development.

References to development (even to the word “development”) do not appear in most of the reports on the recently concluded U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. In this regard, I want to distinguish between “assistance” and “development,” between discrete projects on the one hand, and, on the other, the larger, more complex process of transforming economies, polities, administrations, and societies. Yet, the advancement of development is a stated goal of the president of the United States, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, and the International Monetary Fund. Development also has the focused attention of African leadership as reflected in the policies and actions of the African Union, its development arm the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and the constitutions, policies, and actions of virtually every country on the continent. Read more »

South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters and the Labor Aristocracy

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Supporters of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Party (EFF) cheer during their party's final election rally in Pretoria, May 4, 2014. (Skyler Reid/Courtesy Reuters) Supporters of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Party (EFF) cheer during their party's final election rally in Pretoria, May 4, 2014. (Skyler Reid/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.

In his August 5 post on Julius Malema and South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), John Campbell concludes that both may be shoved aside by a responsible, left-wing political party, expected to be created by the Metal Workers Union in time to contest the 2019 national elections. As Campbell mentions, this new party is likely to be well funded with veteran leadership. However, what he views as the Metal Workers Union’s strengths—ample funding and veteran leadership—may be the very characteristics that will make any political party it creates unattractive to those now supporting Malema and the EFF. Read more »

South Africa’s Mamphela Ramphele Leaves Politics

by John Campbell
Anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele launches her new political party "Agang" to challenge South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) in Pretoria, June 22, 2013. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters) Anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele launches her new political party "Agang" to challenge South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) in Pretoria, June 22, 2013. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters)

Mamphela Ramphele, the founder of the political party AgangSA (Agang is the northern Sotho word for ‘build’) in 2013, announced on July 8 that she is leaving politics. Read more »

Nigeria: What Time Is It?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
People crowd on a road near Balogun market to shop, a day before Christmas in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos, December 24, 2012. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) People crowd on a road near Balogun market to shop, a day before Christmas in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos, December 24, 2012. (Akintunde Akinleye/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.

Luxury watch sales are rising in Africa. Ulysse Nardin opened a shop in Abuja, as Nigeria is seen as “the force today” in that market. Yet time may be moving faster than horological devices can measure. Read more »

Negotiating Democracy in Malawi

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Malawi's President Joyce Hilda Mtila Banda addresses the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 24, 2013. (Ray Stubblebine/Courtesy Reuters) Malawi's President Joyce Hilda Mtila Banda addresses the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 24, 2013. (Ray Stubblebine/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Kate Collins, Associate Director, Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, who lived and worked in Malawi in 2012-2013. 

Malawi is currently witnessing a political drama that will prompt Americans to recall the days of hanging chads in Bush vs. Gore. On May 20, Malawi held tripartite presidential, parliamentary, and municipal elections. The vote was chaotic, accompanied by spasms of violence unusual for this quiet southern African country. Some urban polling centers were torched by angry crowds, and the army was dispatched to keep order. The elections were also marred by logistical hurdles that are part and parcel of working in Malawi. Even urban polling stations with good access to infrastructure saw bungled ballot delivery, rescheduled polling, and officials counting votes by hand at night in the dark. Read more »

South Africa’s Political Playground

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
African National Congress  election posters featuring images of South Africa's president Jacob Zuma are displayed on a wall as a school boy climbs over it in Embo, May 6, 2014. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters) African National Congress election posters featuring images of South Africa's president Jacob Zuma are displayed on a wall as a school boy climbs over it in Embo, May 6, 2014. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Derek Charles Catsam, associate professor of History and the Kathlyn Cosper Dunagan fellow in the Humanities at the University of Texas of the Perman Basin. Derek was senior editor for the Foreign Policy Association’s Africa blog from 2007 to 2014. Read more »

South Africa: What Does “Service Delivery” Really Mean?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Protesters take part in a service delivery protest in Sebokeng, south of Johannesburg, February 5, 2014. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters) Protesters take part in a service delivery protest in Sebokeng, south of Johannesburg, February 5, 2014. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Le Chen, Janice Dean, Jesper Frant, and Rachana Kumar. They are Master of Public Administration students at Columbia University’s School of International Public Affairs. They are working with Ambassador John Campbell on a graduate practicum project, which was made possible by faculty adviser Professor Anne Nelson. A version of this post appeared on the World Policy Blog. Read more »

The 2014 South African Election: Another ANC Landslide

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
President Jacob Zuma dances at a victory rally of his ruling African National Congress (ANC) in Johannesburg May 10, 2014. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters) President Jacob Zuma dances at a victory rally of his ruling African National Congress (ANC) in Johannesburg May 10, 2014. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Derek Charles Catsam, associate professor of History and the Kathlyn Cosper Dunagan fellow in the Humanities at the University of Texas of the Perman Basin. Derek was senior editor for the Foreign Policy Association’s Africa blog from 2007 to 2014. Read more »