John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Food Insecurity"

South Africa’s Land “Expropriation Bill”

by John Campbell
A Muslim man stands next to iftar (breaking fast) meal plates on the first day of Ramadan in India, at the Jama Masjid (Grand Mosque) in the old quarters of Delhi, India July 7, 2016. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko) A Muslim man stands next to iftar (breaking fast) meal plates on the first day of Ramadan in India, at the Jama Masjid (Grand Mosque) in the old quarters of Delhi, India July 7, 2016. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

There is less than meets the eye to the South African parliament’s passage at the end of May of a land reform bill, called the “Expropriation Bill.” Ostensibly, the new legislation has some similarity to law of eminent domain in the United States. The new legislation would permit the government to take land for a “public purpose,” but (as in the United States) South African landowners would be compensated with an amount determined by a new ‘valuer general.’ The new legislation replaces the “willing buyer, willing seller” principle of land reform. Read more »

Don’t Give Up on AMISOM Yet

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeepers from Burundi patrol after fighting between insurgents and government soldiers erupted on the outskirts of Mogadishu, on May 22, 2012. (Reuters/Feisal Omar) African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeepers from Burundi patrol after fighting between insurgents and government soldiers erupted on the outskirts of Mogadishu, on May 22, 2012. (Reuters/Feisal Omar)

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

Later this year, Somalia looks to continue its recent progress by holding a successful parliamentary election. The election provides an opportunity to improve governance in the country and could illustrate the improvement Somalia has made to the donor community, international businesses, and the world. But, enormous pitfalls remain, and Somalia’s partners, including the United States, have expressed concerns about the process. This election could prove to be disastrous and set Somalia back if not handled correctly. To cope with these pitfalls, Somalia is forced to rely on an already strained African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) to secure this election, but international support appears to be waning for the African Union (AU) force. The AU should reaffirm its commitment to Somalia and implore member and donor nations to not give up on AMISOM, and Somalia, yet. Read more »

The Likelihood of Instability in Zimbabwe

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe gestures as he arrives to address Zimbabwe's Independence Day celebrations in Harare, April 18, 2016.(Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo) Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe gestures as he arrives to address Zimbabwe's Independence Day celebrations in Harare, April 18, 2016.(Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo)

Tyler Falish is an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program, and a student in Fordham University’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy & Development.

Last spring, the Council on Foreign Relations published a Contingency Planning Memorandum (CPM) by Ambassador George F. Ward that described the potential for political instability and violence in Zimbabwe. Amb. Ward detailed three paths to instability in Zimbabwe: President Robert Mugabe’s death before an appointed successor is installed; a serious challenge to Mugabe’s control driven by increased factionalism; and an economic crisis triggering demand for political change. He also offered three corresponding “warning indicators”: any sign that Mugabe’s health is in decline; indication of increased dissent or infighting within the ruling party, Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF); and public unrest. 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 »

Burundi’s Political Divide

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Burundi's President President Pierre Nkurunziza (L) receives a symbolic chain after being sworn-in for a third term following his re-election at the Congress Palace in Kigobe district, Bujumbura, August 20, 2015. (Reuters/Evrard Ngendakumana) Burundi's President President Pierre Nkurunziza (L) receives a symbolic chain after being sworn-in for a third term following his re-election at the Congress Palace in Kigobe district, Bujumbura, August 20, 2015. (Reuters/Evrard Ngendakumana)

This is a guest post by Claire Wilmot, a former intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Program. She is a master of global affairs candidate at the University of Toronto. You can follow her on twitter at @claireLwilmot. Read more »

South Africa President Jacob Zuma on Libya and the European Migration Crisis

by John Campbell
South African President Jacob Zuma (R) meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping (not pictured) at the Great Hall Of the People in Beijing, China, September 4, 2015. (Reuters/Lintao Zhang/Pool) South African President Jacob Zuma (R) meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping (not pictured) at the Great Hall Of the People in Beijing, China, September 4, 2015. (Reuters/Lintao Zhang/Pool)

Jacob Zuma’s anger and poor understanding of the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya apparently still shapes his approach to the West.

On September 15, President Zuma briefed the foreign diplomatic corps accredited to South Africa on the country’s foreign policy. According to the South African media, the speech was prepared by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (the foreign ministry). But, the South African media reports that at one point Zuma departed from the text to say, inter alia, “Before the Arab Spring and before the killing of Gaddafi there were no refugees flying or flocking to European countries. It was all quiet….Things were normal in the north of Africa…. Those who were part of destabilizing that part of the world don’t want to accept refugees. It is their responsibility. They caused it. They must address it.” Zuma appears to be mixing together the migration from and through Libya with the much larger flow of migrants from countries like Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Eritrea. Read more »

The Hunting Debate

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Francois Cloete carries a hunting rifle as he hunts at the Iwamanzi Game Reserve in the North West Province, South Africa, June 6, 2015. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko) Francois Cloete carries a hunting rifle as he hunts at the Iwamanzi Game Reserve in the North West Province, South Africa, June 6, 2015. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

This is a guest post by Emily Mellgard. Emily is a researcher for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation working on their Religion & Geopolitics resource (religionandgeopolitics.org) in London, England, and a former research associate for the CFR Africa program. Read more »

Women and the Boko Haram Insurgency

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A girl stands in front of soldiers from Niger and Chad in the recently retaken town of Damasak, Nigeria, March 20, 2015. Soldiers from Niger and Chad who liberated the Nigerian town of Damasak from Boko Haram militants have discovered the bodies of at least 70 people, many with their throats slit, scattered under a bridge, a Reuters witness said. (Courtesy Reuters/Emmanuel Braun) A girl stands in front of soldiers from Niger and Chad in the recently retaken town of Damasak, Nigeria, March 20, 2015. Soldiers from Niger and Chad who liberated the Nigerian town of Damasak from Boko Haram militants have discovered the bodies of at least 70 people, many with their throats slit, scattered under a bridge, a Reuters witness said. (Courtesy Reuters/Emmanuel Braun)

This is a guest post by Claire Wilmot, an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Program. She is a master of global affairs candidate at the University of Toronto.

In June 2014, Nigeria experienced its first attack by a female suicide bomber. Since then, Boko Haram has increasingly used girls and women as operatives in suicide attacks on soft targets. According to the Nigeria Security Tracker, Female suicide bombers have been responsible for over 200 deaths since May 2015, nearly half of all casualties from Boko Haram-attributed suicide bombings during this period. Read more »

Central African Republic: Forgotten Crisis

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Internally displaced women from Bangui attend a community meeting in Bambari June 16, 2014.
(Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters) Internally displaced women from Bangui attend a community meeting in Bambari June 16, 2014. (Goran Tomasevic/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. 

The Ebola crisis in West Africa has distracted international attention from developments in other parts of Africa, notably in the Central African Republic (CAR). On September 15, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Central African Republic (MINUSCA) initiated peacekeeping operations in a country divided by civil war. It began working alongside two thousand French soldiers already on the ground and is integrating African Union troops into what will be a twelve thousand strong peacekeeping mission. 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 »