John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "United States"

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 »

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 »

Time for Better Coordination Against al Shabaab

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Ugandan peacekeeping troops stand during a ceremony at Mogadishu airport in Somalia, May 18, 2014. (Feisal Omar/Courtesy Reuters) Ugandan peacekeeping troops stand during a ceremony at Mogadishu airport in Somalia, May 18, 2014. (Feisal Omar/Courtesy Reuters)

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

Last month, in the wake of the kidnapping of the schoolgirls from Chibok in Nigeria by the Islamist organization Boko Haram, President Francois Hollande of France convened a security summit in Paris. Heads of state from Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger attended. The main result was the creation of a “central intelligence platform,” which will serve as a place for West African nations to coordinate their responses to Boko Haram. The United States and its partners in the Horn of Africa should endeavor to copy a form of this strategy to counter al Shabaab in the Horn. Read more »

Boko Haram Kidnapping Protests Go Viral

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Protesters march in support of the girls kidnapped by members of Boko Haram in front of the Nigerian Embassy in Washington May 6, 2014. (Gary Cameron/Courtesy Reuters) Protesters march in support of the girls kidnapped by members of Boko Haram in front of the Nigerian Embassy in Washington May 6, 2014. (Gary Cameron/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Allen Grane, 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.

Recently we have seen a great amount of social awareness and dissent among Nigerian’s regarding how the government has handled the conflict with Boko Haram. The impetus for this reaction has been the kidnapping of over 300 schoolgirls from four towns in Borno State: Izge, Lassa, Ashigashiya and Warabe. Within Nigeria there have now been protests in KadunaAbuja, and as far south as Lagos. Through the use of social media these protests have now spread across the world to include Washington and New York City. Read more »

Abubakar Shekau Claims Boko Haram Kidnapped the Nigerian School Girls

by John Campbell
Schoolgirls take part in a protest demanding the release of abducted secondary school girls from the remote village of Chibok, in Lagos, May 5, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) Schoolgirls take part in a protest demanding the release of abducted secondary school girls from the remote village of Chibok, in Lagos, May 5, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

In a video sent to Agence France Press, Boko Haram warlord Abubakar Shekau claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of up to three hundred school girls from a boarding school in northeast Nigeria. Up to now, there has been silence as to which group perpetrated the deed.  Read more »

American “Quality” Press and Nigeria

by John Campbell
Crowd gather at the scene of a bomb blast at a bus terminal in Nyayan, Abuja April 14, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) Crowd gather at the scene of a bomb blast at a bus terminal in Nyayan, Abuja April 14, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

On April 15, arguably the most influential of the American print press carried the story of the horrific April 14 bombings in Abuja. The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post among others all had stories or photographs on their front pages. Read more »

Fireworks During White House Meeting of Northern Nigerian Governors

by John Campbell
Kwire-Mana, Kpafrato II, Homun Honest Stephen (R), receives his staff of office from Adamawa state governor, Murtala Nyako, during a presentation ceremony at Makwada Square in Numan, Adamawa state, December 7, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Kwire-Mana, Kpafrato II, Homun Honest Stephen (R), receives his staff of office from Adamawa state governor, Murtala Nyako, during a presentation ceremony at Makwada Square in Numan, Adamawa state, December 7, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

On March 18, governors from Nigeria’s north and Middle Belt met with U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice and other U.S. officials at the White House. The governors come from states where economic development is slow or non-existent and includes those where the radical, Islamist insurgency “Boko Haram” is active. Read more »

United States Military to Train Nigerian Rangers?

by John Campbell
A U.S. Special Forces trainer supervises a military assault drill for a unit within the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) conducted in Nzara on the outskirts of Yambio, November 29, 2013. (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters) A U.S. Special Forces trainer supervises a military assault drill for a unit within the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) conducted in Nzara on the outskirts of Yambio, November 29, 2013. (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters)

In the March 5 New York Times, Eric Schmitt’s article “U.S. Takes Training Role in Africa as Threats Grow and Budgets Shrink,” reviews U.S. military assistance and training to the weak states of the Sahel that are confronting jihadi militantsHe discusses the constraints on what the U.S. is willing and able to do in a context of domestic budget cuts and a general war-weariness in the aftermath of Iraq and Afghanistan. Read more »

The Myth of Isolationism, in Africa, at Least

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Kenyan workers pluck tea leaves using a new machine at the Uniliver tea farm in Kericho, 300km west of the capital, Nairobi. October 10, 2004. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) Kenyan workers pluck tea leaves using a new machine at the Uniliver tea farm in Kericho, 300km west of the capital, Nairobi. October 10, 2004. (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.

There is currently a view that America’s role in the world is shrinking, as the country and its leaders reportedly become more “isolationist.” That term is code for Washington’s unwillingness to use military force in situations where experts, in and out of the press, believe it ought to be applied. And while potential political candidates refer to the U.S. as “the indispensable nation,” they too tend to see engagement through a military lens. Read more »