John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Poverty"

Big Men: Ghana, Nigeria, and the United States

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Ebiowei, 48, carries an empty oil container on his head to a place where it would be filled with refined fuel at an illegal refinery site near river Nun in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa November 27, 2012. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) Ebiowei, 48, carries an empty oil container on his head to a place where it would be filled with refined fuel at an illegal refinery site near river Nun in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa November 27, 2012. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Emily Mellgard, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program.

A great discovery often brings together strange bedfellows. Such is the case when the Jubilee Oil Field is discovered within Ghana’s national waters in the Gulf of Guinea. The heights and depths of the relationships between the people and groups pulled together around this oil field is the subject of the new Rachel Boyton (director) and Brad Pitt (producer) documentary Big Men. The documentary was filmed over five years from first discovery of the oil field to nearing “first oil” -when actual production begins. Read more »

South African President Jacob Zuma’s “Let Them Eat Cake” Moment?

by John Campbell
A general view of the Nkandla home of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla, August 2, 2012. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters) A general view of the Nkandla home of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla, August 2, 2012. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters)

There is an apocryphal story that in France, King Louis XVI’s queen Marie Antoinette was once told, “Madame, the people have no bread.” To which she replied, “then let them eat cake.” The reality behind the story was of a self-centered court widely perceived as isolated from the French people. The French Revolution followed shortly after. Read more »

African Economies: Growing Quickly But Transforming Slowly

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Labourers work at a mine believed to contain gold in Minna, Niger State, June 23, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Labourers work at a mine believed to contain gold in Minna, Niger State, June 23, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/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 »

Repatriating Somali Refugees: A Kenyan National Security Red Herring

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Refugees who have been living in the outskirts of the proper camps in Hagadera load their belongings onto trucks as they choose to relocate to the newly-opened Kambioos settlement, at Kenya's Dadaab Refugee Camp, situated northeast of the capital Nairobi near the Somali border, August 29, 2011. (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters) Refugees who have been living in the outskirts of the proper camps in Hagadera load their belongings onto trucks as they choose to relocate to the newly-opened Kambioos settlement, at Kenya's Dadaab Refugee Camp, situated northeast of the capital Nairobi near the Somali border, August 29, 2011. (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Alex Dick-Godfrey, program coordinator, Studies administration for the Council on Foreign Relations Studies program. 

Even before the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya last September, the Kenyan government was wary of the threat posed by Somali terrorist organizations, especially al-Shabaab. After the attack, Kenyan lawmakers heightened their focus on the terrorist organization, and swiftly retaliated. There was also an almost immediate backlash against the nearly 500,000 Somali refugees currently in Kenya. Many Kenyans suspect the Westgate Mall attackers came from a refugee camp, and the presence of the camps has long been a source of tension for the communities around them. Kenya would be wise, however, to not disproportionately blame Somali refugees for security issues within Kenya. Read more »

Boko Haram Pivots Toward Rural Areas in Nigeria

by John Campbell
Soldiers walk through Hausari village during a military patrol near Maiduguri June 5, 2013. Burnt out vehicles and scattered rubbish is all that's left of a militant camp near Maiduguri, northern Nigeria. (Joe Brock/Reuters Staff) Soldiers walk through Hausari village during a military patrol near Maiduguri June 5, 2013. Burnt out vehicles and scattered rubbish is all that's left of a militant camp near Maiduguri, northern Nigeria. (Joe Brock/Reuters Staff)

The jihadist insurgency called Boko Haram appears to have reduced its operations in urban areas. This follows the massive deployment of security forces in northeastern Nigeria in line with the Abuja government’s June proclamation of a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. According to the media, life has almost returned to normal in some parts of Maiduguri. However, the Nigerian security services claimed in October that they thwarted a possible terrorist attack in Kano, Nigeria’s second largest city. Read more »

Afrobarometer Shows Mixed Results on Africa’s Fight Against Corruption

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A protester displays a modified Kenyan 1,000 Shilling note ($12) imprinted with an image of a pig to depict what he says is greed in lawmakers demanding for a pay rise, during a demonstration in Nairobi, June 11, 2013. (Noor Khamis/Courtesy Reuters) A protester displays a modified Kenyan 1,000 Shilling note ($12) imprinted with an image of a pig to depict what he says is greed in lawmakers demanding for a pay rise, during a demonstration in Nairobi, June 11, 2013. (Noor Khamis/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 »

Afrobarometer Poll Questions the “Africa Rising” Narrative

by John Campbell
A woman, displaced by recent fighting between Congolese army and the M23 rebels, carries firewood in the rain in Munigi village near Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo September 1, 2013. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) A woman, displaced by recent fighting between Congolese army and the M23 rebels, carries firewood in the rain in Munigi village near Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo September 1, 2013. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

Afrobarometer is a research project coordinated by institutions in African countries and with partners in thirty-one countries. It recently conducted a survey of public opinion across thirty-four African countries that showed popular skepticism about the “Africa Rising” narrative. This, despite relatively high growth rates. Read more »

Ombatse: Disenfranchisement and Violence in Nigeria’s Middle Belt

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
People stand by a damaged vehicle at a church, the site of a bomb blast, in Nigeria's central city of Jos February 26, 2012. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) People stand by a damaged vehicle at a church, the site of a bomb blast, in Nigeria's central city of Jos February 26, 2012. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jacob Zenn, an analyst of African Affairs for the Washington D.C.-based think tank, The Jamestown Foundation, and a contributor to the West Point CTC Sentinel.

Amid the ongoing trial of Kabiru Sokoto–the alleged Boko Haram mastermind of the Christmas Day and Abuja police headquarters bombings in 2011–other testimony relating to “Ombatse” has been largely overlooked. Ombatse means “Time has Come” in the language of the Eggon people who inhabit Nasarawa and Benue states. Ombatse was reportedly formed as the result of a revelation received in the leader’s dream that called for male Eggons to “purify society and rid it of social evils such as promiscuity, adultery, crime, alcohol consumption, and smoking.” Read more »

Uganda’s Oil Tanker Explosion: More Than Poverty?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A fuel tanker burns at the scene of a fatal road accident on the outskirts of the capital Kampala June 30, 2013. (James Akena/Courtesy Reuters) A fuel tanker burns at the scene of a fatal road accident on the outskirts of the capital Kampala June 30, 2013. (James Akena/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Brooke Bocast, a PhD candidate in anthropology at Temple University and a visiting predoctoral fellow at Northwestern University. She is currently writing her doctoral dissertation on gender, consumption, and higher education in Uganda. Read more »

Climate Change and Conflict Triggers

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A Kenyan woman fetches water from a gully in Nyakach district, an area where massive land degradation has been exacerbated by livestock grazing and a rapidly increasing population, in western Kenya June 28, 2005. (Antony Njuguna/Courtesy Reuters) A Kenyan woman fetches water from a gully in Nyakach district, an area where massive land degradation has been exacerbated by livestock grazing and a rapidly increasing population, in western Kenya June 28, 2005. (Antony Njuguna/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.

Recent protests in Turkey and Brazil are being lionized in the financial press as products of rising prosperity in “developing” countries, where economic growth grates against stagnant institutions. Yet simultaneously another powerful force is also engendering violent social unrest and revealing institutional deficiencies: climate change. Read more »