John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Food Insecurity"

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 »

Bringing Solar Power and Hope to the DRC

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
War-orphaned children sit in cardboard boxes at the Kizito orphanage in Bunia in northeastern Congo, February 24, 2009. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Courtesy Reuters) War-orphaned children sit in cardboard boxes at the Kizito orphanage in Bunia in northeastern Congo, February 24, 2009. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Allen Grane, former 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. Read more »

The Dependent South Sudan

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A South Sudanese girl displaced by the conflict carries a younger boy on her back as they walk through mud in a flooded camp for internally displaced people at the UNMISS base in Malakal, Upper Nile State, May 30, 2014.   (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters) A South Sudanese girl displaced by the conflict carries a younger boy on her back as they walk through mud in a flooded camp for internally displaced people at the UNMISS base in Malakal, Upper Nile State, May 30, 2014. (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Allen Grane, former 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. Read more »

Nigeria’s Internally Displaced Population a Humanitarian Disaster Waiting to Happen

by John Campbell
A girl cries at an internally displaced persons camp in Nigeria's central city of Jos, January 20, 2010. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) A girl cries at an internally displaced persons camp in Nigeria's central city of Jos, January 20, 2010. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

In a recently published report, the Norwegian Refugee Council and its Internal Displacement Monitoring Center estimate that there are 3.3 million displaced persons in Nigeria. It says that Nigeria’s displaced population is the third largest in the world, following Syria and Colombia, and the largest in Africa. Read more »

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 »