John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Development"

Tracking South Africa’s Democracy in Real Time

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A search of FACTIVA’s database revealed preliminary evidence that reporting on service delivery protests has been increasing since the early 2000s, with a sharp downturn in 2013. However, this data is limited by internal factors such as FACTIVA’s addition of new sources and external factors like the media’s use of the term “service delivery protest.”
Source: FACTIVA A search of FACTIVA’s database revealed preliminary evidence that reporting on service delivery protests has been increasing since the early 2000s, with a sharp downturn in 2013. However, this data is limited by internal factors such as FACTIVA’s addition of new sources and external factors like the media’s use of the term “service delivery protest.” Source: FACTIVA

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 longer version of this post appeared on the World Policy Blog. Read more »

Nigeria is Officially “Africa’s Largest Economy”

by John Campbell
Trucks are seen parked around an automobile workshop overlooking the Lagos business district at the Orile-Iganmu in Lagos August 29, 2013. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) Trucks are seen parked around an automobile workshop overlooking the Lagos business district at the Orile-Iganmu in Lagos August 29, 2013. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

On April 6, Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics announced that after “rebasing,” Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) almost doubled to U.S. $509.9 billion. That figure is dramatically larger than South Africa’s 2013 GDP of $370.3 billion, and bestows on Nigeria the bragging rights of being the largest economy in Africa. Read more »

South African President Jacob Zuma’s “Let Them Eat Cake” Moment?

by John Campbell
A general view of the Nkandla home of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla, August 2, 2012. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters) A general view of the Nkandla home of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla, August 2, 2012. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters)

There is an apocryphal story that in France, King Louis XVI’s queen Marie Antoinette was once told, “Madame, the people have no bread.” To which she replied, “then let them eat cake.” The reality behind the story was of a self-centered court widely perceived as isolated from the French people. The French Revolution followed shortly after. Read more »

Uganda and the African Standby Force

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A soldier from the Somali National Army uses a belt acting as a weapon during a training exercise in Mogadishu, March 28, 2013. (Tobin Jones/Courtesy Reuters) A soldier from the Somali National Army uses a belt acting as a weapon during a training exercise in Mogadishu, March 28, 2013. (Tobin Jones/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Allen Grane, intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program. Allen is currently an officer in the Army National Guard. His interests are in Africa, conflict, and conflict resolution.

Since 2003, The African Union Peace and Security Council has sought to establish an African Standby Force, whose purpose would be to rapidly respond to conflicts and emergency situations in Africa. Since then the Council has proposed several structural versions of a standby force to fill this rapid reaction role, none of which have yet yielded results. In the meantime it appears that the Ugandan government is using its own military to fill this role. Read more »

Health Services Collapse in Northeast Nigeria

by John Campbell
Volunteer Health officials wait to immunise children at a school in Nigeria's capital Abuja February 1, 2010. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Volunteer Health officials wait to immunise children at a school in Nigeria's capital Abuja February 1, 2010. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Recently an Agence France Press (AFP) article reported that health services have collapsed in Borno state in northeast Nigeria due to the onslaught of “Boko Haram.” AFP reports that hospitals and clinics have been attacked, and medical personnel kidnapped either for ransom or to treat wounded Boko Haram fighters. AFP also reports that Boko Haram has been carrying out attacks on pharmacies–usually Christian-owned–for looting and destruction. Read more »

United States Military to Train Nigerian Rangers?

by John Campbell
A U.S. Special Forces trainer supervises a military assault drill for a unit within the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) conducted in Nzara on the outskirts of Yambio, November 29, 2013. (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters) A U.S. Special Forces trainer supervises a military assault drill for a unit within the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) conducted in Nzara on the outskirts of Yambio, November 29, 2013. (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters)

In the March 5 New York Times, Eric Schmitt’s article “U.S. Takes Training Role in Africa as Threats Grow and Budgets Shrink,” reviews U.S. military assistance and training to the weak states of the Sahel that are confronting jihadi militantsHe discusses the constraints on what the U.S. is willing and able to do in a context of domestic budget cuts and a general war-weariness in the aftermath of Iraq and Afghanistan. Read more »

Tracking the Traffickers: Understanding the Illegal Wildlife Trade Supply Chain

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officer stands guard near a shipment of elephant tusks and rhino horns which was intercepted at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, in the capital Nairobi, August 23, 2010. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) A Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officer stands guard near a shipment of elephant tusks and rhino horns which was intercepted at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, in the capital Nairobi, August 23, 2010. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

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

Over the past year the plight of Africa’s elephants and rhinos has captured international imagination; in December 2013, the UN proclaimed March 3 to be World Wildlife Day. Moving beyond the headlines, countering wildlife slaughter and trade requires a better understanding of the illicit wildlife supply chain and what, beyond poverty and greed, motivates its participants. Read more »

Compatibility Issues in Somalia: Governance and Economics

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A truck drives through Bakara market in Mogadishu, October 5, 2013. (Feisal Omar/Courtesy Reuters) A truck drives through Bakara market in Mogadishu, October 5, 2013. (Feisal Omar/Courtesy Reuters)

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

Somalia continues to improve after a nearly a quarter century of war, but integrating economics and governance remains difficult. Read more »

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on “Reforming Nigeria”

by John Campbell
Nigeria's finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala address the audience on the achievements of President Goodluck Jonathan's administration while delivering the mid-term report during Democracy Day celebrations in Abuja, May 29, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Nigeria's finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala address the audience on the achievements of President Goodluck Jonathan's administration while delivering the mid-term report during Democracy Day celebrations in Abuja, May 29, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Stuart Reid published in the current issue of Foreign Affairs a fascinating interview with Nigeria Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The finance minister was educated at Harvard and MIT and is a former vice president of the World Bank. More recently she was a candidate for the presidency of the World Bank. International investors and business people associate her with many or most of Nigeria’s economic reforms in the administrations of Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan. She is probably much more popular outside of Nigeria than at home, where her reforms have gored many oxes. Read more »

A Nigerian in the Winter Olympics?

by John Campbell
Matthew Antoine of the United States competes in the men's skeleton event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, February 15, 2014. (Fabrizio Bensch/Courtesy Reuters) Matthew Antoine of the United States competes in the men's skeleton event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, February 15, 2014. (Fabrizio Bensch/Courtesy Reuters)

For an inspiring if also heartbreaking story, check out Drew Hinshaw’s Wall Street Journal piece on Seun Adebiyi, a Nigerian with a Yale law degree, and Wall Street experience who tried to qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia and compete in the Skeleton event. From all of sub-Saharan Africa, only three athletes qualified for the Sochi Olympics; they are from Togo and Zimbabwe. A Ghanaian and a South African came close to qualifying. In the end, Seun Adebiyi was defeated by funding shortages, stem cell leukemia/lymphoma, and finally a torn Achilles tendon. Read more »