John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Influencing Africa only on the Margins

by John Campbell Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I had a good time at the African Studies Association meeting in San Francisco, November 18-21. The events list was reminiscent of a college catalogue if all of the course offerings were Africa-related. Though the principal theme was the African Diaspora, there was a banquet of presentations and roundtables on other issues, such as Muslim politics in the Sahel or militia activity in the eastern Congo, to take two I especially enjoyed. While the quality of the presentations was variable as always, often I found myself thinking about new issues or thinking in new ways about the ones I know best. Read more »

The Niger Delta: Heating Up?

by John Campbell Friday, November 19, 2010

This month Delta militants attacked two offshore oil facilities belonging to international oil companies. They kidnapped 7 foreign workers and 12 Nigerians. In response to this renewed militant activity, the Joint Task Force (JTF)—the Nigerian government’s military presence in the Niger Delta—claims to have overrun at least seven insurgent camps in three different Delta states. They also claim that these actions led to the negotiated release of the hostages unharmed. Read more »

The Limits of Elections in Guinea

by John Campbell Thursday, November 18, 2010

The uneasy calm during the first round of voting in Guinea’s presidential election is unraveling fast. Guineans and their international friends had hoped that the elections would end the political turmoil that has roiled the country since the stadium massacre last year. As of now, the latest round of violence shows the limits of elections in resolving deep-seated internal conflicts. Read more »

African Studies Assocation 53rd Annual Meeting, San Francisco, November 18-21

by John Campbell Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My research associate, Asch Harwood, and I will be there, in the Tappert Brothers “shameless commerce division,” promoting my new book, Nigeria: Dancing on the Brink, that so annoyed the current Nigerian foreign minister. I am participating on a panel, “Nigeria at 50: The Academia, Research and the Nation” on Friday, November 19 at 8 am. Come by, listen (critically) to our wisdom and even take a look at the book, or visit the Rowman & Littlefield Publishers stand. Read more »

Polio is Back

by John Campbell Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The resurgence of polio last week in Congo-Brazzaville illustrates the long over-hang consequences of civil war and political instability. Pointe Noire, the epicenter of the current outbreak, is a port city largely isolated from the rest of the country, and the surrounding region has long been plagued by poverty and insecurity. The new polio cases are concentrated among those between fifteen and seventy years of age, rather than small children, as is more common in similar outbreaks. The strain of the disease in Pointe Noire appears to be especially virulent, and the mortality rate is high. As of November 9, there were 184 new cases, and 85 deaths. Read more »