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  • Author: Luca Barana
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Commission’s Joint-Communication “Towards a Comprehensive Strategy with Africa”, published on 9 March 2020, envisioned the beginnings of a new and more equal partnership with the African Union (AU).[1] Meanwhile, COVID-19 has had an unprecedented disruptor effect on the world scene. Its impact dramatic and long-lasting, the crisis may also be an opportunity to move beyond policy principles and actually consolidate the EU–AU relationship. The Commission aspires to structure this new course of EU–AU relations around five thematic partnerships and ten actions so as to concretely step up cooperation. A common thread emerging from the Communication is the need to strengthen multilateralism and the rules-based international system.
  • Topic: Migration, United Nations, Multilateralism, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, European Union, African Union
  • Author: Harvey Galper, Reehana Raza
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: On March 13, Kenya reported its first case of COVID-19, and an additional 649 cases were reported in the following two months. As the pandemic spreads, Kenya’s policymakers are facing the first significant challenge to the country’s nascent intergovernmental system and will have to prioritize how to spend the country’s scarce resources amid existing fiscal constraints. Established in 2013, Kenya’s decentralized government structure gives the country’s 47 counties the primary responsibility of delivering health care services to their citizens. But historical and geographical factors have led to substantial variation across counties in both health care capacity and risk of contracting the coronavirus. To make critical decisions to control the pandemic, Kenya’s policymakers will need not only accurate data on the spread of the coronavirus but also county-specific data and analyses on health care capacity and population risk. With such county-level data, the national government can flatten the curve and better allocate the country’s limited resources in line with individual counties' circumstances.
  • Topic: Health, Population, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: This report provides an overview of the nature of illicit trade in cigarettes across three markets in the Levant region: Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon. It establishes estimates of Illicit Consumption in each market and the impact it has on government tax revenue.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Finance, Illegal Trade
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: A letter to the UN Human Rights Council from a number of NGOs (African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS); AfricanDefenders (Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network); Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS); Center for Reproductive Rights; Central African Network of Human Rights Defenders (REDHAC) CIVICUS; Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) – South Sudan; Crown The Woman – South Sudan; DefendDefenders (the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project); Dominicans for Justice and Peace; Geneva for Human Rights / Genève pour les Droits de l’Homme; Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (GCR2P); Human Rights Watch; International Commission of Jurists; FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights); International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR); International Service for Human Rights; Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada; Legal Action Worldwide (LAW); National Alliance for Women Lawyers – South Sudan; Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (SAHRDN); South Sudan Human Rights Defenders Network (SSHRDN); World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)).
  • Topic: Civil Society, Human Rights, United Nations, NGOs
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Nations, South Sudan
  • Author: Elisabeth Pramendorfer
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: Earlier this month, on 18 June, Burundi swore in Évariste Ndayishimiye as the country’s new president, nearly one month after winning a contested election against Agathon Rwasa and other opposition candidates. The accelerated inauguration process followed the unexpected death of President Pierre Nkurunziza on 8 June. Amidst this rapid transition – initially set to take place in August – Burundians and the international community are waiting to see if the new government will seize upon this unique moment in the country’s history. Can President Ndayishimiye and the new government reverse the policies pursued by President Nkurunziza that deepened societal divisions and resulted in years of political conflict?
  • Topic: Elections, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities
  • Political Geography: Africa, Burundi
  • Author: Juliette Paauwe
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: After an almost seven-month delay, on 22 February South Sudan formed a new Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU), reuniting long-term rivals and former enemies President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar. Although this constitutes a major breakthrough in the peace process, many questions remain regarding the impact this reunion will have on the long-term stability of South Sudan. Will the two leaders finally be able to resolve contentious issues while sharing power, or will the country return to violence and bloodshed?
  • Topic: Transitional Justice, Atrocities, Transition
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Sudan
  • Author: Anna Borshchevskaya
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: It is no secret that Moscow is increasingly utilizing so-called “private military contractors” (PMCs) to pursue foreign policy objectives across the globe, especially in the Middle East and Africa. What has received less attention is that Moscow’s deployment of PMCs follows a pattern: The Kremlin is exploiting a loophole in international law by securing agreements that allow contractors to provide local assistance. The problem is, however, Russian PMCs are not simply contractors. This pattern of Russian behavior presents a new challenge that Western policymakers should address, as it speaks to broader Russian influence in Africa in the context of great power competition. This challenge is about Moscow’s erosion of broader behavioral norms.
  • Topic: International Law, Military Affairs, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Eurasia
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: Last week’s inauguration of a new Egyptian military base on the Red Sea was heavy with the symbolism of the rivalries shaping the future of the Middle East as well as north and east Africa.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, United Nations, Geopolitics, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Libya, United Arab Emirates, Red Sea
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In this issue of Iqtisadi, Paul Rivlin delves into the structural factors that led to protests and the overthrow of Sudan's longtime dictator, Omar al-Bashir, in 2019. This background along with more recent developments, explains why some of the leadership in Sudan today believe engagement with Israel makes good economic sense.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economy, Omar al-Bashir
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Haim Koren Gideon Behar
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In this issue of Ifriqiya, Dr. Haim Koren and Ambassador Gideon Behar discuss the causes and potential solutions to the dual challenges of climate change and rising violence in the Sahel region of Africa.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Conflict, Violence, Islamism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sahel
  • Author: Rina Bassist
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: For our latest issue of Ifriqiya, Rina Bassist discusses the immediate economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sub-Saharan Africa, and raises awareness of the threat of a prolonged crisis both for wealthier countries and for the poorest countries in that region.
  • Topic: Economy, Crisis Management, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Germaine Guidimabaye Remadji
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In this issue of Ifriqiya, Germaine Guidimabaye Remadji describes several of the conflicts going on inside and around Chad. She analyses the role of the current government, as well as persistent social and ethno-religious challenges that have complicated efforts to reduce civilian displacement and the rise of jihadi organizations in the Lake Chad region in recent years.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, Displacement, Conflict, Jihad, Boko Haram
  • Political Geography: Africa, Chad
  • Author: Benjamin Augé
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Until recently, Saudi Arabia was the country out of the Gulf countries that had the greatest number of diplomatic missions in Africa. Although it is now outstripped by Qatar, which has been striving since the beginning of the Emirati-Saudi embargo that started in June 2017 to open a large number of diplomatic posts in Africa. The Saudi diplomatic network was formerly established in predominantly Muslim states (in the Maghreb, West Africa and in the Horn of Africa) and in South Africa. The kingdom can mainly rely on experienced diplomats, who have maintained a presence in Africa since the 1970s, boosted after the 1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution and the desire to prevent a spread of Shiism on the continent. Nowadays, Saudi Arabia is also clearly involved in Africa as elsewhere, to counter the influence of its Qatari neighbor.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Islam, Soft Power, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Mark Wentling
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: It is my opinion that the interest of the United States is best served in most African countries by improving the basic welfare of their people. The effectiveness of U.S. aid in Africa can be enhanced by focusing on the least developed countries. Helping address basic human needs, notably in the areas of education and health, should be top priority, especially the education of girls. Increasing agricultural production to improve nutritional health also deserves greater attention. Assistance funding needs to be stable and independent of political and diplomatic considerations. The composition of U.S. overseas missions and cumbersome bureaucratic processes must be revised to permit the effective and timely implementation of this new strategy. These changes are necessary to raise hopes for a better future for millions of Africans and to strengthen the role of the U.S. in Africa.
  • Topic: Education, Health, Foreign Aid, Pandemic, Girls
  • Political Geography: Africa, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Mark Wentling
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: My friends say I was born and raised in Kansas, but I was made in Africa. I first stepped on the continent in 1970 as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo and stayed much longer than expected, serving with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and working with non-governmental organizations across the continent. I ended up knowing firsthand in varying degrees each of Africa’s 54 countries.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Memoir, Peace Corps, USAID
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States of America
  • Author: Mark Wentling
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Guinea’s first president, Ahmed Sékou Touré (AST) died on March 26, 1984, following emergency heart surgery at a Cleveland hospital. When Guinea gained independence from France in 1958, AST was the only leader of France’s African colonies to say “no” to Charles De Gaulle’s offer of continued association with France, stating loudly “We prefer poverty in liberty to riches in slavery.” The French thus quickly abandoned with much vengeance their most wealthy West African Francophone colony, destroying everything they could not take with them.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Memoir, USAID
  • Political Geography: Africa, Guinea
  • Author: Brenda Brown Schoonover
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: IntraHealth, originally known as Intrah, the Program for International Training in Health, was created in 1979 to train health workers and enhance the skills and champion health workers in overseas countries in areas where they are most needed. Intrah grew out of a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) cooperative agreement with the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC). Much of IntraHealth International’s success in global development is due to its President and CEO, Pape Amadou Gaye, who is stepping down after 16 years heading the organization. I first met Pape Gaye in the late 1990s, when he was Regional Director for Intrah’s West and North Africa programs in Lome, Togo, where I was U.S. Ambassador.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Memoir
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States of America
  • Author: Mark Wentling
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: In April 1991, while I was serving in Lomé, Togo as the USAID Representative for Togo and Benin, protests in Lomé against the dictatorial regime of President Eyadéma reached the boiling point. One night, President Eyadéma’s barbaric soldiers entered the original neighborhood of Lomé, Bè, and killed a couple dozen people or more. They collected the bodies and threw them into the lagoon which cut across the northern part of old Lomé. Their morbid idea was that when the people saw the dead bodies, they would cease revolting against Eyadéma, his cronies and all for which they stood.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Trauma, Memoir, USAID
  • Political Geography: Africa, Togo
  • Author: Allard Duursma
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: Every student that takes a class on United Nations (UN) peace operations will be told on day one that, along with impartiality and the non-use of force (except in self-defense and defense of the mandate), the consent of the conflict parties is one of the three fundamental principles of UN peacekeeping. But students will soon realize that the principle of consent is just that—a principle. Which is often compromised. Host-state consent was compromised during the deployment of UN peacekeepers in the Ivory Coast when Laurent Gbagbo was in power. UN peacekeepers in South Sudan also face the challenge of compromised host-state consent. Peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo have occasionally also been confronted by government actors trying to undermine their work. The withdrawal of host-state consent has even led to the termination of peacekeeping operations in Chad, Burundi, and Eritrea/Ethiopia.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, United Nations, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, South Sudan, Ivory Coast
  • Author: Cade McCurdy, Harvey Galper, Reehana Raza
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: For national governments around the world, effective budgeting depends on accurate revenue forecasts. Revenue forecasts are estimates of what governments will collect from various sources, such as income taxes, value-added taxes, corporate taxes, and excises, which together determine the funds available to allocate to various public programs. If revenues are significantly overestimated in the budgetary process, the results can be unexpected borrowing, high debt-service costs, and cutbacks in these important governmental services. Under Kenya’s newly decentralized government structure, accurate revenue forecasting has become more important than ever. Kenya’s new constitution, approved in 2010, decentralized the country’s government structure and created 47 county governments, each responsible for a broad range of programs and services. Counties’ execution of these programs depends heavily on funds from the national government.
  • Topic: Government, Budget, Economic Growth, Revenue Management
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Matthew Eldridge, Charles Cadwell
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: This summer, several hundred asylum seekers—most fleeing violence in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo—arrived in Portland, Maine, igniting a debate on how to support these new arrivals, most of whom have immediate housing and service needs, as well as issues related to trauma and navigating a new country, and whether to encourage more immigration to bridge local labor shortages. The responsibility of providing services for asylum seekers—unlike refugees, who have access to some supports—falls into a gray area without clearly delineated roles for local, state, and federal government agencies. If granted asylum, these individuals would be eligible for federal supports, but that process could take months or years. Capacity constraints among local service providers are limiting their ability to expand services to meet these new needs. Although there may be long-term, quantifiable benefits for integrating these new, mostly younger residents into communities with workforce needs, the short-to-medium-term integration and support costs, coupled with unclear funding responsibilities and tight budgets, present barriers to action.
  • Topic: Refugees, Asylum, Integration
  • Political Geography: Africa, North America, Angola, United States of America, Congo
  • Author: Reehana Raza, Karuti Kanyinga, Akanshaka Ray
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: On August 8, 2017, Kenya held its first elections since creating 47 new county governments in 2013 under a constitution promulgated in 2010. The elections were intensely contested both at the national and local level. Disputes over presidential results, amid allegations of fraud, saw Kenya’s new apex court, the Supreme Court, annul the August 8 presidential election. The court ordered a fresh presidential poll, which was held on October 26, 2017. Meanwhile, more than 20 local governorship results were legally contested, with multiple cases being taken all the way to the Supreme Court. These elections and the violence that followed the disputed presidential election created long periods of uncertainty across Kenya’s national and local government. In Wajir county, the election result for governor was contested for almost 20 months, until the Supreme Court ruled last February that the election was valid. Political transition generally creates uncertainty for bureaucrats, but prolonged transition periods exacerbate uncertainty and paralyze government functions. An annual survey and a technical report by partners implementing a project funded by the US Agency for International Development and the UK Department for International Development, Agile Harmonized Assistance for Devolved Institutions (AHADI), assesses how 22 Kenyan counties are improving their capacity to efficiently provide services to citizens. The most recent 2018 assessment shows how the 2017 elections undermined counties’ ability to sustain and maintain capacity-building initiatives.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Elections, Transition
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Fenohasina Rakotondrazaka Maret, Jacques Lévesque
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: Across Africa, there is increasing public investment in strategies to promote government transparency and empower citizens to hold their leaders accountable. Achieving transparency, however, is a formidable challenge, especially given constraining political contexts in some sub-Saharan African countries, a third of which have been ruled by a single party for several decades.
  • Topic: Government, Democracy, Accountability, Investment, Transparency
  • Political Geography: Africa, Tanzania
  • Author: Gervais Rufyikiri
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Since the 1960s, the period of independence of Burundi, the situation of human rights has remained worrying. The UN Human Rights Office in Burundi, established in 1995, at the height of the 1993 bloody civil war, has assisted the Government in order to protect and promote the human rights, until it shut down on February 28, 2019. The assistance provided by the Office was impactful mainly through the harmonization of national legislation with international human rights standards and the creation of institutions focused on the protection and defence of human rights. The closure of the Office is one manifestation of the embarrassment in which Burundian top leaders find themselves after neutral UN experts have reported serious human rights violations committed by state institutions that may constitute crimes against humanity. The short-term solution could result from a combination of increased pressure and diplomatic actions to negotiate with the government of Burundi the reinstatement of the UN Human Rights Office. Such actions could also help to mitigate the symptoms of poor governance, particularly with regard to human rights. For the long-term, a robust mechanism addressing the root cause of ineffective or bad governance is the right way towards a lasting solution. In this regard, we suggest a smart training program specifically addressing issues of leadership ethics within all levels and categories of the leaders, sustained by coaching and mentoring activities.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Governance, Ethics, Domestic Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Nations, Burundi
  • Author: Hillel Frisch
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: The lack of a reaction to the death of former Egyptian president Muhammad Morsi and the absence of religious demands by protesters in Algeria, Sudan, and Iraq suggest that political Islam is waning after the defeat of ISIS three years ago.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics, Protests
  • Political Geography: Africa, Iraq, Sudan, Middle East, Algeria
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Mutual escalation has come to define the constant confrontations between the Nigerian movement Boko Haram and the Multinational Joint Task Force, formed by some West African countries, to confront its activity and weaken its ability to expand beyond the national borders, namely to Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon. This escalation may continue over the coming period, as the movement becomes one of the main branches of ISIS, on which the latter relies to stage counter-strikes in response to the losses sustained in Syria and Iraq.
  • Topic: Security, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Islamic State, Boko Haram
  • Political Geography: Africa, Iraq, Middle East, West Africa, Syria, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: Paul Rivlin analyzes the ongoing economic challenges faced by Ethiopia. A visit to Ethiopia provides food for thought for an economist who devotes much of his time to the Middle East. During the last twenty years, despite many problems and a very difficult historical legacy, Ethiopia has experienced rapid economic growth. It remains a very poor, landlocked country with few natural resources and faces serious internal political problems but is experiencing something rare: relatively good governance. This has made the difference that is currently boosting growth and reducing poverty levels. This edition examines the political and economic development of Ethiopia in recent decades. The June edition will analyze the relevance of its experience for other countries.
  • Topic: History, Economy, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Ethiopia
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: The second part of this review of Ethiopia’s economic development examines the strengths and weaknesses of the policies followed and the institutions established in recent years and compares them with the development policies adopted in East Asia.
  • Topic: History, Reform, Economy, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Haim Koren
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: Haim Koren analyzes the ongoing relationship between Israel and South Sudan. From the beginning, it made strategic sense for Israel to provide military aid to rebels in South Sudan. This would serve as a useful distraction to Egypt and Sudan, and would open a new and vulnerable front against the Arab World. However, it wasn’t until the June 1967 war that Israel truly acted upon this opportunity, following Khartoum’s decision to support Egypt in that conflict. [1] Joseph Lago, then the leader of the South Sudanese Anya-Nya ("Viper Venom") guerrilla organization, appealed desperately to Israel, asking it to help in preventing integration of Sudanese units within the Egyptian army by pinning them down in an ongoing conflict with the fighters of South Sudan. This would carry a number of advantages for Israel, including strengthening Israel’s operational connections with Kenya and Ethiopia, which were states within Israel’s geo-strategic ‘second circle.’ Providing such aid would also carry moral weight: Israel would help a nation struggling for independence against what south Sudanese felt to be Islamic “tyranny.”
  • Topic: International Relations, Bilateral Relations, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Middle East, Israel, South Sudan
  • Author: Eline Rosenhart
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: Eline Rosenhart analyzes the way that the CAR has become an arena for the competition of interests between France and Russia. The Central African Republic (CAR) has been described as the “periphery of peripheries,” a country which seems to be of very little interest to the rest of the world. Although rich in natural resources such as diamonds, gold and uranium, the government of CAR is unable to make use of them in such a way that would benefit the economy of the country. Landlocked, ravished by bloody civil wars, and heavily dependent on foreign military support, CAR has become synonymous with disaster.
  • Topic: Power Politics, Military Intervention, Crisis Management, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Europe, France, Central African Republic
  • Author: Rina Bassist
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In this issue of Ifriqiya Rina Bassist analyses the deteriorating security situation in the Sahel region, as well as the incoming international support for the regional G5 Sahel joint force that was created in 2014. She argues that, despite some progress, more external funding is needed to implement vital development goals aimed at stabilizing the region.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Strategic Stability
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sahel, Western Sahara
  • Author: Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome, Emman Usman Shehu
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Ìrìnkèrindò: a Journal of African Migration
  • Abstract: Another year has ended. The editorial staff of Ìrìnkèrindò: a Journal of African Migration wish you a happy new year. What better way than to share the poem written by Dr. Emman Shehu?
  • Topic: Migration, Poem
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Trafficking in persons has become a multibillion dollar business in Africa that African governments have been slow to address.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Sex Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Twenty-five YALI Mandela Washington Fellows participated in a one-day simulation exercise focused on Africa’s security concerns.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Somalia’s National Security Advisor Abdisaid Ali talks about political will, security reforms in Somalia’s Transition Plan, and the commitment to domestic and international coalition building to sustain the country’s progress.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A time-lapse review of violent episodes involving militant Islamist groups in African since 2010 provides insights into the evolution of these actors over the course of this decade.
  • Topic: Islam, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Since Egypt’s appearance in the inaugural 1930 World Cup, African countries’ performance in the tournament has been a source of pride and national identity.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Sudan grapples with an acute economic crisis, as the inflation rates spiked to unprecedented levels in the past months, causing a severe liquidity crunch due to the cash-strapped banking system. This has coincided with the constant plummeting of the Sudanese pound against the dollar in the past period. The current compound crisis has ensued from the drop in the country’s oil export revenues in the wake of the secession of South Sudan in 2011, while other resources, such as gold, have not been able to fill the growing trade deficit. To contain this crisis, the government should continue its efforts to adhere to its recent economic reform program and to strengthen monetary and fiscal policies to address the existing economic distortions.
  • Topic: Economy, Crisis Management, Exchange Rate Policy, Inflation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Anna Fichtmüller
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: The middle classes have at times been heralded to be a guarantee for democracy. Studies that find a positive correlation (which should not be confused with causation) often use national economic data as a proxy for class and compare it to the current regime type. Beyond the recurrent problem of a lack of a common definition of the term “middle class”, these studies fail to provide insights into how the concerned groups think, and even more so, act, which raises foremost questions: how does “democratic” thinking and acting manifest itself, particularly in a non-democratic regime? Is voting in an authoritarian system an expression of a democratic right or a legitimization of a regime that holds elections as a mere lip service? Is the decision not to participate in a demonstration for free elections, a silent confirmation of the current regime, even if one has to fear violent repercussions? However, studies, which highlight the ambivalent attitude of the middle class towards the regime rely on more ethnographic data and, thus, succeed in painting a more nuanced picture.Scrutinizing the attitudes and behaviors of members of the Ugandan middle class can help shed some light into the black box “middle class”. We can observe that indeed, the middle class has a critical stance on the current regime, which is becoming increasingly authoritarian. However, this does rarely lead to any actions that could give rise to democratic reforms or regime change. Instead, political pragmatism seems to prevail. Fault lines, which do exist, seem to run along with other criteria than class.
  • Topic: Politics, Elections, Democracy, Protests, Class
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The IMF has significant influence on the tax policies of developing countries through advice and conditionality, technical assistance and by setting global standards and analyzing global trends. Its rhetoric has become more progressive in recent years. This paper assesses the IMF’s tax advice to developing countries based on five country case studies (Ghana, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Peru, Senegal) over the period 2010 to 2015 and supported by a desk study of public IMF documents. It finds that there is a gap between the IMF’s commitment to leveraging fiscal policy to fight inequality, and its actual tax advice to developing countries.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Inequality, Tax Systems, IMF, Progressivism
  • Political Geography: Africa, South America, Nicaragua, Mozambique, Senegal, Peru, Ghana
  • Author: Fenohasina Rakotondrazaka Maret, Harsh Parikh, Rachel Wilder
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: The United Nations designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, and for good reason. The tourism industry generates 10.2 percent of global GDP and employs 1 in 10 workers. Women make up more than half of the tourism workforce, which makes the industry’s growth a unique opportunity to empower women across the world. But we need additional data to better understand how women intersect with this burgeoning industry.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Tourism, Women, Partnerships, International Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, Botswana, Global Focus
  • Author: Fenohasina Rakotondrazaka Maret, Daiki Akiyoshi
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: In Nairobi, Kenya, technological advances like Uber have brought positive disruption and significant benefits to consumers. The country has been called the Silicon Savannah for having hatched various technological innovations. But in some parts of Kenya, it’s not uncommon to wait for hours to get a stable Internet connection. In the capitals of Madagascar and Burkina Faso, where smartphone and computer ownership is still low, people have to go to cybercafés to access the Internet, usually on run-down computers with old software, and even then, connection speeds may be painfully slow. Slow connection speeds and lack of Internet access aren’t just a hassle though, they’re signs of the digital divide that sets many African countries behind. The World Bank’s World Development Report 2016 provides an in-depth analysis of countries’ access to and use of the Internet, mobile phones, and tools to collect, store, analyze, and share information digitally. We revisited the latest data and observed a persistent digital divide, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Madagascar, Burkina Faso
  • Author: Simon Adams
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: When we think of the Holocaust our mind slips inexorably to dismal images of cattle cars stuffed with people, or to gas chambers, crematoria and the cruel irony of the “Arbeit Macht Frei” gate. But of the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust over a million were shot with rifles and other small arms. They were not killed in concentration camps, but were murdered in fields or forests and pitched into mass graves outside villages in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe. Before Auschwitz, Sobibor or Treblinka, the Holocaust began with bullets. The same is true of most mass atrocities carried out since 1945. From the killing fields of Cambodia to the burnt villages of Darfur, most of the killing was done with rifles and other small arms. It is for this reason that there is an enduring connection between preventing atrocities and confronting the international arms trade. The AK-47, or Kalashnikov, is the most popular weapon in the world today, with an estimated 70 million currently in existence. Numerous countries manufacture local variants of the ubiquitous assault rifle and while a new Chinese-made AK-47 might cost you $500, you can easily purchase one in many former conflict zones for as cheap as $50. When I lived in Johannesburg during the mid-1990s, leftover AK-47s from the civil war in Mozambique were still making their way through the townships and some entrepreneurial gangs were even renting out their AK-47s to other aspiring criminals at an hourly rate.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, Weapons , Arms Trade, Responsibility to Protect (R2P)
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Middle East, United Nations, Global Focus
  • Author: Jaclyn Streitfeld-Hall
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: The Gambia, the smallest country in mainland Africa, made big news in January 2017, when Adama Barrow became the nation’s third president after defeating incumbant Yahya Jammeh in the December 2016 elections. Jammeh initially refused to accept the results, which triggered a constitutional crisis and threat of mass conflict. Following is the story of how mass violence was averted was averted through multilateral regional intervention and peaceful transition of governance.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, History, Multilateralism, Violence, Responsibility to Protect (R2P)
  • Political Geography: Africa, Gambia
  • Author: Fenohasina Rakotondrazaka Maret, Ammar A. Malik, Nan Marie Astone, H. Elizabeth Peters
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: Worldwide, only about one in two women work, compared with three in four men. In some low-income countries, such as Zimbabwe and Madagascar, the labor force participation rate for women has reached 90 percent, but these women are often underemployed. Hard economic circumstances often force them to be self-employed or work in small enterprises that are unregulated and unregistered. About 83 percent of all domestic workers in the world are women, most of whom work in precarious conditions. Women also do much more unpaid work than men, including caring for children, the elderly, and people with disabilities; contributing to family farms or businesses; and performing household chores such as collecting water or gathering firewood. Improving women’s livelihoods constitutes basic human rights protection. But could including more women in the labor force also stimulate economic growth, enhance business competitiveness, and improve well-being? We recently conducted a review of evidence to answer that question and found that reducing the gender pay gap and equalizing access to economic opportunities and resources are good for economic, social, and business development. For example, some firms that purposefully reduced gender discrimination and supported family-friendly policies attracted more talented workers, improved retention rates, and decreased employee stress, resulting in enhanced productivity.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Labor Issues, Women, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe, Madagascar
  • Author: Fenohasina Rakotondrazaka Maret
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: The quality of public-service delivery in developing countries depends on accountability for public-sector employees, but what does it take to make accountability the norm rather than the exception? According to the 2004 World Development Report, the long route of improving service delivery involves accountability through political mechanisms like the electoral system and politicians’ oversight. But the short route—accountability through the direct relationships between service providers, clients, and the local community—can often be just as effective. Social service delivery is still weak in many developing countries, particularly those in Africa, but increasing accountability could make a difference.
  • Topic: Education, Health Care Policy, Accountability, Economic Development , Public Service
  • Political Geography: Africa, Tanzania
  • Author: Madeline Roth, Ammar A. Malik
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: Cities are widely regarded as engines of economic growth. Their ability to attract and retain talent and financial capital drives productivity and the well-being of societies. But cities across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, two of the world’s most populous and rapidly urbanizing regions, are unable to provide basic services to most of their residents. Countries with greater levels of urbanization have traditionally enjoyed greater prosperity, but the rise of poor megacities in recent years has cast doubts on this relationship. By 2040, over half the world’s poor earning less than $1 per day are expected to live in cities. To realize their full economic potential, cities must offer quality public amenities, modern urban infrastructure, and widely accessible basic public services such as water and sanitation. What factors prevent cities from better serving residents? And what can city governments do improve the status quo?
  • Topic: Infrastructure, Urbanization, Economic Growth, Public Service
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia
  • Author: Alan Bryden, Aliou Diouf, Edem K. Comlan, Kadidia Sangaré Coulibaly, Aly Sagne, Emmylou Boddi
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: Private security in Africa is booming. Whether from the perspective of major multinational players or small-scale local enterprises, the market for commercial security has expanded and evolved over recent years. However, policy makers rarely address private security, national parliaments and regulatory bodies provide limited oversight in this area, and the attention of African media and civil society is localized and sporadic. In short, a fundamental shift in the African security landscape is taking place under the radar of democratic governance. "The Privatisation of Security in Africa: Challenges and Lessons from Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Senegal" provides expert accounts which portray the realities of the contemporary private security industry in Africa. The volume analyses key characteristics of security privatisation in Africa, offers new insights into the significance of this phenomenon from a security sector governance perspective and identifies specific entry points that should inform processes to promote good governance of the security sector in Africa.
  • Topic: Security, Privatization, Governance, Law Enforcement, Multinational Corporations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Senegal, Mali, Côte d'Ivoire
  • Author: Benjamin Edwards, Mohammad Hamze
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: The world’s urban population is projected to add 2.5 billion people by 2050, with nearly 90 percent of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa. The provision of safe, clean drinking water in urban settings is a high priority for international development, and justifiably so. Drinking water that is protected from contamination improves health, education, and economic growth, yet roughly 150 million urban dwellers do not have access, with numbers on the rise. Fortunately, the problem has not gone unrecognized. An expansive body of work explores the causes of water market failures and the policy interventions national governments can use to mitigate them. This body of work, however, has paid less heed to local governments’ role in implementing those policies, a critical link in the chain of service provision.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Water, Cities
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Luke Fuller
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: Africa is on the move. Cities across the continent are continuing to grow, shrink, and transform in response to the demographic and economic pressures that drive urban migration. By conservative estimates, every hour Dar es Salaam, Tanzania is growing by 47 people; Kinshasa, DR Congo by 53 people; and Lagos, Nigeria by 58. Today about 40 percent of Africans are city dwellers, and that number will rise to nearly 60 percent by 2050 as sub-Saharan cities swell with 800 million new residents. This tremendous shift in where people live represents a major opportunity to guide development, but it also raises important questions. In places where land is scarce and expensive, how do urban migrants find a foothold? What opportunities or anchors do people use to establish themselves in the city? How do they buy or rent land for their own use and welfare? And what does this mean for governments?
  • Topic: Demographics, Urban, Cities, Migrant Workers
  • Political Geography: Africa