John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Development"

Technical Challenges to Free, Fair, and Credible Elections in Nigeria

by John Campbell
A banner advertising awareness for voter's registration is hung at the back of a bus along a road in Lagos January 7, 2015. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) A banner advertising awareness for voter's registration is hung at the back of a bus along a road in Lagos January 7, 2015. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has dominated every single Nigerian presidential election since 1999. Using sophisticated forms of electoral rigging and relying on a relatively unified political class built on patronage, a PDP incumbent or his anointed successor has secured electoral victory at every turn. Such a scenario would all but ensure the re-election of Goodluck Jonathan in the February 14, 2015 elections. Read more »

Somalia Ready for Oil Exploration?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Engineers and visitors explore an exploratory well near Dharoor town, 350 km (217 miles) from the port of Bosasso on the Gulf of Aden in Puntland, January 17, 2012. (Abdiqani Hassan /Courtesy Reuters) Engineers and visitors explore an exploratory well near Dharoor town, 350 km (217 miles) from the port of Bosasso on the Gulf of Aden in Puntland, January 17, 2012. (Abdiqani Hassan /Courtesy Reuters)

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

Last month, Soma Oil and Gas, a London based energy company, searching for hydrocarbon deposits off the coast of Somalia, announced that it had completed a seismic survey to ascertain the potential for recoverable oil and gas deposits. Although further details have yet to be released, chief executive Rob Sheppard announced that the results were encouraging. However, Somalia, and potential investors, should proceed with caution when considering entering this frontier market. Read more »

Awaiting January’s Forum for National Reconciliation in Bangui

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Central African Republic's interim President Catherine Samba-Panza (C) addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 27, 2014. Eduardo Munoz/Courtesy Reuters Central African Republic's interim President Catherine Samba-Panza (C) addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 27, 2014. Eduardo Munoz/Courtesy Reuters

This is a guest post by Thomas Zuber, intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program. He is currently pursuing a Master’s in International Political Economy and Development at Fordham University.  Read more »

Gulu and Detroit: Bicycles to the Rescue

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A gold miner uses a bicycle to transport a sack of sandy soil from a small scale mine in Bugiri, 348 km (216 miles) east of Kampala, Uganda's capital February 5, 2013. (Edward Echwalu/Courtesy Reuters) A gold miner uses a bicycle to transport a sack of sandy soil from a small scale mine in Bugiri, 348 km (216 miles) east of Kampala, Uganda's capital February 5, 2013. (Edward Echwalu/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. Read more »

What’s Next for Burkina Faso?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Anti-government protesters gather in the Place de la Nation in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, October 31, 2014. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters) Anti-government protesters gather in the Place de la Nation in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, October 31, 2014. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Molly Rapaport, a Research Associate at the Council on Foreign Relations. She recently returned from a Fulbright fellowship in Burkina Faso, where she studied polygamy.

Ça chauffe moins pour le moment au Burkina. Things have cooled off in Burkina Faso, where massive protests three weeks ago led to the October 31 resignation of Blaise Compaoré. Blaise, as he is known colloquially, was president for twenty-seven years and intended to remain in power. When his proposed constitutional revision, which would have allowed him to run again in 2015, went to the National Assembly for a vote, hundreds of thousands of Burkinabe citizens protested. Their message, reinforced by burning the parliament building and tearing down a statue of Blaise, was crystal clear. Protest signs combined the president’s name with that of a terrible virus (making “Ebolaise”), and Burkinabe entreated their fellow citizens to “disinfect” themselves. Read more »

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 »

Ebola Threatens ‘Africa Rising’ and Strains Relations Across the Continent: A Look at the Southern Africa Example

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A boy stands near posters displaying a government message against Ebola at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. (2Tango/Courtesy Reuters) A boy stands near posters displaying a government message against Ebola at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. (2Tango/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Brooks Marmon, Accountability Architect at the Accountability Lab.  Brooks was previously based in the Lab’s Liberia office and recently completely an extended assignment in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Read more »

Pathetic International Response to Ebola Thus Far

by John Campbell
Supplies, including 100 tons of emergency medical aid, are seen before being loaded on to a 747 aircraft at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport September 20, 2014. (Carlo Allegri /Courtesy Reuters) Supplies, including 100 tons of emergency medical aid, are seen before being loaded on to a 747 aircraft at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport September 20, 2014. (Carlo Allegri /Courtesy Reuters)

Ebola is not showing the international community at its best. Even as Ebola panic seems to be spreading internationally, with possible new cases in Macedonia and the Czech Republic and Ebola deaths in Spain and the United States. Drew Hinshaw and Betsy McKay in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) provide a run-down of which countries are doing what. It is discouraging. Read more »

De Beers Diamond Moves Sales Army from London to Botswana

by John Campbell
A worker at the Botswana Diamond Valuing Company displays a rough diamond during the sorting process at the purpose-built centre in the capital Gaborone, August 26, 2004. (Juda Ngwenya/Courtesy Reuters) A worker at the Botswana Diamond Valuing Company displays a rough diamond during the sorting process at the purpose-built centre in the capital Gaborone, August 26, 2004. (Juda Ngwenya/Courtesy Reuters)

For the past century or so, big mining corporations have pursued their operations in Africa, but their senior management, marketing, and sales have been in Europe or North America. That is changing.

The government of Botswana and De Beers Group, the diamond company, agreed in 2011 that the latter would sort, value, and sell diamonds produced by the company Debswana, a joint 50/50 business venture between Botswana and De Beers that accounts for a third of Botswana’s GDP. For its part De Beers agreed to transfer its London based rough diamond sales to Botswana. The move involves the transfer of professionals, equipment and technology from London to Botswana’s capital, Gaborone. In November 2013, De Beers started diamond sales in Gaborone in a state-of-the-art facility. Batswana, nationals of Botswana, are about 50 percent of the de Beers’ employees in the sales division. Read more »