John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Poverty"

An African Odyssey

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A group of 104 sub-Saharan Africans on board a rubber dinghy reach out for life jackets tossed to them by rescuers of the NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) some 25 miles off the Libyan coast in this handout photo provided by MOAS October 4, 2014. MOAS, a privately-funded humanitarian initiative, began operating at the end of August and has assisted in the rescue of some 2,200 migrants crossing from Libyan shores towards Europe.
(MOAS/Darrin Zammit Lupi/Handout via Reuters) A group of 104 sub-Saharan Africans on board a rubber dinghy reach out for life jackets tossed to them by rescuers of the NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) some 25 miles off the Libyan coast in this handout photo provided by MOAS October 4, 2014. MOAS, a privately-funded humanitarian initiative, began operating at the end of August and has assisted in the rescue of some 2,200 migrants crossing from Libyan shores towards Europe. (MOAS/Darrin Zammit Lupi/Handout via Reuters)

This is a guest post by Amanda Roth, a former intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Program. She is a graduate student at the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs, where she studies international security policyRead more »

Nigeria’s Boko Haram Moving Toward Governance?

by John Campbell
Internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, set up for Nigerians fleeing the violence committed against them by Boko Haram militants, at Wurojuli, Gombe State, September 1, 2014. Internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, set up for Nigerians fleeing the violence committed against them by Boko Haram militants, at Wurojuli, Gombe State, September 1, 2014.

The Nigerian media is reporting that Boko Haram is firmly in control of Mubi, a strategically important town in Adamawa state. Apparently based on telephone contact with city residents and a few interviews with those who have fled, the media is presenting a Boko Haram effort to return the city to normal, albeit run according to Islamic law. Read more »

Maybe Better News on Ebola?

by John Campbell
A billboard with a message about Ebola is seen on a street in Conakry, Guinea October 26, 2014. (Michelle Nichols/Courtesy Reuters) A billboard with a message about Ebola is seen on a street in Conakry, Guinea October 26, 2014. (Michelle Nichols/Courtesy Reuters)

The New York Times and other media are reporting a drop in Ebola infection rates and empty beds in the emergency field hospitals set up by the U.S. military in Monrovia. While there is Ebola all along the border between Liberia and Ivory Coast, Abidjan has not reported any cases. The World Health Organization has stated that Nigeria and Senegal are Ebola free. Perhaps even more important, no new Nigerian cases have been announced since the WHO’s declaration. Especially in Liberia, a public communications campaign on Ebola has taken off. Read more »

Central African Republic: Forgotten Crisis

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Internally displaced women from Bangui attend a community meeting in Bambari June 16, 2014.
(Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters) Internally displaced women from Bangui attend a community meeting in Bambari June 16, 2014. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Thomas Zuber, intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program. He is currently pursuing a Master’s in International Political Economy and Development at Fordham University. 

The Ebola crisis in West Africa has distracted international attention from developments in other parts of Africa, notably in the Central African Republic (CAR). On September 15, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Central African Republic (MINUSCA) initiated peacekeeping operations in a country divided by civil war. It began working alongside two thousand French soldiers already on the ground and is integrating African Union troops into what will be a twelve thousand strong peacekeeping mission. Read more »

Is Nigeria’s Boko Haram Becoming Territorial?

by John Campbell
A woman from Gwoza, Borno State, displaced by the violence and unrest caused by the insurgency, weeps at a refugee camp in Mararaba Madagali, Adamawa State, February 18, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) A woman from Gwoza, Borno State, displaced by the violence and unrest caused by the insurgency, weeps at a refugee camp in Mararaba Madagali, Adamawa State, February 18, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Unlike other radical Islamist groups, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Nigeria’s Boko Haram has not yet moved to establish a territorial state, nor to provide government services. That may be changing.

The Wall Street Journal and the BBC are reporting that Boko Haram has taken over the strategic town of Damboa, the capital of the Damboa local government area in Borno state, and has raised its black flag over the house of the traditional ruler and in nearby villages. The BBC reports that Boko Haram has established check points around the town and is levying a fee for vehicles to pass. That would imply that it is seeking sources of revenue beyond kidnapping, extortion, or bank robberies. Read more »

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 »

Youth in Nigeria’s Boko Haram

by John Campbell
Boys recite verses from the Koran at an Almajiri Islamic school in Maiduguri, May 24, 2014. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters) Boys recite verses from the Koran at an Almajiri Islamic school in Maiduguri, May 24, 2014. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

For a movement that is destabilizing Nigeria, “the giant of Africa,” we have remarkably few hard facts about Boko Haram.

Some of the questions that we don’t have answers to—or at least, that there is no consensus about—include:

 

  • How many operatives does it have?
  • Where does its funding come from?
  • How much popular support does it have?
  • What is its leadership structure?
  • What kind of assistance does it receive from outside Nigeria?
  • Why do people join?
  • Read more »

Nigeria: What Time Is It?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
People crowd on a road near Balogun market to shop, a day before Christmas in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos, December 24, 2012. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) People crowd on a road near Balogun market to shop, a day before Christmas in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos, December 24, 2012. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jim Sanders, a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his former employers.

Luxury watch sales are rising in Africa. Ulysse Nardin opened a shop in Abuja, as Nigeria is seen as “the force today” in that market. Yet time may be moving faster than horological devices can measure. Read more »

The Dependent South Sudan

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A South Sudanese girl displaced by the conflict carries a younger boy on her back as they walk through mud in a flooded camp for internally displaced people at the UNMISS base in Malakal, Upper Nile State, May 30, 2014.   (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters) A South Sudanese girl displaced by the conflict carries a younger boy on her back as they walk through mud in a flooded camp for internally displaced people at the UNMISS base in Malakal, Upper Nile State, May 30, 2014. (Andreea Campeanu/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 »

Nigeria’s Internally Displaced Population a Humanitarian Disaster Waiting to Happen

by John Campbell
A girl cries at an internally displaced persons camp in Nigeria's central city of Jos, January 20, 2010. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) A girl cries at an internally displaced persons camp in Nigeria's central city of Jos, January 20, 2010. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

In a recently published report, the Norwegian Refugee Council and its Internal Displacement Monitoring Center estimate that there are 3.3 million displaced persons in Nigeria. It says that Nigeria’s displaced population is the third largest in the world, following Syria and Colombia, and the largest in Africa. Read more »