John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Foreign Aid"

President Obama Visits Kenya and Ethiopia

by John Campbell
A security guard walks past a wall mural depicting U.S. President Barack Obama outside the Go-Down Art Centre in Kenya's capital Nairobi, July 17, 2015. Kenya is preparing itself for a visit by U.S. President Obama in the coming week. Seen as a son of the East African nation owing to his father being Kenyan, many see this visit as a long overdue homecoming, while others question how long authorities can keep up the upgrades after Obama is gone. (Courtesy Reuters/Thomas Mukoya) A security guard walks past a wall mural depicting U.S. President Barack Obama outside the Go-Down Art Centre in Kenya's capital Nairobi, July 17, 2015. Kenya is preparing itself for a visit by U.S. President Obama in the coming week. Seen as a son of the East African nation owing to his father being Kenyan, many see this visit as a long overdue homecoming, while others question how long authorities can keep up the upgrades after Obama is gone. (Courtesy Reuters/Thomas Mukoya)

Whatever decision the White House makes in selecting the countries included on a presidential visit to Africa, it is bound to draw critical scrutiny. On July 24, President Obama departs for a trip to Kenya and Ethiopia. Two reasons for these two countries seem immediately clear. An important focus of the trip will be the African Union (AU), which has its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit held this year in Nairobi, Kenya. The AU is the lodestar of the “African solutions to African problems” policy, while the Entrepreneurship Summit demonstrates a focus on economic development. Both are policy goals keenly supported by the United States. However, there is also a symbolic significance to this decision. Many in Africa have questioned why President Obama, with a Kenyan father, has not yet visited Nairobi during his presidency. This absence has contributed to disappointment in Africa that the Obama presidency has not been particularly African in its focus. Read more »

United States Support for African Peacekeeping

by John Campbell
U.N. peacekeepers patrol in their tank, past the deserted Kibati village, near Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, August 7, 2013. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) U.N. peacekeepers patrol in their tank, past the deserted Kibati village, near Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, August 7, 2013. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

Multilateral peacekeeping operations have long been a feature of the international community’s response to African conflicts (most of which are domestic though often with outside meddling). For those concerned about African peacekeeping operations, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Center for Preventive Action has just published an important new special report by Paul D. Williams titled Enhancing U.S. Support for Peace Operations in Africa. It is a must-read for those involved in African security issues. Read more »

Kenya’s Al-Shabaab Problem

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A man participates in a protest against the gunmen attack at the Garissa University, at the Eastleigh neighborhood in Kenya's capital Nairobi, April 8, 2015. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) A man participates in a protest against the gunmen attack at the Garissa University, at the Eastleigh neighborhood in Kenya's capital Nairobi, April 8, 2015. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Aala Abdelgadir, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relation’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative.

On October 16, 2011, the Kenyan army, in an ostensibly joint operation with the Somalian and Ethiopian militaries, crossed the border into Somalia and attacked the insurgent group al-Shabaab. In response to the October 16 offensive, al-Shabaab launched an attack in Kenya on October 24, 2011. The attack killed one person. Read more »

Meet Africa’s Hero Rats

by John Campbell
A worker holds a mine detecting Gambian giant pouch rat (Cricetomys Gambianus) at a mine field near Vilancoulos in southern Mozambique, 450 km (265 miles) north east of the capital Maputo, in this November 2004 file photo. (Howard Burditt/Courtesy Reuters) A worker holds a mine detecting Gambian giant pouch rat (Cricetomys Gambianus) at a mine field near Vilancoulos in southern Mozambique, 450 km (265 miles) north east of the capital Maputo, in this November 2004 file photo. (Howard Burditt/Courtesy Reuters)

Today is Earth Day, an appropriate moment to remember Africa’s HeroRats. On April 19, the New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof called attention to these creatures and their ability to sniff-out land mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) as well as their ability to screen sputum samples for tuberculosis. To date these animals have detected over 48,000 land mines and UXO’s, and screened over 290,000 samples for tuberculosis. Read more »

How Can U.S. Intel Training Help Fight Boko Haram?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (L) in New York, September 23, 2013. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (L) in New York, September 23, 2013. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters)

Jesse Sloman is a research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations and a reserve officer in the Marine Corps. He served on active duty from 2009 to 2013. The views expressed here are his own. Read more »

Maybe Better News on Ebola?

by John Campbell
A billboard with a message about Ebola is seen on a street in Conakry, Guinea October 26, 2014. (Michelle Nichols/Courtesy Reuters) A billboard with a message about Ebola is seen on a street in Conakry, Guinea October 26, 2014. (Michelle Nichols/Courtesy Reuters)

The New York Times and other media are reporting a drop in Ebola infection rates and empty beds in the emergency field hospitals set up by the U.S. military in Monrovia. While there is Ebola all along the border between Liberia and Ivory Coast, Abidjan has not reported any cases. The World Health Organization has stated that Nigeria and Senegal are Ebola free. Perhaps even more important, no new Nigerian cases have been announced since the WHO’s declaration. Especially in Liberia, a public communications campaign on Ebola has taken off. Read more »

Nigeria Turns to Russia, Czech Republic, and Belarus for Military Training and Materiel

by John Campbell
A member of the military special forces sits on an armoured vehicle near Kramatorsk, September 4, 2014. (Gleb Garanich/Courtesy Reuters) A member of the military special forces sits on an armoured vehicle near Kramatorsk, September 4, 2014. (Gleb Garanich/Courtesy Reuters)

The Vanguard, a Nigerian daily, carried a report on September 28, confirmed by the Ministry of Defense, that 1,200 Nigerian soldiers, police, and Department of State Services (DSS) are being trained by Russian special forces. The Vanguard says that Abuja has turned to Moscow following an “alleged snub or nonchalant attitude of the United States and the United Kingdom toward Nigeria in her fight against Boko Haram terrorists.” Read more »

Nigeria’s Chibok School Girl Kidnapping Six Months Later

by John Campbell
A member of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign group holds a placard under a bridge on the 140th day of the abduction of 219 schoolgirls from Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State, while they were sitting for their final exams, during a protest in Abuja, September 1, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) A member of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign group holds a placard under a bridge on the 140th day of the abduction of 219 schoolgirls from Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State, while they were sitting for their final exams, during a protest in Abuja, September 1, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

On the night of April 14-15, 2014 up to three hundred girls from different schools in northeastern Nigeria gathered for their final examinations in the town of Chibok. Instead of taking their tests, they were kidnapped. Three weeks later, on May 5, Boko Haram’s Abubakar Shekau claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. Some victims managed to escape, and the numbers still held in captivity are soft. The figure most often cited by the media is 276. Read more »

Pathetic International Response to Ebola Thus Far

by John Campbell
Supplies, including 100 tons of emergency medical aid, are seen before being loaded on to a 747 aircraft at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport September 20, 2014. (Carlo Allegri /Courtesy Reuters) Supplies, including 100 tons of emergency medical aid, are seen before being loaded on to a 747 aircraft at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport September 20, 2014. (Carlo Allegri /Courtesy Reuters)

Ebola is not showing the international community at its best. Even as Ebola panic seems to be spreading internationally, with possible new cases in Macedonia and the Czech Republic and Ebola deaths in Spain and the United States. Drew Hinshaw and Betsy McKay in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) provide a run-down of which countries are doing what. It is discouraging. Read more »

Establishing a Sacred Trust

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
U.S. President Barack Obama sits next to the Director of the CDC Tom Frieden (R) and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell (L) as he participates in a briefing, on efforts to control the Ebola virus, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, September 16, 2014. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama sits next to the Director of the CDC Tom Frieden (R) and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell (L) as he participates in a briefing, on efforts to control the Ebola virus, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, September 16, 2014. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters)

 

This is a guest post by Colonel Clint Hinote. He is the 2014-2015 U.S. Air Force Military Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. The opinions expressed here are his own.

 

Because what makes us unique on the face of the earth is that as a military if you need something, were going to get it for you. You can trust in that. Read more »