John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Liberia"

Is the International Response to Ebola Enough?

by John Campbell
Health workers wearing protective clothing prepare to carry an abandoned dead body presenting with Ebola symptoms at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Health workers wearing protective clothing prepare to carry an abandoned dead body presenting with Ebola symptoms at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

The Centers for Disease Control has modeled the possible spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone and Liberia. (It did not address Ebola in Guinea.) Based on its computer models, it concludes that the range of victims is between 550,000 and 1,400,000, not taking into account the international Ebola relief efforts. The CDC’s worst-case scenario posts 21,000 cases of Ebola by September 30 and 1,400,000 cases by January 20, 2015. Its best case scenario has the epidemic nearing its end by the same month. The New York Times quotes CDC director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden as saying that the situation was improving because of the arrival of international assistance: “My gut feeling is the actions we’re taking now are going to make that worst-case scenario not come to pass. But it is important to understand that it could happen.” Read more »

Ebola “a Complete Disaster”

by John Campbell
A health worker, wearing head-to-toe protective gear, offers water to a woman with Ebola, at a treatment centre for infected persons, as a young boy stands nearby in Kenema Government Hospital, in Kenema, Eastern Province, Sierra Leone, in this handout photo courtesy of UNICEF taken in July 2014. (UNICEF/Courtesy Reuters) A health worker, wearing head-to-toe protective gear, offers water to a woman with Ebola, at a treatment centre for infected persons, as a young boy stands nearby in Kenema Government Hospital, in Kenema, Eastern Province, Sierra Leone, in this handout photo courtesy of UNICEF taken in July 2014. (UNICEF/Courtesy Reuters)

This is the conclusion of Dr. Joanne Liu, MD, president of Doctors Without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontieres-MSF). Her interview in the New York Times is a compelling must-read for those watching Ebola and West Africa. Far from echoing the cautious optimism that the disease may be coming under control in certain areas, she says, “no one yet has the full measure of the magnitude of this crisis. We don’t have good data collection. We don’t have enough surveillance.” Read more »

Ebola, Fear, and Better Communication

by John Campbell
A U.N. convoy of soldiers passes a screen displaying a message on Ebola on a street in Abidjan, August 14, 2014. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters) A U.N. convoy of soldiers passes a screen displaying a message on Ebola on a street in Abidjan, August 14, 2014. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters)

Ebola is fearful. Its symptoms include raging fever, bleeding from orifices (including the eyes and ears), diarrhea, and vomiting. The mortality rate is high. Caregivers move about in space suits. Necessary care for the sick and proper medical practices, including quarantine and the burial methods, are contrary to the strong family and community-centered values of traditional West African society. Read more »

Health Workers Pay the Ultimate Price in the West African Fight against Ebola

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Medical staff working with Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) prepare to bring food to patients kept in an isolation area at the MSF Ebola treatment center in Kailahun, Sierra Leone, July 20, 2014 (Tommy Trenchard/Courtesy Reuters). Medical staff working with Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) prepare to bring food to patients kept in an isolation area at the MSF Ebola treatment center in Kailahun, Sierra Leone, July 20, 2014 (Tommy Trenchard/Courtesy Reuters).

This is a guest post by Mohamed Jallow, grants officer at IntraHealth International, a nonprofit organization that empowers health workers around the world to better serve their communities. A version of this post originally appeared on VITAL, IntraHealth International’s blog. 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 »

UN Security Council Unanimously Authorizes UN Mission in Mali

by John Campbell
French soldiers speak to a Nigerian soldier on patrol in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9, 2013. (Francois Rihouay/Courtesy Reuters). French soldiers speak to a Nigerian soldier on patrol in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9, 2013. (Francois Rihouay/Courtesy Reuters).

On April 25, the Security Council approved a UN “peacekeeping” force of 12,600 for Mali. They asked the UN Secretary General to appoint a Special Representative for Mali, and called on member states to provide troops, police, and the necessary equipment. It also authorized the secretary general to approve cooperation between the UN mission in Mali and the UN missions in Liberia and Ivory Coast for the temporary sharing of logistical and administrative support. Read more »

“New Deal” Has Potential to Provide New Solutions for Fragile African States

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan November 30, 2011. (Saul Loeb/Pool/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan November 30, 2011. (Saul Loeb/Pool/Courtesy Reuters).

This is a guest post by Hamish Stewart, a co-founding Director of the Centre for African Development and Security.

The world is optimistic about Africa’s future, but to unlock its economic potential concerted efforts must be made to engage with its most fragile states. Read more »

An African Agenda for President Obama

by John Campbell
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) jokes with patients and staff of the Heal Africa clinic in Goma August 11, 2009. (Roberto Schmidt/Courtesy Reuters) US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) jokes with patients and staff of the Heal Africa clinic in Goma August 11, 2009. (Roberto Schmidt/Courtesy Reuters)

There is criticism in Africa and in the United States that, given Africa’s growing strategic, political, and economic importance, President Obama paid insufficient attention to it during his first term. In fact, the Obama administration has many program initiatives in Africa; and cabinet officers, led by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, regularly visited the continent. During her four year tenure as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton visited Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Benin, Somalia, South Africa, Kenya, and Malawi, among others. Read more »

AFRICOM to Stay in Stuttgart

by John Campbell
Kampala, Uganda
U.S. General Carter F. Ham, Commander of the U.S. Africa Command addresses a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Uganda's capital Kampala, May 11, 2011. (Edward Echwalu/Courtesy Reuters) Kampala, Uganda U.S. General Carter F. Ham, Commander of the U.S. Africa Command addresses a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Uganda's capital Kampala, May 11, 2011. (Edward Echwalu/Courtesy Reuters)

The Department of Defense announced on Feb 5 that the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) headquarters will remain in Stuttgart, Germany.

According to Stars and Stripes, the decision to stay in Germany rather than relocate to the United States was based on “operational needs.” Read more »

Charles Taylor Sentenced – a Step Forward?

by John Campbell
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor (bottom) argues with a photographer as he awaits the start of the prosecution's closing arguments during his trial at the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone in Leidschendam February 8, 2011. (Jerry Lampen/Courtesy Reuters) Former Liberian President Charles Taylor (bottom) argues with a photographer as he awaits the start of the prosecution's closing arguments during his trial at the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone in Leidschendam February 8, 2011. (Jerry Lampen/Courtesy Reuters)

In April, the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague found Charles Taylor guilty of many crimes against humanity related to his involvement with the civil war in Sierra Leone. (Taylor was not tried for his activities in Liberia where he was a major warlord as well as chief of state.) On May 30, three justices sentenced Taylor to prison for fifty years. As he is 64 years of age, he will spend the rest of his life incarcerated. He will serve his sentence in the UK. Read more »