John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Food Insecurity"

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons in Northern Nigeria

by John Campbell
Families from Gwoza, Borno State, displaced by the violence and unrest caused by the insurgency, are pictured at a refugee camp in Mararaba Madagali, Adamawa State, February 18, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Families from Gwoza, Borno State, displaced by the violence and unrest caused by the insurgency, are pictured at a refugee camp in Mararaba Madagali, Adamawa State, February 18, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

The ongoing insurgency in northern Nigeria, called “Boko Haram,” and the government’s often brutal attempts to suppress it, have produced a tide of refugees and internally displaced in one of the world’s poorest regions. With the “fog of war,” government restrictions on news agencies, and a poor communications infrastructure, it is difficult to survey needs with precision. Read more »

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 »

South African Land Reform: A Conundrum

by John Campbell
Harvesters transport a load of wild Rooibos tea by donkey cart in the remote mountains of the Cedarberg region, about 300km (186 miles) north of [Cape Town], March 30, 2006. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters) Harvesters transport a load of wild Rooibos tea by donkey cart in the remote mountains of the Cedarberg region, about 300km (186 miles) north of [Cape Town], March 30, 2006. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters)

The Africa Research Institute has published a succinct Briefing Note that outlines the problems of land reform in South Africa and the inherent contradictions in the government’s approach. The Briefer also includes an excellent map of the agricultural regions in the country from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). Read more »

French President’s Camel Eaten

by John Campbell
Camels stand in a farm in Benghazi, February 11, 2013. (Esam Al-Fetori/Courtesy Reuters) Camels stand in a farm in Benghazi, February 11, 2013. (Esam Al-Fetori/Courtesy Reuters)

You read this right. The British media, citing French sources, is having a field day with the report that the camel given to French president Francois Hollande during his February 2013 visit to Mali, has been eaten by its care-takers. According to the French media, the minister of defense broke the news to Hollande. Embarrassed, a Malian official said, “as soon as we heard of this, we quickly replaced it with a bigger and better-looking camel,” according to Reuters. Read more »

What’s Happening With the ECOWAS Force in Mali?

by John Campbell
Bamako, Mali
Nigerian soldiers prepare to cook at the Mali air force base near Bamako as troops await their deployment January 19, 2013. (Eric Gaillard/Courtesy REUTERS). Bamako, Mali Nigerian soldiers prepare to cook at the Mali air force base near Bamako as troops await their deployment January 19, 2013. (Eric Gaillard/Courtesy REUTERS).

It’s hard to get the details on the logistical arrangements, or numbers, of the ECOWAS force in Mali. The majority of Nigeria’s promised 1,200 troops are reportedly deployed to a military base in Niger, or still stationed in Bamako. However, the Nigerian media organization Premium Times reports that the Nigerian troops actually in Mali are suffering from inadequate provisions, especially food. Citing a “defense source,” Premium Times  reports that Nigerian soldiers are resorting to, in effect, shaking down their Malian hosts under the guise of making “courtesy calls.” Apparently, they ask for–and receive–food, in one case a cow and fifty bags of rice from a prefect. The story is roundly denied by a Nigerian defense spokesman who is quoted, “we have provided the contingent with enough food and funds to last them for the initial three months. Is Nigeria not bigger than that?” Read more »

Revitalizing Africa’s Rural Future

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A woman works in a rice mill in Aliade community in the Gwer local government area of the central state of Benue 05/10/2012. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) A woman works in a rice mill in Aliade community in the Gwer local government area of the central state of Benue 05/10/2012. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Owen Cylke. Mr. Cylke is a development professional and a retired senior foreign service officer with USAID.

Dr. Ibrahim Hassane Mayaki, Executive Secretary of New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), this week declared his organization’s intent to “revitalize” development efforts in Africa. Recognizing the successful and well-supported efforts of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which has been the foundation for development efforts in Africa since its launch in 2003, Dr. Mayaki was careful to describe his intention as a natural next step in the CAADP process. Read more »

Response to Africa Glass Half Full or Half Empty

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
An Ethiopian man carries a stack of hay near Korem in the mountainous region.. 14/12/2004. (Radu Sigheti/Courtesy Reuters) An Ethiopian man carries a stack of hay near Korem in the mountainous region.. 14/12/2004. (Radu Sigheti/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Owen Cylke. Mr. Cylke is a development professional and a retired senior foreign service officer with USAID.

The discussion over whether Africa’s glass is half full or half empty simply allows each side to argue their case–over and over again.  McKinsey will argue that Africa’s long-term prospects are strong while the African Development Bank will counter that, in fifty years, one-third of Africa’s population will still be living with an income below $1.25 a day. Read more »

Is the West Uninterested in Nigeria’s Floods?

by John Campbell
A man carries a child as he wades through flood waters in Ikorodu neighborhood of Nigeria's main city of Lagos 05/08/2007 (George Esiri/Courtesy Reuters) A man carries a child as he wades through flood waters in Ikorodu neighborhood of Nigeria's main city of Lagos 05/08/2007 (George Esiri/Courtesy Reuters)

It baffles me that the Western media is paying so little attention to the flooding in Nigeria. There are dramatic aerial photographs of the flooding in the Delta, and affected areas spread as far afield as Kano and Kogi states in northern and central Nigeria. Read more »

Guest Post: Rural Futures

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A worker picks tea at a plantation in Githunguri, 30 km (18 miles) from Kenya's capital Nairobi, January 6, 2012. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) A worker picks tea at a plantation in Githunguri, 30 km (18 miles) from Kenya's capital Nairobi, January 6, 2012. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Owen Cylke. Mr. Cylke is a development professional and a retired senior foreign service officer with USAID. In his post, he discusses the CAADP meeting in Nairobi in early May, and agriculture’s future role in development. In a related development, the White House recently announced a new U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa, a strategy underscoring the role of agriculture in spurring economic growth, trade, and investment. Read more »

Guest Post: Aid Ironies and Djibouti’s “Invisible Undercitizens”

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A baby receives treatment for malnutrition at a Medecins Sans Frontieres facility for outpatients in Fajigole, a village near Shashemene, Oromiya region in this May 23, 2008 picture. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) A baby receives treatment for malnutrition at a Medecins Sans Frontieres facility for outpatients in Fajigole, a village near Shashemene, Oromiya region in this May 23, 2008 picture. (Stringer/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.

Returning from an early autumn vacation in Acadia National Park last year, we exited I-95 near Waterville, Maine to grab a Starbucks coffee at a nearby mall. Seeking a second opinion on my theory that the Subaru station-wagon was the state car of Maine, I approached a total stranger who was climbing out of his Toyota Prius. After affirming that, in fact, he had owned one himself, the man identified himself as Dr. David Austin, a local physician. He also mentioned his upcoming tour in Djibouti, as a Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontiers, or MSF) physician, and explained that he had previously served in Sudan (Darfur) and Congo. Read more »