John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Population"

Nigerian Popular Support for Boko Haram

by John Campbell
People gather at the cattle market in Maiduguri, Nigeria March 9, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) People gather at the cattle market in Maiduguri, Nigeria March 9, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

One of the many unknowns about Boko Haram, the radical Islamist terrorist movement associated with over 150 killings thus far in 2016, is how much popular support it actually enjoys. It is counterintuitive to witness popular support for a movement that brags about (and films) its grisly beheadings, makes use of female and child suicide bombers, and has contributed to some three million internally displaced persons in Nigeria and hundreds of thousands of refugees in adjacent countries. On the other hand, in its current iteration it has been active for five years, shows tactical flexibility, and kidnaps hundreds of women and girls. The more than two hundred Chibok school girls kidnapped in 2014 have never been accounted for, indicating that the movement has some logistical support structures that can feed, clothe, and house them. Read more »

What to Watch: Africa 2016

by John Campbell and Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Boys play on the roof of the entrance to a football stadium in Gao February 20, 2013. (Reuters/Joe Penney) Boys play on the roof of the entrance to a football stadium in Gao February 20, 2013. (Reuters/Joe Penney)

While western governments are currently transfixed on events in Iraq and Syria, it is important that they do not forget Africa. Boko Haram has become the world’s deadliest terrorist organization and Libya is increasingly becoming a base of operations for the Islamic State. Below, CFR’s Africa program outlines six African issues to watch in 2016. While they could certainly affect the lives of millions of Africans, these issues could also have serious implications for international politics. Read more »

Africa’s Middle Class

by John Campbell
Miners gesture next to houses, part of a 2.8 billion rand ($255 million) housing project put together by their employer at the WaterKlooff Hills in Rustenburg, September 16, 2014. (Courtesy/Siphiwe Sibeko) Miners gesture next to houses, part of a 2.8 billion rand ($255 million) housing project put together by their employer at the WaterKlooff Hills in Rustenburg, September 16, 2014. (Courtesy/Siphiwe Sibeko)

According to a recent Credit Suisse report, the African middle class is almost seventeen times smaller than had been previously thought. For at least a decade it has been conventional wisdom among investors that Africa’s middle class is growing, that the “lions are on the move” (McKinsey’s phrase), and that the continent is the next China for frontier market investors. In 2011, the African Development Bank’s (AFDB) paper, “The Middle Pyramid: Dynamics of the Middle Class in Africa,” had classified 313 million Africans as middle class, further supporting the optimistic narrative. Read more »

Burundi’s Political Divide

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Burundi's President President Pierre Nkurunziza (L) receives a symbolic chain after being sworn-in for a third term following his re-election at the Congress Palace in Kigobe district, Bujumbura, August 20, 2015. (Reuters/Evrard Ngendakumana) Burundi's President President Pierre Nkurunziza (L) receives a symbolic chain after being sworn-in for a third term following his re-election at the Congress Palace in Kigobe district, Bujumbura, August 20, 2015. (Reuters/Evrard Ngendakumana)

This is a guest post by Claire Wilmot, a former intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Program. She is a master of global affairs candidate at the University of Toronto. You can follow her on twitter at @claireLwilmot. Read more »

India and Africa: Partners With Potential

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma (L) shakes hands with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a photo opportunity before the start of their bilateral meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, October 28, 2015.  (Reuters/Adnan Abidi) South Africa's President Jacob Zuma (L) shakes hands with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a photo opportunity before the start of their bilateral meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, October 28, 2015. (Reuters/Adnan Abidi)

This is a guest post by Ashlyn Anderson, research associate for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations.

India recently hosted a milestone summit attended by delegations from all fifty-four African countries. Confronting similar development challenges, India and the nations of Africa charted plans to deepen ties and unite to address shared global concerns. India is one of many countries keen to participate in Africa’s rise, and the third India-Africa Forum Summit signaled an alignment of interests and the potential for a closer relationship. Read more »

The Evolving Boko Haram War Machine

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A military armoured tank is seen abandoned along a road after the Nigerian military recaptures the town of Michika from Boko Haram, Adamawa state, May 10, 2015. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye) A military armoured tank is seen abandoned along a road after the Nigerian military recaptures the town of Michika from Boko Haram, Adamawa state, May 10, 2015. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

This is a guest post by Allen Grane, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program. Allen is an officer in the U.S. Army Reserves.

From 2014 through the February/March Nigerian military surge, Boko Haram was using advanced weapons systems and tactics to conquer and hold territory in northeastern Nigeria. At one point the insurgent group had control of a territory about the size of Belgium. Read more »

Where have all the young men gone?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Adolescent migrants Mustafa (2nd R) from Gambia and Ishmael (R) from Sierra Leone stand in a courtyard at an immigration centre in Caltagirone, Sicily, March 18, 2015. (Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi) Adolescent migrants Mustafa (2nd R) from Gambia and Ishmael (R) from Sierra Leone stand in a courtyard at an immigration centre in Caltagirone, Sicily, March 18, 2015. (Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi)

This is a guest post by Mohamed Jallow, an Africa watcher, following politics and economic currents across the continent. He works at RTI International in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

I received a frantic phone call recently from a family member living in New York City. She was inquiring whether I knew anyone who could help, or any way for, a young seventeen-year-old migrant (her younger brother), stranded in Ecuador to come to the United States. I was lost for words. Do African migrants go to Ecuador? How in the world did he end up there? Read more »

The Closing of the Canadian Border

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Somali-Canadian poet, rapper, singer, songwriter Keinan Abdi Warsame, also known as K'naan (C) talks to Somali refugees during his visit to the Dadaab refugee camps in northern Kenya, August 23, 2011. K'naan travelled to the Dadaab camps to assess the famine and drought situation currently affecting the Horn of Africa including northern Kenya. Picture taken August 23, 2011. (Courtesy Reuters/Fredric Coubert) Somali-Canadian poet, rapper, singer, songwriter Keinan Abdi Warsame, also known as K'naan (C) talks to Somali refugees during his visit to the Dadaab refugee camps in northern Kenya, August 23, 2011. K'naan travelled to the Dadaab camps to assess the famine and drought situation currently affecting the Horn of Africa including northern Kenya. Picture taken August 23, 2011. (Courtesy Reuters/Fredric Coubert)

This is a guest post by Claire Wilmot, an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Program. She is a master of global affairs candidate at the University of Toronto.

Canada’s reputation as a country that offers safe resettlement to refugees is in sharp decline. From 1961 until the early 2000s, Canadian immigration policy welcomed both immigrants and refugees, particularly from sub-Saharan Africa. However, Stephen Harper’s conservative government has made it increasingly difficult for refugees to resettle in Canada over the past decade. Nevertheless, in the lead up to the October 19 federal elections, immigration policy has not been the subject of public debate and most candidates have remained relatively silent. Read more »

Burundi: What Went Wrong?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A protester who is against Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza and his bid for a third term shouts in Bujumbura, Burundi, June 4, 2015. (Courtesy of Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) A protester who is against Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza and his bid for a third term shouts in Bujumbura, Burundi, June 4, 2015. (Courtesy of Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

This is a guest post by Claire Wilmot, an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Program. She is a master of global affairs candidate at the University of Toronto.

Over the weekend, 170 opposition fighters were captured and thirty-one killed by Burundian armed forces in the Chibitoke region (near the borders of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo). This is the latest in a series of violent incidents following President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid to run for a third term in office in violation of Burundi’s constitution. Last week Nkurunziza’s party, the National Council for the Defense of Democracy–Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), announced victory in the parliamentary elections, despite an opposition boycott and the UN proclamation that the vote was not free, fair, or credible. Once a post-conflict success story, Burundi now threatens to relapse into violence, raising questions about what went wrong in the peacebuilding process. Read more »

Nigeria’s Cupboard is Bare

by John Campbell
Villagers stand near jerrycans containing crude oil collected at the shore of the Atlantic ocean near Orobiri village, days after Royal Dutch Shell's Bonga off-shore oil spill, in Nigeria's delta state December 31, 2011. Amnesty International called into question Royal Dutch Shell's accounting in Nigeria for oil spill amounts and causes, saying the oil major was seeking to avoid compensation payments and damage to its reputation. Picture taken December 31, 2011. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye) Villagers stand near jerrycans containing crude oil collected at the shore of the Atlantic ocean near Orobiri village, days after Royal Dutch Shell's Bonga off-shore oil spill, in Nigeria's delta state December 31, 2011. Amnesty International called into question Royal Dutch Shell's accounting in Nigeria for oil spill amounts and causes, saying the oil major was seeking to avoid compensation payments and damage to its reputation. Picture taken December 31, 2011. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

According to the media, President Muhammadu Buhari said on June 23 that Nigeria’s treasury is “virtually empty.” In order to document this he has promised to release a report on the size of Nigeria’s revenue and debt in about four weeks. He also says that he will recover billions of dollars that have been stolen under previous administrations, and that the United States and other countries will assist Nigeria in the recovery of the stolen money. Read more »