John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Foreign Aid"

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 »

Gay Marriage and Goodluck Jonathan’s Tricky Position

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
President Goodluck Jonathan presents his administration's midterm report during Democracy Day in Abuja May 29, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) President Goodluck Jonathan presents his administration's midterm report during Democracy Day in Abuja May 29, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Dominic Bocci, assistant director at the Council on Foreign Relations’ David Rockefeller Studies Program.

The passage of the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill on May 31, 2013, by the Nigerian House of Representatives places President Goodluck Jonathan in a tricky position. Not signing the bill risks alienating his own government and signaling to the general public that he does not support one of the few issues that brings the majority of Nigerians together. Alternatively, signing such legislation may cost the country substantial sums of international aid and investment. Either way, gay marriage—an otherwise unlikely political issue—may significantly influence the Nigerian political debate leading up to the 2015 national elections. Read more »

Racism in Mali and the Upcoming Elections

by John Campbell
Malian soldiers sit together as they drink coffee at a checkpoint in Gao March 4, 2013. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters) Malian soldiers sit together as they drink coffee at a checkpoint in Gao March 4, 2013. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

We tend to underrate the importance of racism as a factor in the ongoing crisis in Mali. A short item from Radio France Internationale–English is a good reminder.

It reports a statement by a spokesman for the French foreign ministry calling for the release of those arrested “because of the color of their skin” in the Kidal area. Read more »

U.S. Humanitarian Assistance to Mali

by John Campbell
People walking down the street are seen through a large tyre in Gao March 12, 2013. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters) People walking down the street are seen through a large tyre in Gao March 12, 2013. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

At the Mali Donors Conference in Brussels on May 15 the United States announced $32 million in new humanitarian assistance to support Malian refugees in neighboring countries and to the internally displaced. The same day, the U.S. Department of State spokesman said that the Obama administration will request from Congress $180 million in FY 2014 for bilateral assistance. That funding would kick-in after the Mali elections, scheduled to take place in July. Read more »

Brazil in Africa

by John Campbell
Brazil's President Lula da Silva (L) talks his Mozambique counterpart Armando Guebuza, during his last visit to Africa as head of state in Maputo, November 9, 2010. Picture taken November 9, 2010. (Grant Lee Neuenburg/Courtesy Reuters) Brazil's President Lula da Silva (L) talks his Mozambique counterpart Armando Guebuza, during his last visit to Africa as head of state in Maputo, November 9, 2010. Picture taken November 9, 2010. (Grant Lee Neuenburg/Courtesy Reuters)

According to the press, Brazil is negotiating an agreement with Mozambique to finance the construction of the Moamba Major dam to provide drinking water for Maputo. It is expected to cost U.S. $500 million. The Bank of Brazil has funded an environmental impact study for the project. With a population approaching two million and growing rapidly, Maputo needs an assured water supply. A successful agreement between Brazil and Mozambique means that construction on the dam could start as early as 2014. Read more »