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  • Author: Seth Kaplan
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Eritrea is often in the news for all the wrong reasons: its high rates of migration to Europe (it has sent more refugees to Europe in recent years than any other African nation), its conflicts with neighboring Ethiopia and Djibouti, and controversy over its mandatory and indefinite national service conscription program. Human rights activists, in particular, have long singled out the country for criticism, calling it “the North Korea of Africa.” The inappropriateness of that comparison is increasingly recognized—but misunderstandings about the nature of the Eritrean regime continue to abound.
  • Topic: Migration, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Eritrea
  • Author: J. Peter Pham
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Turmoil in traditional geopolitical hotspots—Europe, Russia, the Levant, and Asia—has distracted the United States from the numerous opportunities and challenges across the Atlantic in Africa. Over the last decade, Africa has celebrated economic growth and new levels of political and economic engagement with the United States. But the continent faces many challenges to its continued economic development, security, and governance. In this latest Atlantic Council Strategy Paper, Atlantic Council Vice President and Africa Center Director Dr. J. Peter Pham persuasively argues that the United States needs to modernize its relations with a changing Africa to best engage a new range of actors and circumstances.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Africa, America
  • Author: Bart Hilhorst
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: Ongoing expansions of hydro-infrastructure in the Nile basin, combined with infrastructure completed in the past decade, are increasing the capacity to regulate the Nile as well as the benefits accrued to the Nile waters. No longer reliant on funding from the World Bank and Western donors alone, Nile water development is accelerating in a number of upstream riparian states. Hence, the river Nile upstream of the Aswan High Dam is gradually being transformed from a natural to a regulated river. Hydro-infrastructure projects represent a strong driver for issue-based cooperation among the most affected riparians, but it is noted that the basin- wide perspective is not considered in these ad hoc arrangements. This paper describes the emerging cooperative regime in the Nile basin and analyzes its effectiveness. It presents an inventory of where cooperation among Nile riparians is needed, and discusses the required level of cooperation. It looks at the benefits of cooperation that are not related to a specific geographic area. The paper then identifies four distinct sub-basins that have substantial autonomy in managing their water resources. It concludes that the emerging cooperative setup is logical and for now quite effective, and does not lock in arrangements that may prove inconsistent—at a later point in time—with the overall objective of reasonable and equitable use of the Nile waters by each riparian state. Hence, the emerging cooperative regime arguably represents a positive step in the evolution from a basin without cooperation to a basin managed to optimize the use of the Nile waters for the benefit of its people.
  • Topic: Environment, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Diane De Gramont
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In fifteen years, Lagos has gone from being a symbol of urban disorder to a widely cited example of effective African governance. The Lagos State government has succeeded in multiplying its tax revenues and using these resources to restore basic infrastructure and expand public services and law enforcement. Extensive field research indicates that reform commitment in Lagos was driven by electoral pressures as well as elite ambitions to construct an orderly and prosperous megacity.
  • Topic: Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: John Paden
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Nigeria is by far the largest country in the world—with a population of just over 180 mil-lion—evenly divided between Muslims and Christians. The 2011 presidential election split the country along ethno-religious-regional lines. Thus, concerns for the upcoming 2015 election are widespread. Muslims in Nigeria include Sufi, Izala, women's organizations, student organizations, emir-ate traditions, and ordinary people, as well as Boko Haram extremists. Christians range from Catholic to mainstream Protestant to Evangelical to Pentecostal to African syncretism. The candidates in the upcoming election are the same as in 2011: Muhammadu Buhari for the All Progressive Congress party (APC) and Goodluck Jonathan for the Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP). At the national level, the APC is running on the themes of security and anticorruption, the PDP on the theme of transformation. The APC believes that it can sweep seventeen of the nineteen northern states as well as the southwest. The PDP is confident that it can win the south-south and southeast as well as parts of Middle Belt. Such a scenario could set up ethno-regional tensions in the aftermath of the election. The presidential election is scheduled for February 14, 2015. State-level elections, including for governors, are set for February 28, creating a possible bandwagon effect after the presidential election for whichever party wins. Postelection court challenges follow. The inauguration is scheduled for May 29. Do religious symbols exacerbate or mitigate conflict, especially during an electoral season? What are the interfaith efforts to ameliorate or mitigate ethno-religious conflict? What are the consequences of a polarized election? How might recent patterns of extremist violence—with ethno-religious implications—affect this election? The question is framed in the context of broader patterns of religious identity and conflict that have plagued Nigeria's Fourth Republic. Most important will be a national election such that whoever wins, it will stand as a milestone in the quest for democratic practices rather than as a testament to a failed state.
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Andrea Ó Súilleabháin
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: The call for national and local ownership of peacebuilding and statebuilding design and practice has grown louder in recent years. The principles of leveraging local knowledge and attending to local context have gained increasing prominence and visibility in international policy. Standards of field practice for international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and peacebuilding missions now regularly include consultation of local perspectives and engagement of local actors. But regional, national, and community-level knowledge have not found effective channels to influence and inform the international decision-making process. Translating these principles into practice—in terms of peacebuilding and statebuilding mechanisms, processes, and programs on the ground—is an enduring challenge for the United Nations and international actors.
  • Topic: Government, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Karen del Biondo
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kolleg-Forschergruppe "The Transformative Power of Europe"
  • Abstract: The Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES), which was adopted in 2007, aimed to break with the traditional do¬nor-recipient relationship between the EU and Africa and to develop a true partnership. The concept of partnership has been central in EU-Africa relations ever since the Lomé Agreement (1975), but many have argued that it has been eroded by conditionalities and the end of special trade preferences. Ideally, a partnership is characterized by shared values, equality and trust, but are these principles reflected in the JAES? This study investigates this question by focusing on the thematic partnerships on peace and security and democratic governance and human rights. The paper argues that, despite the power asymmetries between the EU and Africa, the JAES has been characterized by equality in decision-making and by African ownership in capacity-building. However, while the JAES may objectively be based on shared values, the EU and the AU have often differed on how to apply those values in concrete situations, more particularly on the question which type of intervention is acceptable (conditionality, military intervention, etc.). Moreover, the analysis identifies a general feeling of mistrust amongst both parties in the partnership.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Willa Friedman
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper looks at the impact of corruption on the effectiveness of antiretroviral drugs in preventing AIDS deaths and the potential channels that generate this relationship. This is based on a unique panel dataset of countries in sub-Saharan Africa, which combines information on all imported antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) from the World Health Organization's Global Price Reporting Mechanism with measures of corruption and estimates of the HIV prevalence and the number of AIDS deaths in each year and in each country. Countries with higher levels of corruption experience a significantly smaller drop in AIDS deaths as a result of the same quantity of ARVs imported. This is robust to different measures of corruption and to a measure of overall death rates as well as HIV-specific death rates as the outcome. A case-study analysis of the Kenyan experience illustrates one potential mechanism for the observed effect, demonstrating that disproportionately more clinics begin distributing ARVs in areas that are predominantly represented by the new leader's ethnic group.
  • Topic: World Trade Organization
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Vijaya Ramachandran, Benjamin Leo, Robert Morello
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The need for infrastructure improvements is a top-tier economic, political, and social issue in nearly every African country. Although the academic and policy literature is extensive in terms of estimating the impact of infrastructure deficits on economic and social indicators, very few studies have examined citizen demands for infrastructure. In this paper, we draw upon survey data to move beyond topline estimates of national infrastructure access rates towards a more nuanced understanding of service availability and citizen demands at the regional, national, and sub-national level. We find a predictable pattern of infrastructure services across income levels—lower income countries have fewer services. The survey data also allows us to observe the sequencing of infrastructure services. On the demand side, survey respondents are most concerned with jobs and income-related issues, as well as with the availability of infrastructure: specifically transportation and sanitation. These priorities transcend demographic factors, including gender and location (urban/rural).
  • Topic: Health
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Matthias Basedau, Michael Wahman
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Building on theoretical insights from research on the rentier state and the “resource curse,” several studies have supported the argument that oil hinders democracy. However, previous research on the rentier state has neglected the global surge of multiparty autocracies or “electoral authoritarian” regimes since the end of the Cold War. No systematic study has been carried out on the question of whether or not and how oil affects electoral contests in nondemocratic regimes. In this paper we contribute to filling this gap by combing the literature on multiparty autocracy and the political economy of the rentier state. As oil production creates substantial, nontransparent revenue streams to national and subnational governments, we hypothesize that oil production has a negative effect on electoral competitiveness, both cross‐ and subnationally, in multiparty autocracies. Consequently, the democratic “resource curse” emphasized in earlier work on the rentier state is likely to persist even after the introduction of multipartyism in cases where oil production predates democratic institutions. The paper tests the hypothesis cross‐nationally, using data on all multiparty elections held in the world in the period 1975–2010, and subnationally, using a new data set on subnational election results and oil production in Nigeria. Our results confirm that oil impedes electoral competitiveness, both cross‐ and subnationally, in multiparty autocracies.
  • Topic: Cold War, Democratization, Oil
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria