John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Liberia"

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 »

Gay Rights in Africa

by John Campbell
Members of Uganda's gay community lead a choir during a memorial service for David Kato, a slain prominent gay rights activist, on his first death anniversary in Kampala January 26, 2012. (Edward Echwalu/Courtesy Reuters) Members of Uganda's gay community lead a choir during a memorial service for David Kato, a slain prominent gay rights activist, on his first death anniversary in Kampala January 26, 2012. (Edward Echwalu/Courtesy Reuters)

Unfortunately, much of sub-Saharan Africa is homophobic. Recent legislation, some proposed, some passed, condemns gay marriage and sometimes outlaws gay sexual activity. Nigeria, Uganda, and Liberia all have such legislation pending or passed, often with the provision of draconian penalties. Such legislation appears to be very popular. Read more »