John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Employment"

Nigeria’s Cupboard is Bare

by John Campbell
Villagers stand near jerrycans containing crude oil collected at the shore of the Atlantic ocean near Orobiri village, days after Royal Dutch Shell's Bonga off-shore oil spill, in Nigeria's delta state December 31, 2011. Amnesty International called into question Royal Dutch Shell's accounting in Nigeria for oil spill amounts and causes, saying the oil major was seeking to avoid compensation payments and damage to its reputation. Picture taken December 31, 2011. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye) Villagers stand near jerrycans containing crude oil collected at the shore of the Atlantic ocean near Orobiri village, days after Royal Dutch Shell's Bonga off-shore oil spill, in Nigeria's delta state December 31, 2011. Amnesty International called into question Royal Dutch Shell's accounting in Nigeria for oil spill amounts and causes, saying the oil major was seeking to avoid compensation payments and damage to its reputation. Picture taken December 31, 2011. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

According to the media, President Muhammadu Buhari said on June 23 that Nigeria’s treasury is “virtually empty.” In order to document this he has promised to release a report on the size of Nigeria’s revenue and debt in about four weeks. He also says that he will recover billions of dollars that have been stolen under previous administrations, and that the United States and other countries will assist Nigeria in the recovery of the stolen money. Read more »

The Conflicting Messages of Jacob Zuma

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
South African President Jacob Zuma attends the summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), called to discuss industrialisation in southern Africa, in Harare, April 29, 2015.  (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters) South African President Jacob Zuma attends the summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), called to discuss industrialisation in southern Africa, in Harare, April 29, 2015. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Cheryl Strauss Einhorn, a journalist and adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has denounced the anti-immigrant violence racking his country while also promising to step up a crackdown on illegal immigration. It’s a tricky and dangerous high stakes game to play, one that does not address the nation’s underlying problems of unemployment and poverty, and that sadly puts South Africa’s stability at stake. 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 »

Black and White Income Inequality in South Africa and the United States

by John Campbell
A fruit vendor waits for customers at an informal settlement in Thokoza, south of Johannesburg, July 18, 2014. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters) A fruit vendor waits for customers at an informal settlement in Thokoza, south of Johannesburg, July 18, 2014. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters)

South Africa is notorious for having gross income inequality. Its GINI coefficient–a standard for measuring income inequality–is one of the highest in the world. The World Bank computed it at 63.1 in 2009, with zero being absolute equality and one hundred absolute inequality. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the GINI coefficient for the United States in 2012 was 47.7. When analyzing these two GINI coefficients, there is a danger of comparing apples with oranges. The GINI coefficients here cited were developed by two different institutions, no doubt with different methodologies. What GINI coefficients actually show is also a matter of debate. Still, they indicate income inequality was greater in South Africa than in the U.S. in recent years. Read more »

Africa’s Youth Bulge a Big Burden

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 Diptesh Soni. Diptesh is currently a consultant in UNICEF’s public advocacy section and a recent graduate of the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his employer. You can follow him on twitter at @dipteshpsoni. 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 »

Tapping into Africa’s Potential: Why the Marginalized Matter

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A woman sets up her shop at the Konyo Konyo market in Juba, South Sudan, May 12, 2012. (Adriane Ohanesian/Courtesy Reuters) A woman sets up her shop at the Konyo Konyo market in Juba, South Sudan, May 12, 2012. (Adriane Ohanesian/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Lynn ElHarake, research associate for the Women and Foreign Policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“Africa is now the world’s youngest continent,” writes Makhtar Diop, vice president for Africa at the World Bank. “These young people have high expectations, and African policy makers are increasingly concerned about how to meet them.” Read more »

Unpacking Africa’s Growth Forecasts: Potentials and Risks

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Workers are seen in front the construction site of Eskom's Medupi power station, a new dry-cooled coal fired power station, in Limpopo province, June 8, 2012. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters) Workers are seen in front the construction site of Eskom's Medupi power station, a new dry-cooled coal fired power station, in Limpopo province, June 8, 2012. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Diptesh Soni. Diptesh is a master’s degree candidate at the Columbia University School of International Public Affairs (SIPA) studying economic and political development. You can read more by him at: https://dipteshsoni.contently.com/. Read more »

The Cost of Nigerian Governance

by John Campbell
General view of the Nigerian National Assembly as Chinese President Hu Jintao gives his address in Abuja April 27, 2006. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) General view of the Nigerian National Assembly as Chinese President Hu Jintao gives his address in Abuja April 27, 2006. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Oby Ezekwesili on August 19 in Abuja said that Nigeria spent over one trillion naira on National Assembly members since 2005. That is about U.S. $6.2 billion. Mrs. Ezekwesili is a former minister of education, former minister of solid minerals, and World Bank vice president for the African region. She went on to say that 82 percent of Nigeria’s budget goes for “recurrent expenditure;” essentially keeping the doors open. She noted a recent UK report that identified Nigerian legislators as the highest paid in the world. Read more »

The Underside of “Africa Rising”

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
General view of Alexandra township, commonly known as Alex, a slum
overlooking the Sandton sky scrappers in Johannesburg August 23, 2002. (Juda Ngwenya/Courtesy Reuters) General view of Alexandra township, commonly known as Alex, a slum overlooking the Sandton sky scrappers in Johannesburg August 23, 2002. (Juda Ngwenya/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.

Occasionally, the financial press experiences a twinge of conscience, or so it seems. News of Africa’s economic progress, in particular the growth of its middle classes, thrums almost daily though a range of papers. But this spring the Financial Times’ Simon Kuper slammed on the brakes. Read more »