John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Foreign Aid"

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 »

Negotiating the Freedom of the Nigerian School Girls

by John Campbell
Nigerian army chief-of-staff General Kenneth Minimah (C) leaves a closed door meeting with senators at the national assembly in Abuja, Nigeria, May 15, 2014. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters) Nigerian army chief-of-staff General Kenneth Minimah (C) leaves a closed door meeting with senators at the national assembly in Abuja, Nigeria, May 15, 2014. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

Nigeria is abuzz with speculation about government negotiations with Boko Haram over the release of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls. According to the Nigerian media, former president Obasanjo has been speaking with personalities “close to” Boko Haram. Names of other possible official negotiators circulate. Speculation is that the parameters of a possible deal would be Boko Haram freeing some or all of the girls in return for the government releasing Boko Haram operatives and/or their wives and children who are currently extra-judicially detained without charge. Read more »

U.S. Military Engagement in the Hunt for the Nigerian School Girls, Its Size and Meaning

by John Campbell
Nigerian army spokesman Major General Chris Olukolade sits in front of a poster reading "we will win" at a news conference in Abuja, May 19, 2014. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters) Nigerian army spokesman Major General Chris Olukolade sits in front of a poster reading "we will win" at a news conference in Abuja, May 19, 2014. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

Boko Haram’s kidnapping of up to three hundred school girls has thoroughly engaged U.S. public opinion over the past few weeks. American narratives of its significance range from the humanitarian to persecution of Christians to the deprivation of educational opportunity for women to a resurgence of al Qaeda. Read more »

United Nations: Harsh Realities and Hard Lessons

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A barefoot girl jumps over an open drain filled with rubbish at Tomping camp in Juba, South Sudan, January 10, 2014. (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters) A barefoot girl jumps over an open drain filled with rubbish at Tomping camp in Juba, South Sudan, January 10, 2014. (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters)

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

International peacekeeping missions in Sudan and South Sudan received a lot of bad press last week from a number of different sources. Together these reports challenge a basic tenant of United States (U.S.) policy toward Africa–that peacekeeping missions, in their current form, work. 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 »

The Central African Republic: Where Elections Could Do More Harm Than Good

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
(L-R) Archbishop of Bangui Dieudonne Nzapalainga; Bangas Nicolas, a minister in the evangelical church; and imam Oumar Kobine Layama, representative of the Muslim community in Bangui attend during a meeting between religious representatives, Bangui residents and African and French peacekeeping forces, in Bangui, February 10, 2014. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters) (L-R) Archbishop of Bangui Dieudonne Nzapalainga; Bangas Nicolas, a minister in the evangelical church; and imam Oumar Kobine Layama, representative of the Muslim community in Bangui attend during a meeting between religious representatives, Bangui residents and African and French peacekeeping forces, in Bangui, February 10, 2014. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Emily Mellgard, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program.

Elections are often seen as progress toward democracy in Africa. Elections confer legitimacy on governments, especially abroad. However, in some conflicts, conducting elections credible enough to confer legitimacy is an unrealistic goal. Instead there are “election-like-events.” These may even exacerbate internal cleavages within a society. Rushing into elections in the Central African Republic will not resolve the breakdown of order there and could make it worse. Read more »

Polio in Nigeria: Progress and Continued Obstacles

by John Campbell
Arnaud Bivilia, 12, who suffers from polio, stands at the Stand Proud compound in Kinshasa November 29, 2011. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Courtesy Reuters) Arnaud Bivilia, 12, who suffers from polio, stands at the Stand Proud compound in Kinshasa November 29, 2011. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Courtesy Reuters)

Polio numbers in Nigeria for 2013 are likely to be less than they were in 2012. Given the turmoil in northeastern Nigeria associated with the Boko Haram insurrection, this would seem to indicate real progress for the polio eradication program despite the insecurity of the region that the program operates in. However, the security situation in Nigeria, and elsewhere where polio is found, political, and religious obstacles continue to impede the eradication of the disease. 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 »

Mali’s Elections: Completed, but Successful?

by John Campbell
A man rides a bicycle past electoral campaign posters in Bamako August 9, 2013. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters) A man rides a bicycle past electoral campaign posters in Bamako August 9, 2013. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

On August 11 Mali conducted the second and final round of its national elections. The results are expected on August 16. The leading contenders are former prime minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, often called IBK, and former finance minister Soumaila Cisse. Keita is the favorite, having won 39 percent of the votes in the first round to Cisse’s 19 percent. In the first round, voter turnout was higher than in previous elections, though still under 50 percent. In the secessionist north, voter participation was much lower. The Malian political class, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), France, and the United States look to the success of these elections to put to rest the two year crisis that followed a military coup against the corrupt government of President Amadou Toumani Toure. A democratically elected government will also permit donors to resume the aid flow. Read more »

President Obama in Africa: Light Up Africa

by John Campbell
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the University of Cape Town, June 30, 2013. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the University of Cape Town, June 30, 2013. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters)

Important though President Barack Obama’s evocation of Nelson Mandela’s spiritual and political legacy has been, and powerful though his Africa trip’s symbolic references were–the Door of No Return at Gorée and Robben Island–many friends of Africa will most warmly welcome his Power Africa initiative. During his South Africa stop, he proposed to double access to power in Sub-Saharan Africa. Initially, Power Africa will partner with Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Tanzania. The U.S. government will look to securing some U.S. $7 billion in funding with an additional $9 billion from the private sector. Most of the public-related money will come from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation ($1.5 billion) , the U.S. Export-Import Bank ($5 billion in support of U.S. exports related to power), and the Millennium Challenge Corporation ($1 billion investment in African power systems). Congruent with the president’s emphasis on trade and investment rather than aid, only $285 million would come from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Read more »