John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Development"

Africa Returns to the Markets

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Nigerian naira notes are seen in this picture illustration, March 15, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde/Illustration) Nigerian naira notes are seen in this picture illustration, March 15, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde/Illustration)

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

In early April, South Africa issued its first sovereign bond in over two years. The ten-year, $1.25 billion bond was oversubscribed by a factor of two. This is the first international bond issued by a sub-Saharan African nation in 2016. It is likely to be followed by Kenyan, Nigerian, and Ghanaian issuances. Read more »

Africa’s Leadership

by John Campbell
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace cut a birthday cake at celebrations at Great Zimbabwe in Masvingo, February 27, 2016. (Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo) Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace cut a birthday cake at celebrations at Great Zimbabwe in Masvingo, February 27, 2016. (Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo)

It is no secret that bad leadership at the top has long been a brake on the economic, political, and social development of certain African countries. Many years the Mo Ibrahim Prize for leadership by an African president who leaves office at the end of his term goes unrewarded. There have been numerous, egregious examples of bad presidential leadership over the past few weeks. 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) 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 »

“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 »

The Year China Solidifies the Renminbi’s Place in Africa

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Chinese President Xi Jinping, accompanied by his wife wife Peng Liyuan, walks with South African President Jacob Zuma upon his arrival at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, December 2, 2015. (Reuters/Sydney Seshibedi) Chinese President Xi Jinping, accompanied by his wife wife Peng Liyuan, walks with South African President Jacob Zuma upon his arrival at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, December 2, 2015. (Reuters/Sydney Seshibedi)

This is a guest post by John Causey, a private equity and transaction advisor with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa.

The U.S. dollar’s dominance in sub-Saharan Africa is no longer certain. Despite the current volatility of the Chinese renminbi an auspicious moment may exist for China’s currency to challenge the dollar’s hegemony in the region. Read more »

IMF Managing Director Lagarde’s Visit a Boost for President Buhari

by John Campbell
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde attend a meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, January 5, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde attend a meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, January 5, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

President Muhammadu Buhari faces a serious economic crisis related to the plunge in the world price of oil, slow rates of economic growth, the prospect of rising American interest rates, a falling national currency, and declining government revenues. At the same time, he is working to restructure the economy away from undue dependence on oil by increasing infrastructure investment and vigorously pursuing an anti-corruption agenda demonstrated by the arrests of high-profile public figures. 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 »

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 »

South Africa’s Rhino Horn Moratorium

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Police officers stand guard next to a part of a shipment of 24 rhino horns seized by the Customs Administration of the Czech Republic during a news conference in Prague, July 23, 2013. (Reuters/David W Cerny) Police officers stand guard next to a part of a shipment of 24 rhino horns seized by the Customs Administration of the Czech Republic during a news conference in Prague, July 23, 2013. (Reuters/David W Cerny)

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

Last week, South African High Court Judge Francis Legodi ruled against the Zuma administration moratorium on the country’s domestic trade in rhino horns. As it is possible to harvest a rhino’s horn without killing the animal, there is discussion about the potential for a regulated trade in rhino horns. In light of the dramatic increase in rhino poaching, the argument that legalizing trade in rhino horn could help save the species has been gaining steam. The high court ruling is a reflection of this thinking. However, the decision from the judge may not actually mean much. Read more »

Pope Offers ‘Home Truths’ About African Elites

by John Campbell
Pope Francis prays at the Anglican martyrs' shrine in Namugongo near the Ugandan capital of Kampala, November 28, 2015. (Reuters/James Akena) Pope Francis prays at the Anglican martyrs' shrine in Namugongo near the Ugandan capital of Kampala, November 28, 2015. (Reuters/James Akena)

In November during a Nairobi, Kenya slum visit, Pope Francis used plain language to express home truths about African elites. According to UK media the Pope ascribed the “injustices” suffered by the slum residents to “wounds inflicted by minorities who cling to power and wealth, who selfishly squander while a growing majority is forced to flee to abandoned, filthy, and rundown peripheries.” Read more »