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  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Like its putative Islamic State counterparts in Iraq and Syria, the Nigerian terror group Boko Haram has in recent weeks accomplished an alarming expansion of its territorial control The downing of a Nigerian fighter jet-and the videotaped beheading of its pilot-also suggest a quantum leap in the group's offensive and propaganda capabilities The Nigerian state's attempts to counter the Boko Haram narrative through positive public relations have yet to yield positive results The government's latest claim of killing the militants' leader, Abubakar Shekau, remains unsubstantiated, thus creating another public relations challenge for Nigerian security officials.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Debbie Hillier
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is totally unprecedented. The accelerating number of cases, the poor health infrastructure in affected countries, the short supply of skills, knowledge and personnel, and the fear surrounding this disease are providing a huge challenge to affected governments and the international community as they battle to bring the epidemic under control.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Health, Humanitarian Aid, Foreign Aid, Health Care Policy, Ebola
  • Political Geography: Africa, West Africa
  • Author: Isabel Martins
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: South Sudan is facing the world's worst food crisis, driven by the conflict that erupted in December 2013. Unless there is an end to the fighting, this food crisis will continue. Without far stronger international pressure, the conflict is unlikely to be resolved. International diplomacy – as well as aid and the protection of civilians on the ground – is urgently needed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Humanitarian Aid, Food
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Alors que le Nord du Mali connait un inquiétant regain de violence, les négociations de paix à Alger constituent une chance unique de sortie de crise. Mais après deux mois de discussions, la paix semble encore loin. Le gouvernement malien et les groupes armés engagés dans les négociations peinent à trouver un terrain d'entente. Des groupes influents et radicaux qui manquent à la table des négociations sont tentés de faire dérailler le processus par la violence. La résolution du conflit passe par l'articulation complexe d'intérêts divergents qui touchent à la sécurité du Sahara, à la nature de l'Etat malien et aux équilibres locaux entre des communautés divisées. Face aux affrontements armés, la tentation est grande d'aller vite et de signer un accord à minima garantissant la sécurité à court terme. La précipitation est mauvaise conseillère. Il faut se donner les moyens et le temps de construire les fondements d'une paix durable.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: William R. Cline
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This semiannual review finds that most of the major international currencies, including the US dollar, euro, Japanese yen, UK pound sterling, and Chinese renminbi, remain close to their fundamental equilibrium exchange rates (FEERs). The new estimates find this result despite numerous significant exchange rate movements associated with increased volatility in international financial markets at the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2014, and despite a major reduction in the price of oil. The principal cases of exchange rate misalignment continue to be the undervalued currencies of Singapore, Taiwan, and to a lesser extent Sweden and Switzerland, and the overvalued currencies of Turkey, New Zealand, South Africa, and to a lesser extent Australia and Brazil. Even so, the medium-term current account deficit for the United States is already at the outer limit in the FEERs methodology (3 percent of GDP), and if the combination of intensified quantitative easing in Japan and the euro area with the end to quantitative easing in the United States were to cause sizable further appreciation of the dollar, an excessive US imbalance could begin to emerge.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Japan, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil, New Zealand
  • Author: Nicole Ball
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Progress made by Burundi's Security Sector Development (SSD) program in advancing democratic security sector governance is noteworthy given that there have been relatively few successful security sector reform cases from which to draw. Political will for security sector reform was expanded over time by supporting tangible priorities of the Burundian security sector that established the trust enabling broader engagement on governance issues. The relative success of the SSD program—and particularly its governance pillar—depended heavily on its ability to address politically sensitive issues. SSD's 8-year timeframe provided the time to adapt the program to evolving circumstances, facilitate increasing Burundian ownership of the reform process, and realize the incremental gains from which substantive change was possible.
  • Topic: Security, Reform
  • Political Geography: Africa, Burundi
  • Author: Suhani Bhushan, Stephanie C. Fauquier
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: By 2050, the world's population is expected to exceed nine billion people. Population growth is occurring most rapidly in Africa, which will see the population grow from one billion to 2.1 billion by 2050. Africa will see significant population growth; however, agricultural output is not growing at the same rate. Africa's abundant natural resources are being used ineffectively, and the country is unlikely to sustain current population growth. According to reGina Jane Jere (2014), "Barely a fraction of fertile agricultural land [in Africa] is being cultivated - just 10 percent of the 400 million hectares."
  • Topic: Agriculture
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Elizabeth Fraser, Malambo Moonga, Johanna Wilkes
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: SSA is a region undergoing a significant urban transition. UN-Habitat (2014) estimates that by 2050, 58 percent of the African continent will be living in urban regions, representing an increase from 400 million individuals to over 1.26 billion. This will be accompanied by a burgeoning informal sector, which has grown rapidly since the 1960s across the continent, providing income, employment and livelihoods for millions of poor urban households.
  • Topic: Poverty, Food, Reform
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Debbie Hillier, Krista Riddley
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The international response to the Ebola epidemic is on the right path, but there is a long way to go. The UN's interim objective was to treat 70 percent of cases and to ensure that 70 percent of burials were done safely within 60 days, i.e. by 1 December 2014. Case numbers are stabilizing in Liberia and Guinea, but remain out of control in Sierra Leone – such that the targets for cases treated has not been met. The UN has not provided figures for what had been achieved by 1 December, but a previous sitrep on 21 November showed that only 13 percent of Ebola cases in Sierra Leone have been isolated, compared with 72 percent in Guinea.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, Human Welfare, Infectious Diseases, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Karim Mezran, Mohamed Eljarh
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The French intellectual Jean Baudrillard once said, “It is always the same: once you are liberated, you are forced to ask who you are.” In the case of Libya, this question should have been at the center of every political initiative immediately following the collapse of Muammar Qaddafi's regime. Libya's new leadership had the opportunity to convene a national dialogue in an effort to explore questions of national identity and a new vision for a national mission. Unfortunately, the Libyan elites who emerged from the 2011 civil war did not make national dialogue a priority, opting to appease local forces—armed and political—rather than to undertake the difficult but critical task of nation-building.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya