John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Drought"

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 »

Bloody Easter in Nigeria’s Middle Belt

by John Campbell
A family gathers around the grave, where three murdered family members were buried together, in Jos in Nigeria's Plateau state, December 28, 2011. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) A family gathers around the grave, where three murdered family members were buried together, in Jos in Nigeria's Plateau state, December 28, 2011. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Over Easter weekend there were at least fifty deaths attributable to ethnic and religious conflict near Jos in Plateau state in Nigeria’s Middle Belt. This time, based on media reports, most of the victims appear to have been Christian farmers, with the perpetrators allegedly Hausa-Fulani Muslim herdsmen. Read more »

French Enter Mali But How Will It End?

by John Campbell
People walk past the Grand Mosque of Djenne, a UNESCO World-Heritage listed site, in Djenne 17/09/2012. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters) People walk past the Grand Mosque of Djenne, a UNESCO World-Heritage listed site, in Djenne 17/09/2012. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

According to the New York Times, the French intervention in Mali to halt the southern march of Islamist forces has gone well. Franco-Malian recovery of the fabled cities of Timbuktu, Gao, and Kidal can be foreseen, though the fighting may be very bloody. That will mean fewer amputations and stonings, but it will not resolve the fundamental issues: a detached and discredited government in Bamako, an alienated north, and a fierce popular anger that expresses itself in Islamic terms. All of this against a background of recurrent food insecurity related to desertification. As the earlier example of the Polisario shows, a desert based insurgency can last a long time, perhaps longer than a French commitment to a country that is marginal to its fundamental interests. Read more »

Zimbabwe Crops Fail, Hunger Looms

by John Campbell
Zimbabwean peasant farmer Loyce Nkala explains that she will reap nothing from her dying crop of maize in the drought prone district of Filabusi 450 km's south west of the capital Harare March 13, 2005. (Howard Burditt/Courtesy Reuters) Zimbabwean peasant farmer Loyce Nkala explains that she will reap nothing from her dying crop of maize in the drought prone district of Filabusi 450 km's south west of the capital Harare March 13, 2005. (Howard Burditt/Courtesy Reuters)

Of Zimbabwe’s almost 13 million people, 1.6 million of them will require food aid, and the number is likely to grow. An estimated 1.8 million tons of maize, the staple crop, is necessary to feed Zimbabwe. But, farmers unions are saying that the harvest is likely to be 1.1 million tons short. The ministry of agriculture is saying that about one third of all planted crops have failed due to the lack of irrigation and 45 percent of the maize crop must be written off. The World Food Program is preparing for a big increase in need. But WFP’s Zimbabwe program budget of $119 million faces a shortfall of about $85 million. Read more »