John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update January 3-January 9

by John Campbell Monday, January 12, 2015
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 January 3, 2015 to January 9, 2015. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

Ten Years Later: Taking Stock of Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Friday, January 9, 2015
Sudan's Ali Osman Mohamed Taha and Sudan People's Liberation Movement leader John Garang laugh before the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Kenya's capital Nairobi, January 9, 2005. (Courtesy REUTERS/Antony Njuguna) Sudan's Ali Osman Mohamed Taha and Sudan People's Liberation Movement leader John Garang laugh before the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Kenya's capital Nairobi, January 9, 2005. (Courtesy REUTERS/Antony Njuguna)

This is a guest post by Aala Abdelgadir, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relation’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative.

Ten years ago today, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ended twenty-one years of civil war in Sudan. The internationally brokered accord between the governing National Congress Party (NCP) in the north and the southern rebel forces of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and Army (SPLM/A, later SPLM) was hailed as a tremendous achievement at the time. However, a decade later, an independent South Sudan is mired in civil conflict, political tensions and rebel violence are rife in Sudan, and the CPA has failed to establish peace and stability. Read more »

Paying Nigeria’s Civil Servants

by John Campbell Thursday, January 8, 2015
Youths and workers carrying signs protest at a rally marking May Day outside an open field in Lagos, May 1, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye) Youths and workers carrying signs protest at a rally marking May Day outside an open field in Lagos, May 1, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

A large proportion of the government of Nigeria’s revenue goes to pay the salaries of civil servants at the national, state, and local levels. With the exception of Lagos state, the heart of Nigeria’s modern economy, the states and the local government authorities have few sources of revenue of their own. They are largely dependent on revenue from the Federation Account, the share of oil revenue distributed by the federal government according to a set formula. Read more »

More Alarm Bells for Nigeria’s February Elections

by John Campbell Wednesday, January 7, 2015
A building of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) is set ablazed in Nigeria's central city of Jos, December 26, 2010. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) A building of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) is set ablazed in Nigeria's central city of Jos, December 26, 2010. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

The All Progressives Congress (APC) is the chief opposition party contesting the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the political control of Nigeria in national elections on February 14, 2015. The PDP’s presidential candidate is incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, a southern Christian. The APC’s candidate is Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler, a northern Muslim. Read more »

Balzac and Nigeria’s Boko Haram

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Muslims attend prayers during the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha at an open field in Lagos, October 4, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) Muslims attend prayers during the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha at an open field in Lagos, October 4, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/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.

Balzac’s early novel, Les Chouans (1829), is not critics’ favorite. But, the book, which deals with a revolt in Brittany of Chouans–peasants with royalist sympathies–against the French revolution, is a masterpiece of guerrilla warfare analysis. As I read it, I thought of Boko Haram–a sign of obsession, perhaps, or just simple curiosity. While chronological and cultural contexts are vastly different, I started to see commonalities between guerrillas fighting a civil war, regardless of time and place. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update December 27-January 2

by John Campbell Monday, January 5, 2015
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 December 27, 2014 to January 2, 2015. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
Read more »

Looking Forward: Africa 2015

by John Campbell Thursday, January 1, 2015
A boy stands in front of wind turbines at the Ashegoda Wind Farm, near a village in Mekelle, Tigray, 780 km (485 miles) north of Addis Ababa, October 25, 2013. (Kumerra Gemechu/Couresy Reuters) A boy stands in front of wind turbines at the Ashegoda Wind Farm, near a village in Mekelle, Tigray, 780 km (485 miles) north of Addis Ababa, October 25, 2013. (Kumerra Gemechu/Couresy Reuters)

With over a billion people and the second largest continental landmass in the world, Africa is complicated and defies generalization. Yet, we do it all the time. Here are five trends to keep an eye on for 2015:

 

  1. A Resurgence of Afro-pessimism. For the past several years, the narrative about Africa has been upbeat, ranging from McKinsey and Company’s Lions on the move” to the Economist’sA Hopeful Continent.” That could change in 2015, with a militant jihadism in the Sahel, an implosion in South Sudan and the Central African Republic, and Ebola. Falling oil prices will also mean declining currency values and falling stock markets in oil-dependent states. But, Afro-pessimism can distort as much as ‘Africa rising.’
  2. Read more »

Kenya’s Troubling New Anti-Terrorism Legislation

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Police stop a protester from demonstrating for freedom of speech outside Kenya's parliament, December 18, 2014. (Courtesy REUTERS/Noor Khamis) Police stop a protester from demonstrating for freedom of speech outside Kenya's parliament, December 18, 2014. (Courtesy REUTERS/Noor Khamis)

This is a guest post by Aala Abdelgadir, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relation’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative.

In mid-December, the Kenyan parliament passed counterterrorism legislation that has since been hotly contested by politicians, civil society leaders, journalists, and ordinary citizens alike for its alleged infringement on basic civil liberties. Read more »

Tracking the Traffickers: Stopping the Wildlife Trade at its Source

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Tuesday, December 30, 2014
A worker uses a forklift to arrange a section of elephant tusks recovered from a container on transit, at the Kenyan port city of Mombasa, January 15, 2013. (Joseph Okanga/Courtesy Reuters) A worker uses a forklift to arrange a section of elephant tusks recovered from a container on transit, at the Kenyan port city of Mombasa, January 15, 2013. (Joseph Okanga/Courtesy Reuters)

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

On December 8, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, announced the creation of the United for Wildlife Task Force at the World Bank in Washington, DC (you can see the full speech below). The task force aims to work with the private sector to reduce illegal wildlife trafficking globally, it hopes to “identify ways that the sector can break the chain between suppliers and consumers.” Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update December 20-December 26

by John Campbell Monday, December 29, 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 December 20 to December 26, 2014. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »