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  • Author: Jon Temin, Princeton N. Lyman, Ph.D.
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Sudan urgently needs to embark on a national dialogue and reform process that is led by Sudanese and supported by the international community. The process should be broadly inclusive, involving elements of the current regime, Islamists, and all armed and unarmed opposition groups. Any meaningful process will be lengthy, likely requiring years to complete. If a genuine, inclusive process is underway, elections in 2015 may need to be delayed. The African Union High-Level Implementation Panel has a critical role to play in advocating for and guiding such a process.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Cooperation, Foreign Aid, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Judith Vorrath
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Despite recent elections in Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda and upcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Great Lakes region shows worrying trends toward electoral authoritarianism and political fragmentation, with new divisions that intensify the potential for confrontation. A shrinking political space and a tight grip on the state by the ruling elites and their parties are signs of authoritarianism in the region—a cause of concern since armed conflict in all four countries has been strongly linked to a history of exclusion under autocratic regimes. New divisions beyond previous alignments in armed conflicts also have occurred and already led to serious confrontations, flight, and at times violence. An increasing political fragmentation has become visible, and splits embroil intraparty conflicts in the political landscape instead of resolving them. The two trends—electoral authoritarianism and political fragmentation—are mutually reinforcing within and across the countries of the region and risk jeopardizing economic and social progress in Uganda and Rwanda as well as an emerging vibrant civil society in Burundi and the DRC. In light of the history of conflict and autocratic regimes in the region, these trends have to be a serious concern for local and international actors. The preference for stable leadership, economic performance, and security considerations regardless of political conduct has been a fatal miscalculation before in the Great Lakes region. Rather, acting early and using pressure constructively, the international community should do what it can to support a more open and less fragmented political sphere in the Great Lakes countries.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Political Economy, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, Burundi
  • Author: Marc Sommers, Peter Uvin
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Extensive research with nonelite youth in postwar Rwanda and Burundi revealed stark and startling contrasts between the lives of poor Rwandan and Burundian youth, particularly concerning issues of masculinity, education, urban migration, and social mobility. Severe manhood pressures and the threat of failure for male and female youth emerged as the dominant research theme in Rwanda. In Burundi, severe economic pressure surfaced as the dominant research theme. Yet many youth there believe that the future holds promise if they can work hard, remain flexible, and have some luck. Although youth in Burundi contend that educational accomplishment directly influences social mobility and survival strategies, the Rwanda research points to low demand for education and training among the lesser-educated youth majority. For Burundian youth, especially male youth, urban migration was a risky but nonetheless desirable option. Meanwhile, Rwandan youth mainly viewed rural-urban migration as an escape from humiliation in rural areas. Whereas many Burundian youth held out the hope of improving their lot and perhaps even ascending socially, the commanding imprint of risk aversion led many Rwandan youth to focus on minimizing prospects of collapse. Most Burundian youth believe that they have options and possibilities while most Rwandan youth do not. While Rwandan youth face constraining adulthood mandates and government regulations, as well as a severe housing crisis, Burundian youth perceive a range of options for making plans and then implementing them. Weak governance and adaptable cultures appear to provide nonelite youth populations in postwar contexts with opportunities for creative advancement. Strong and restrictive governments and cultures, while capable of implementing policies that are favorable to economic growth, may also create calamitous results for many youth. Boosting Rwandan youth prospects calls for reforming or perhaps eliminating housing and informal economy regulations that undermine their aims. Aiding Burundian youth necessitates an enhanced focus on jobs and job training. Qualitative research on marginalized youth perspectives should be carried out before youth work begins.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Political Economy, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: Africa, Burundi
  • Author: Kitenge N'Gambwa
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) gained its independence in 1960, the country 's leadership has been lacking three attributes of the utmost importance to the country's welfare: a real vision for the DRC's future, the competence and ability to execute the vision, and the character needed to ensure the realization of the vision with sound judgment, integrity, and equity. To break from the DRC's past patterns of poor governance, a clear and practical vision for the country's future must be articulated and implemented, requiring concerted effort from a new and energized leadership. This type of leadership should come from the Congolese people—both those living in the country and those who are part of its far-flung diaspora. Opportunities and avenues for reform include revamping democratic governance and electoral reform, promoting economic growth by moving beyond aid and creating a favorable environment for investment, reforming the mining sector, improving the health and education systems, and strengthening the DRC's judiciary. A well-organized and invigorated Congolese diaspora can join with Congolese living in the DRC to work toward the reforms. The upcoming elections in November 2011 offer a chance to step up these organizational and advocacy efforts.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Development, Economics, Health, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Raymond Gilpin, Richard Downie
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has enormous economic potential thanks to its rich mineral deposits and vast tracts of arable land. Historically, these resources have been exploited by predatory leaders and a host of subregional actors. The time is now ripe for the DRC to put years of war and economic underdevelopment behind it. The business community has an important part to play in promoting sustainable peace in the DRC. Business communities in Bukavu and Lubumbashi have managed to remain profitable in the very trying years following the signing of the 1999 Lusaka peace accord by showing great resilience and versatility, primarily outside formal channels. Congolese businesses face serious obstacles, including poor infrastructure, high taxes, extortion, and market distortions. However, respondents expressed relatively little concern about insecurity and violence, suggesting that these costs have been internalized or that other obstacles impose much greater costs. DRC businesses neither want nor expect handouts. Respondents would prefer assistance in removing barriers to trade, improving infrastructure, and reducing corruption. Respondents are broadly optimistic about the future and their economic prospects, and have a strong sense of being stakeholders in shaping society. This bodes well for the future of the DRC, provided public policy can harness this energy and not impede it.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Economics, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Raymond Gilpin
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Although Zimbabwe's deep-seated economic malaise has robbed citizens of their savings, rendered incomes practically worthless and undermined domestic productivity, experts believe that a resolution of the political impasse could trigger much-needed policy reform and economic revitalization. This USIPeace Briefing reviews policy options and recommendations proffered at a USIP roundtable discussion on August 12, 2008. The panelists were: Keith Campbell, Managing Director at the Executive Research Associates; Bernard Harborne, Lead Conflict Specialist at the World Bank; Frank Young, Vice President of Abt Associates; Callisto Madavo, visiting professor at the African Studies Program at Georgetown University. USIP's Raymond Gilpin moderated the event.
  • Topic: Corruption, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Kelly Campbell
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Beja people, who inhabit Eastern Sudan, have consistently been politically, socially, and economically marginalized by successive governments in Khartoum. As a consequence, the Beja have recently joined forces with other disenfranchised groups from eastern and western Sudan, and violence in the region has escalated despite the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Government of Sudan (GOS) in Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Niger Delta, an area of dense mangrove rainforest in the southern tip of Nigeria, comprises nine of Nigeria's thirty-six states: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo, and Rivers. The region's oil accounts for approximately 90 percent of the value of Nigeria's exports, but the Niger Delta remains one of Nigeria's least developed regions.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria