John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Boko Haram Control in Northeast Nigeria

by John Campbell
According to Oliver Dashe Doeme, Archbishop of Maiduguri, Boko Haram has captured twenty-five towns in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states as of September 19, 2014. This map shows twenty-three of the twenty-five towns reported to be under Boko Haram control. (Thomas Zuber/Developed with Google Maps) According to Oliver Dashe Doeme, Archbishop of Maiduguri, Boko Haram has captured twenty-five towns in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states as of September 19, 2014. This map shows twenty-three of the twenty-five towns reported to be under Boko Haram control. (Thomas Zuber/Developed with Google Maps)

With only government-controlled communication from northeastern Nigeria, there is a dearth of information about what territory Boko Haram actually controls.However, Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops in Nigeria often are better informed about reality on the ground than anybody else because their networks of local parishes staffed by priests cover most of the country.Hence the recent statement by the Roman Catholic archbishop of Maiduguri about Boko Haram deserves attention. The archbishop, Oliver Dashe Doeme, was born in 1960 and was made bishop of Maiduguri in 2009. Read more »

Establishing a Sacred Trust

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
U.S. President Barack Obama sits next to the Director of the CDC Tom Frieden (R) and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell (L) as he participates in a briefing, on efforts to control the Ebola virus, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, September 16, 2014. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama sits next to the Director of the CDC Tom Frieden (R) and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell (L) as he participates in a briefing, on efforts to control the Ebola virus, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, September 16, 2014. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters)

 

This is a guest post by Colonel Clint Hinote. He is the 2014-2015 U.S. Air Force Military Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. The opinions expressed here are his own.

 

Because what makes us unique on the face of the earth is that as a military if you need something, were going to get it for you. You can trust in that. Read more »

An Expensive Lesson In Education

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Students walk to school in Zimbabwe's capital Harare, January 27, 2009. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters) Students walk to school in Zimbabwe's capital Harare, January 27, 2009. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Cheryl Strauss Einhorn, a journalist and adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

With an already shaky economy, Zimbabwe’s new education minister Lazarus Dokora’s decision to make a series of drastic “reforms” is shortsighted and potentially destabilizing. Without a strong education system, the country may lack cohesion and the tools to propel economic growth, both of which Zimbabwe sorely needs now. Read more »

The Military Balance in Northeast Nigeria

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan stands for Kenya's national anthem before the Africa Union Peace and Security Council Summit on Terrorism at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, September 2, 2014. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan stands for Kenya's national anthem before the Africa Union Peace and Security Council Summit on Terrorism at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, September 2, 2014. (Thomas Mukoya/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. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update September 6- September 12

by John Campbell
The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau) The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau)

Below is a visualization and description of some of the most significant incidents of political violence in Nigeria from September 6 to September 12, 2014. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

Black and White Income Inequality in South Africa and the United States

by John Campbell
A fruit vendor waits for customers at an informal settlement in Thokoza, south of Johannesburg, July 18, 2014. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters) A fruit vendor waits for customers at an informal settlement in Thokoza, south of Johannesburg, July 18, 2014. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters)

South Africa is notorious for having gross income inequality. Its GINI coefficient–a standard for measuring income inequality–is one of the highest in the world. The World Bank computed it at 63.1 in 2009, with zero being absolute equality and one hundred absolute inequality. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the GINI coefficient for the United States in 2012 was 47.7. When analyzing these two GINI coefficients, there is a danger of comparing apples with oranges. The GINI coefficients here cited were developed by two different institutions, no doubt with different methodologies. What GINI coefficients actually show is also a matter of debate. Still, they indicate income inequality was greater in South Africa than in the U.S. in recent years. Read more »

Huge Diamond Mined in South Africa

by John Campbell
A visitor holds a 17 carat diamond at a Petra Diamonds mine in Cullinan, outside Pretoria, January 22, 2009. London-listed Petra Diamonds said it expected a difficult operating environment going into 2009 and that it saw conditions improving by the end of 2010.  (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters) A visitor holds a 17 carat diamond at a Petra Diamonds mine in Cullinan, outside Pretoria, January 22, 2009. London-listed Petra Diamonds said it expected a difficult operating environment going into 2009 and that it saw conditions improving by the end of 2010. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters)

Diamonds are associated with glamour and South Africa. The Cullinan Mine, east of Pretoria, is famous for diamonds of the huge variety, including the ‘Cullinan Diamond,’ at 3,106 carets, the largest gem quality diamond ever found. The owner presented it to King Edward VII in 1905, and the Great Star of Africa, which was cut from it, is in the scepter of the royal regalia used at the coronation of British monarchs. Read more »

Africans Coming to New York

by John Campbell
A passer-by walks near a mural with former South African President Nelson Mandela in the Harlem neighborhood of New York, June 28, 2013. A passer-by walks near a mural with former South African President Nelson Mandela in the Harlem neighborhood of New York, June 28, 2013.

Henry Louis Gates estimates that altogether about four hundred and fifty thousand Africans were brought to what is now the United States as part of the Atlantic slave trade, legal and illegal (legal importation of slaves from Africa ended in 1808, but illegal trafficking to the United States continued until 1865 and the defeat of the Confederacy). Thereafter, there was little African immigration to the United States, in part because of persistent American racism. Those blacks that came to New York in the twentieth century were mostly of Caribbean origin. They played a major role in the Harlem Renaissance and black New York politics. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. and Shirley Chisholm were both of Caribbean origin. Read more »

Reactions to the U.S. Strike in Somalia

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A Somali government soldier holds his fighting position against suspected militants during an attack at the Jilacow underground cell inside a national security compound in Mogadishu, August 31, 2014. (Feisal Omar/Courtesy Reuters) A Somali government soldier holds his fighting position against suspected militants during an attack at the Jilacow underground cell inside a national security compound in Mogadishu, August 31, 2014. (Feisal Omar/Courtesy Reuters)

 

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

Last week, the United States conducted an airstrike on an al Shabaab target in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia. Al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane was killed in the attack. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update August 30-September 4

by John Campbell
The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau) The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau)

Below is a visualization and description of some of the most significant incidents of political violence in Nigeria from August 30 to September 4, 2014. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »