John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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 »

A Caliphate in Northeastern Nigeria?

by John Campbell Thursday, August 28, 2014
Mike Omeri (R), Coordinator of the National Information Centre, speaks next to Chris Olukolade (L), Nigeria's Director of Defence Information, during a news conference on issues relating to security, multiple bombings and military operations in Nigeria, at the National Briefing Centre in Abuja, July 2, 2014. Mike Omeri (R), Coordinator of the National Information Centre, speaks next to Chris Olukolade (L), Nigeria's Director of Defence Information, during a news conference on issues relating to security, multiple bombings and military operations in Nigeria, at the National Briefing Centre in Abuja, July 2, 2014.

Boko Haram chieftain Abubakar Shekau has announced in a video released on August 24 that the Borno town of Gwoza is now part of a caliphate and will be ruled according to strict Islamic law. The Nigerian Ministry of Defense denies that Boko Haram controls the town and insists that Nigeria’s territorial integrity is intact. According to credible Nigerian media sources, the United Nations Humanitarian Office (OCHA) has confirmed that Gwoza is under rebel control. Read more »

Elephant Population Tipping Points and Domestic American Ivory Markets

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Orphaned baby elephants run for bottle-feeding at the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage within the Nairobi National Park, near Kenya's capital Nairobi, August 6, 2014. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) Orphaned baby elephants run for bottle-feeding at the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage within the Nairobi National Park, near Kenya's capital Nairobi, August 6, 2014. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Emily Mellgard. Emily is a researcher at the Tony Blair Faith Foundation in London, England, and former research associate for the CFR Africa program.

The BBC reported on August 18 that in the past four years, approximately thirty-five thousand elephants have been poached for their ivory annually. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that a tipping point has been reached in elephant populations: more elephants are dying than being born. The population is in decline due to the international demand for ivory. Read more »

Ebola in the Congo

by John Campbell Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Medical workers in protective clothings work in the Ebola isolation zone at a makeshift health clinic run by the medical charity Doctors Without Borders at the village of Kampungu, near Kananga in western Kasai province in south-central Democratic Republic of Congo, some 700 km (435 miles) east of the capital Kinshasa, September 18, 2007. Medical workers in protective clothings work in the Ebola isolation zone at a makeshift health clinic run by the medical charity Doctors Without Borders at the village of Kampungu, near Kananga in western Kasai province in south-central Democratic Republic of Congo, some 700 km (435 miles) east of the capital Kinshasa, September 18, 2007.

The health minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Felix Kabange Numbi, has announced an outbreak of the Ebola virus in the remote Equateur province. Two cases have been confirmed by the ministry. The authorities have moved quickly to isolate the village where the disease was found. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update August 16–August 22

by John Campbell Monday, August 25, 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 16 to August 22, 2014. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

Ebola “a Complete Disaster”

by John Campbell Thursday, August 21, 2014
A health worker, wearing head-to-toe protective gear, offers water to a woman with Ebola, at a treatment centre for infected persons, as a young boy stands nearby in Kenema Government Hospital, in Kenema, Eastern Province, Sierra Leone, in this handout photo courtesy of UNICEF taken in July 2014. (UNICEF/Courtesy Reuters) A health worker, wearing head-to-toe protective gear, offers water to a woman with Ebola, at a treatment centre for infected persons, as a young boy stands nearby in Kenema Government Hospital, in Kenema, Eastern Province, Sierra Leone, in this handout photo courtesy of UNICEF taken in July 2014. (UNICEF/Courtesy Reuters)

This is the conclusion of Dr. Joanne Liu, MD, president of Doctors Without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontieres-MSF). Her interview in the New York Times is a compelling must-read for those watching Ebola and West Africa. Far from echoing the cautious optimism that the disease may be coming under control in certain areas, she says, “no one yet has the full measure of the magnitude of this crisis. We don’t have good data collection. We don’t have enough surveillance.” Read more »

Ebola, Fear, and Better Communication

by John Campbell Wednesday, August 20, 2014
A U.N. convoy of soldiers passes a screen displaying a message on Ebola on a street in Abidjan, August 14, 2014. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters) A U.N. convoy of soldiers passes a screen displaying a message on Ebola on a street in Abidjan, August 14, 2014. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters)

Ebola is fearful. Its symptoms include raging fever, bleeding from orifices (including the eyes and ears), diarrhea, and vomiting. The mortality rate is high. Caregivers move about in space suits. Necessary care for the sick and proper medical practices, including quarantine and the burial methods, are contrary to the strong family and community-centered values of traditional West African society. Read more »