John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update September 6- September 12

by John Campbell Monday, September 15, 2014
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 Friday, September 12, 2014
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 Thursday, September 11, 2014
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 Wednesday, September 10, 2014
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 Tuesday, September 9, 2014
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 Monday, September 8, 2014
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 »

Africa’s Youth Bulge a Big Burden

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Friday, September 5, 2014
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 Diptesh Soni. Diptesh is currently a consultant in UNICEF’s public advocacy section and a recent graduate of the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his employer. You can follow him on twitter at @dipteshpsoni. Read more »

HIV/AIDS, South Africa, and the United States

by John Campbell Thursday, September 4, 2014
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks with South Africa's Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi after attending a PEPFAR (U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) Transition Signing, at Delft South Clinic in Delft South, a suburb of Cape Town, August 8, 2012. (Jacquelyn Martin-Pool/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks with South Africa's Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi after attending a PEPFAR (U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) Transition Signing, at Delft South Clinic in Delft South, a suburb of Cape Town, August 8, 2012. (Jacquelyn Martin-Pool/Courtesy Reuters)

In the aftermath of the miracle of a democratic transition from apartheid to “non-racial” democracy, South Africa faced a disease nightmare. During the presidencies of Nelson Mandela and his successor, Thabo Mbeki, up to a third of some population groups in South Africa were victims of HIV/AIDS. Deaths soared, and the national life expectancy dropped by a decade. Read more »

Africa, The Summit and Development

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Wednesday, September 3, 2014
U.S. President Barack Obama (bottom row, C) waits to depart with other leaders after a family photo for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the U.S. State Department in Washington, August 6, 2014. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama (bottom row, C) waits to depart with other leaders after a family photo for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the U.S. State Department in Washington, August 6, 2014. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Owen Cylke. Mr. Cylke is a development professional and a retired senior foreign service officer with U.S. Agency for International Development.

References to development (even to the word “development”) do not appear in most of the reports on the recently concluded U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. In this regard, I want to distinguish between “assistance” and “development,” between discrete projects on the one hand, and, on the other, the larger, more complex process of transforming economies, polities, administrations, and societies. Yet, the advancement of development is a stated goal of the president of the United States, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, and the International Monetary Fund. Development also has the focused attention of African leadership as reflected in the policies and actions of the African Union, its development arm the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and the constitutions, policies, and actions of virtually every country on the continent. Read more »

A Special Report by the Nigeria Security Network and the Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update

by John Campbell Tuesday, September 2, 2014
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)

The Nigeria Security Network, a group of academics and think tankers, has issued a special report on the remarkable expansion of Boko Haram’s control in the northeastern state of Borno.  It is a must-read.  The report includes a detailed map that pinpoints the towns and territories that Boko Haram occupies. It reveals something approaching a crescent around the major city of Maiduguri, that has a population of at least one million, including a Christian minority. It concludes that Nigeria is losing control of Borno state. It suggests that if Borno falls to Boko Haram, Yobe and Adamawa could follow, along with parts of Camerooon.  If that were to happen, a major humanitarian crisis is likely. Read more »