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  • Author: Matthew Page
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Political, business, and cultural elites from around the world have a strong affinity for the United Kingdom (UK) education system. Nowhere is this truer than in West Africa, where some families in Nigeria and Ghana have a long tradition of sending their children to private boarding schools and universities in the UK. These institutions are especially popular destinations for the offspring of prominent politically exposed persons (PEPs) from the region. Immigration officials, admissions staff, and UK law enforcement are not likely to scrutinize the conditions under which the children of PEPs enroll in British schools, even though the PEPs themselves may have modest legitimate earnings and opaque asset profiles that in other circumstances would raise serious financial concerns. This relative lack of review has allowed some West African PEPs to channel unexplained wealth into the UK education sector. It is not easy to estimate the overall value of this flow, yet it likely exceeds £30 million annually.1 Most of these funds emanate from Nigeria and, to a lesser extent, Ghana; compared with these two countries, only a handful of students from elsewhere in West Africa seek an education in British schools. Tackling this small but significant illicit financial flow should be a priority for UK policymakers. In doing so, they would be helping to realize the UK’s global anticorruption objectives, advance its International Education Strategy, and close a troublesome anti–money laundering (AML) loophole. Failing to do so would exacerbate existing corruption challenges both at home and abroad and increase the UK education sector’s reputational liabilities.
  • Topic: Corruption, Education, Law Enforcement, Higher Education, Elites
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Kingdom, Europe, West Africa
  • Author: Zainab Usman, David Landry
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Many African countries have placed economic diversification high on the policy agenda, yet they first need to define what it means in their specific structural and socioeconomic contexts. For decades, economic diversification has been a policy priority for low- and middle-income economies. In the words of former managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, “We know that economic diversification is good for growth. Diversification is also tremendously important for resilience.” Unfortunately, this goal continues to elude many African countries. In fact, the continent is home to eight of the world’s fifteen least economically diversified countries. This reality weakens the foundation of their economic transfomation and slows their pace of progress. It also makes these countries particularly vulnerable to sudden external shocks, as the pandemic-induced disruption of tourism and oil-dependent economies has illustrated. Given the importance of diversifying African economies, it is critical to recognize how various dimensions of diversification can have different implications for the menu of policy options. Closely associated with the process of structural transformation from lower to higher productivity sectors, economic diversification has three evident dimensions. The first relates to the expansion of economic sectors that contribute to employment and production or gross domestic product (GDP) diversification, and the second is associated with international trade or exports diversification. This paper, however, focuses on a third dimension that the economics literature pays scant attention to: fiscal diversification. This fiscal element involves expanding government revenue sources and public expenditure targets and can therefore play a central role in helping to catalyze broader economic transformation through the expansion of activity in specific industries and sectors. It is also critical that policymakers effectively measure the extent to which this objective is being achieved. Both the expansion of existing economic sectors and the creation of new ones may diversify an economy. But these processes are vastly different in practice and will garner distinct outcomes. Of the main tools used by economists to measure diversification, the Theil Index differentiates between the respective contributions of new economic sectors and existing ones to overall diversification. Another tool widely used by development practitioners—the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) framework—has significant potential for evaluating fiscal diversification but would need to capture more information on government revenue collection and spending and link them to policy objectives.
  • Topic: Economics, Governance, Diversification, Trade
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Mehdi Lahlou
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic has turned into a global economic crisis with severe social effects in the least developed countries, particularly in Africa. Pre-existing challenges related to widespread poverty, demographic growth, food insecurity and governance issues have been exacerbated by the pandemic. While migration remains one of the key elements of the partnership agenda between Africa and the European Union, the aggravating socioeconomic situation in the African continent due to the impact of COVID-19 and its implications for migration dynamics requires going beyond business-as-usual approaches. The renewed scenario calls for a more comprehensive and development-oriented approach to migration, requiring new policy initiatives addressing the wider set of conditions that, beyond constituting developmental challenges in their own right, also drive migration in North Africa as well as in Sub-Saharan African countries.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, European Union, Mobility, Asylum, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, North Africa
  • Author: Tsio Tadesse Abebe, Ottilia Anna Maunganidze
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the current state and prospects of partnership between the East African countries and the European Union on migration and forced displacement. The pandemic has exacerbated the root causes of migration and forced displacement. This is manifested by the continuation of irregular arrivals in Europe including from East Africa, after a brief decline in the initial phase of the COVID-19 response. The strong economic impact of the pandemic on the region has also disrupted the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees that aspires to address forced displacement challenges through facilitating refugees’ self-reliance. These challenges require East African countries and the EU to work towards establishing a better migration governance system with a people-centred approach and with a view to addressing the root causes of migration. East African states should drive their migration and forced displacement policies in ways that benefit their citizens. This should include devising ways of engaging the EU in line with its proposed talent partnerships in its New Pact on Migration and Asylum. The EU should work towards easing the economic burden of countries in East Africa including through providing additional development support and debt cancellation.
  • Topic: Migration, Politics, European Union, Refugees, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Stephanie Savell
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: United States “security assistance” exports a militarized counterterrorism model to dozens of countries through money, training, and weapons. This model comes with dangerous costs. The narrative, tactics, funding, and institutional supports of the U.S. post-9/11 wars fuel repression and corruption, and escalate cycles of violence. This paper delves into the current conflict in Burkina Faso as an illustrative case study of how the U.S. counterterrorism model has caused more, not less, instability and violence. Despite the relatively low levels of terrorism assessed in Burkina Faso at the time, the United States laid the groundwork for increased militarism in the region when it began providing security assistance to the country in 2009. Today, Burkina Faso is enveloped in a spiraling conflict involving government forces, state-sponsored militias, and militant groups, and civilians are paying the price. Militant groups have strengthened and seized territory, ethnic tensions have skyrocketed, thousands of Burkinabe have been killed and over one million displaced. A Burkina-based human rights group has warned that the government’s ethnic killings may lead to the “next Rwanda.”
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Counter-terrorism, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States of America, Burkina Faso
  • Author: Sam Szoke-Burke, Samuel Nguiffo, Stella Tchoukep
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Despite a recent transparency law and participation in transparency initiatives, Cameroon’s investment environment remains plagued by poor transparency.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Environment, Law, Transparency, Land Reform
  • Political Geography: Africa, Cameroon
  • Author: Zied Boussen, Mohammed Islam Mbarki
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Tunisian youth are no different from their peers across the world when it comes to their indifference to public life. This apathy towards politics is not new; it goes back before 14 January Revolution. A 2008 national survey of youth showed that around 83% of Tunisian youth were not concerned with politics and 64% were not concerned with elections or joining civil society associations. Nonetheless, the Tunisian youth surprised observers and played an essential role in the revolution that led to the fall of Ben Ali. Immediately after, however, they returned to their position of indifference. The political tensions and episodes of instability that accompanied the democratic transition disappointed the youth greatly and led to apathy towards politics in all its forms. Successive elections were the most glaring example of this attitude: the youth abandoned the ballots and stopped taking initiatives of political work, either as candidates or as voters. The rise of Kais Saied as a presidential candidate seemed to have reignited the Tunisian youth’s interest in politics. They walked with him through all the stages of his elections. They led his most unusual campaign at the smallest cost; they confronted media attacks against him and provided him with alternative and new media platforms that improved his image. This support brought the youth and Kais Saied closer together. Saied also showed great understanding of the youth’s economic and social demands and gave them priority. He shared their anger at the political establishment, so they decided to stand by him to punish the establishment that they see as the source of their successive disappointments. The results of the presidential elections, in which one candidate won the bulk of the votes of the youth participating in the elections, generated many questions about the reasons for the youth’s support of Kais Saied, and the hopes that they hanged on him. What can we infer from this experience that can benefit the youth political participation generally? How does this experience help us understand the actual needs that push young people to participate in public life?
  • Topic: Political Activism, Elections, Youth, Participation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Stephen J. King
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: After independence, Algeria’s ruling elites chose to suppress identity issues because they saw diversity as a source of division and a threat to their hold on power. The Hirak has challenged the official narrative and called for an overhaul of the established regime, but issues of Black Algerians and anti-black racism still remain absent from public debates. This paper discusses the absence of Black Algerians in on-going debates about democratization, national identity, and belonging in Algeria, and suggests ways in which to address this exclusion.
  • Topic: Discrimination, Black Politics, Exclusion , Identity, Racism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Algeria
  • Author: Theo Rauch, Michael Brüntrup
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: There is a widely held consensus that it will not be possible to feed the world without the help of the smallholders of Africa, Latin America and Asia, who number up to 570 million farms or 2 billion people. Given the sheer size of this figure alone, the sustainable development of smallholder farming will be key to achieving a range of other sustainability goals.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, Latin America, Global South
  • Author: Francesco Burchi, Federico Roscioli
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Using a mixed-method approach we show the impacts of an integrated social protection programme on social cohesion in Malawi. We find no concrete effect of the lump-sum transfer; in contrast, the business training enhances social cohesion especially when accompanied by participation in saving groups.
  • Topic: Poverty, Finance, Business , Social Cohesion
  • Political Geography: Africa, Malawi
  • Author: Nadine Segadlo
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: This paper presents a comprehensive analysis of the evolution of Ghana’s National Migration Policy (NMP). A major finding is that the NMP does not primarily respond to a perceived problem related to migration in Ghana but it rather pursues the migration related interests of the European Union (EU).
  • Topic: Migration, European Union, Public Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • Author: Julia Leininger, Christoph Strupat, Yonas Adeto, Abebe Shimeles, Wilson Wasike
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Direct and indirect effects' of the Covid-19 pandemic on the prospects of structural transformation in Africa are at the core of this study. It is comprehensive and identifies patterns of country groups. Social cohesion matters for effective policy responses and longer-term sustainable development.
  • Topic: Sustainable Development Goals, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Frederik Stender, Tim Vogel
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Regional tariff commitments have successfully reduced intra-African applied tariffs but they also sharply reduced the tariff policy space within Africa. Has this come at the expense of the prevalence of non-tariff measures? What are the implications for the AfCFTA?
  • Topic: Tariffs, Trade, Non-Tariff Measures, Regional Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: D. Ngabirano, Onesmus Mugyenyi, J. Muhindo, P. Lamunu
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE)
  • Abstract: Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) are becoming a real challenge to resource mobilisation for financing development in Uganda and Africa at large. This fact sheet highlights the challenge of illicit financial flows, proposes mechanisms that can minimise the vice and makes a call for action to address the challenge.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Oil, Gas, Risk, Illegal Trade
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE)
  • Abstract: This policy memorandum analyses the extent to which climate change is integrated in the Uganda National Budget Framework Paper for Financial Year 2021/2022. This will inform policy and the final budgetary appropriations for climate change interventions in key National Development Plan III Programmes.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment, Budget
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Robert Bakiika, Christine Mbatuusa, Anthony Mugeere, Anna Amumpiire
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE)
  • Abstract: This report seeks to contribute to informing the mobilization of climate finance in light of the climate change impacts across all sectors. The report highlights the operating policy, legal and institutional framework on public climate finance, makes reference to country case studies on climate finance mobilization, proposes various options for climate finance mobilization based on stakeholders consulted and ranks the most efficient option.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Governance, Finance, Mobilization
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Matthew Page
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: For politically exposed persons (PEPs) with ill-gotten wealth, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an alluring destination for investing their gains. Although certainly not the only place to stash money, Dubai—dubbed the commercial capital of the Middle East—exercises minimal oversight and has few legal or logistical obstacles to transferring large amounts of cash or purchasing property. PEPs, defined as individuals who are or have been entrusted with a prominent public function, are at higher risk of involvement in unlawful activity due to their positions of influence and access to assets.1 In some cases, government officials and associates who succumb to the temptation become front-page news, but in many other cases, their activities go undetected or uncorroborated, despite the efforts of local authorities and intergovernmental bodies such as the Financial Action Task Force. As a result, billions of dollars are siphoned away to the detriment of both prosperous and struggling economies and societies. The case of Nigeria—home to Africa’s largest economy and the world’s seventh most populous country—offers valuable insights into this phenomenon.2 For Nigerian PEPs in particular, Dubai is an accessible oasis far away from the political drama in their capital, Abuja, or the hustle and bustle of their biggest city, Lagos. But a dearth of specific information about Nigerian PEPs’ property in Dubai has long precluded a deeper analysis of the share of illicit financial outflows from Nigeria; that is, until 2016, when the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (now known as C4ADS) acquired the data of a private database of Dubai real estate information (dubbed the “Sandcastles” data). At least 800 properties were found to have links to Nigerian PEPs or their family members, associates, and suspected proxies. With such information and continued monitoring, Nigerian and Emirati authorities and national and international actors could ramp up their scrutiny on high-end property transactions involving Nigerian elites to ensure that these purchases are not being made with pilfered public funds. The two countries could also deepen bilateral law enforcement cooperation by sharing information and assisting investigations more responsively and routinely. For their part, Western governments, the United Nations, and other international organizations could press the UAE to make its property and corporate records more transparent.
  • Topic: Corruption, Economy, Financial Crimes, Elites, Property
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria, Dubai, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Saskia Brechenmacher, Caroline Hubbard
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Political parties around the world face a crisis in public confidence. Many citizens view them as inaccessible and unresponsive to their concerns. Parties pose specific challenges for women, who face both formal and informal barriers to participation, including opaque nomination procedures, violence, and parties with hypermasculine cultures. The formation of new parties during periods of political transition represents a potential opportunity to break these patterns. Transitions can be openings to transform the broader political, legal, and social barriers to an inclusive kind of politics. In these moments of flux, the development of new party branches and rules, as well as the renegotiation of broader institutional frameworks, can enable women and other marginalized groups to push for greater political representation within party structures. What factors influence the level of gender inclusion in processes of party development? This question is central for policymakers, advocates, and practitioners seeking to support inclusive democracy and gender equality in transitional societies and beyond. To shed light on this topic, this study investigates gender inclusion in three types of party formation that commonly unfold during political transitions: a social movement to a party (as exemplified by Ennahda in Tunisia); an armed movement to a party (as illustrated by the African National Congress [ANC] in South Africa); and a dominant party to a breakaway party (as shown by the Mouvement du Peuple pour le Progrès [MPP] in Burkina Faso).
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Women, Inequality, Political Parties
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa, North Africa, Tunisia, Burkina Faso
  • Author: Julia Grauvogel, Hana Attia
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Research on sanctions has hitherto focused on their implementation and effectiveness, whereas the termination of such measures has received only little attention. The traditional model, which looks at sanctions and their removal in terms of rational, interstate bargaining, focuses on how cost–benefit calculations affect the duration and termination of such measures. Yet, this research insufficiently captures the back and forth between easing sanctions, stagnation, and renewed intensification. It also fails to account for the multifaceted social relations between senders, targets, and third actors that shape these termination processes, as well as for the signalling dimension of ending sanctions – not least because existing datasets tend to operationalise sanctions as a single event. To help fill these gaps, the paper proposes a process-oriented and relational understanding that also recognises how sanctions termination conveys the message of ending the visible disapproval of the target, which may be heavily contested. Case studies on Zimbabwe and Iran illustrate how such an approach sheds light on the different logics of action that shape processes of sanctions termination, and thereby contributes to a more holistic understanding of sanctions in general.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Africa, Iran, Middle East, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Jeremy Bowles, Horacio Larreguy, Shelley Liu
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: We examine how information from trusted social media sources can shape knowledge and behavior when misinformation and mistrust are widespread. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in Zimbabwe, we partnered with a trusted civil society organization to randomize the timing of the dissemination of messages aimed at targeting misinformation about the COVID-19 virus to 27,000 newsletter WhatsApp subscribers. We examine how exposure to these messages affects individual beliefs about how to deal with the COVID-19 virus and preventative behavior. The results show that social media messaging from trusted sources may have substantively large effects on not only individual knowledge but also ultimately on related behavior.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Internet, Social Media, Pandemic, COVID-19, Misinformation , WhatsApp
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Roderick Parkes, Mark McQuay
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: When the October 2020 summit between the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) was postponed, leaders blamed the pandemic. Yet, there was a sense that the issue went deeper. Both sides still resent the other’s handling of what Europeans refer to as the “migration crisis” of 2015. AU officials complain about the EU’s divide-and-rule approach to managing migration, while their European counterparts allege that AU officials encouraged African states to leverage migration flows to extort cash. Yet migration remains an area where the EU and AU policy agendas are in fact broadly aligned, on paper and in political rhetoric at least. The AU has adopted a free movement protocol and is looking at mobility to strengthen the continental labour market and promote intra-African capital flows. The EU has lent its support to the project, keen to build bridges with Africa on a traditionally divisive issue.
  • Topic: European Union, Mobility, African Union, Freedom of Movement
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Toni Alaranta
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Turkey’s increasing activity in Africa is part of its new foreign policy doctrine within which Turkey is conceptualized as a global ‘order-producing’ country. The export-oriented companies supporting the AKP constantly seek new markets, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wants to export his brand of Islamic-conservative ideology to other Muslim-majority countries. Turkish government officials and NGOs emphasize the historical connections between the Ottoman state and the African target countries. Turkey currently plays a key role in the internal affairs of Libya and Somalia, upholding military bases and training programmes. Turkey’s emphasis on humanitarian aid and equality, and the use of government-affiliated NGOs, have produced positive results, but the tendency to see Africa as a terrain for hegemonic power struggles against Egypt and Saudi Arabia is likely to generate negative reactions.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Humanitarian Aid, NGOs
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Turkey, Asia
  • Author: Charles Elkins
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: On January 20-21, 2020, the EastWest Institute (EWI) held its first meeting in Berlin as part of its new Algeria-Morocco Business Dialogue, an initiative aiming to address the impediments to greater cross-border trade. By convening sector-specific meetings between local business people from both countries, the project aims to produce a concrete set of feasible recommendations to encourage greater bilateral trade. The inaugural January meeting brought together small to medium-sized business leaders from the agricultural sector to consider boosting greater trade on a micro level, as well as discuss the shortcomings and challenges of each countries’ agricultural and trade policy.
  • Topic: Agriculture, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Trade
  • Political Geography: Africa, Algeria, Morocco
  • Author: Tijan L. Bah, Catia Batista
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Irregular migration to Europe by sea, though risky, remains one of the most popular migration options for many sub-Saharan Africans. This study examines the determinants of irregular migration from West Africa to Europe. We implemented an incentivized lab-in-thefield experiment in rural Gambia, the country with the region’s highest rate of irregular migration to Europe. Male youths aged 15 to 25 were given hypothetical scenarios regarding the probability of dying en route to Europe and of gaining legal residence status after successful arrival. According to the data we collected, potential migrants overestimate both the risk of dying en route to Europe and the probability of obtaining legal residency status. In this context, our experimental results show that providing potential migrants with official numbers on the probability of getting a legal residence permit decreases their likelihood of migration by 2.88 percentage points (pp), while information on the death risk of migrating increases their likelihood of migration by 2.29 pp—although the official numbers should be regarded as a lower bound to actual mortality. Follow-up data collected one year after the experiment show that the migration decisions reported in the lab experiment correlate well with actual migration decisions and intentions. Overall, our study indicates that the migration decisions of potential migrants are likely to respond to relevant information.
  • Topic: Development, Globalization, Migration, Internet, Economic Growth, Borders, Violence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Gambia
  • Author: Atif Choudhury, Yawei Liu, Ian Pilcher
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: In May 2020, the Carter Center’s China Program partnered with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) and the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) to organize a virtual workshop on Africa-U.S.-China cooperation on COVID-19 response. The workshop brought together a range of experts from the U.S, China, Ethiopia, Burundi, Kenya, and South Africa to discuss the public health impact and wider policy implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the African continent. Emory University’s Global Health Institute and The Hunger Project also helped identify speakers and moderate panels.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, United States, China, Asia, South Africa, North America, Ethiopia, Burundi
  • Author: Sara Ghebremusse
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Despite Africa's wealth of natural resources, millions of its people live in extreme poverty. Effective mining governance can help Africa address this imbalance by achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1 (to end poverty) and SDG 8 (to create sustainable economic growth and decent work for all). Reforms aimed at generating more revenue for national governments to address poverty and building new partnerships between public and private sectors to promote economic growth and boost employment can help achieve these goals.
  • Topic: Poverty, United Nations, Natural Resources, Employment, Sustainable Development Goals, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Adedeji Adeniran, Idris Ademuyiwa
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The growth of digitalization and digital technology adoption in Africa holds the key to strengthening and diversifying economies across the continent. Although these developments offer potentially life-changing benefits for consumers, businesses and governments, the inherent flaws in the digital market mean these benefits are not guaranteed. As most gains from the digital economy are largely concentrated in the United States and China, the digital divide may widen the gap between the Global North and the Global South.
  • Topic: Economics, Governance, Digital Economy, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Africa, Global South
  • Author: Timothy A. Wise
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University
  • Abstract: The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) was founded in 2006 with the goal of bringing high-yield agricultural practices to 30 million smallholder farming households. With the adoption of commercial seeds and inorganic fertilizer, AGRA set out to double crop productivity and incomes while halving food insecurity by 2020. As AGRA reaches its self-declared deadline for these ambitious goals, how well has AGRA done in increasing productivity, incomes, and food security? The organization has received roughly $1 billion in funding, two-thirds of it from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and disbursed more than $500 million in grants, mainly in 13 priority African countries. The Green Revolution technology campaign has been supported during this time by international programs far larger than AGRA and notably by national governments in Africa, which have spent roughly $1 billion per year on programs that subsidize the purchase of commercial seeds and fertilizers. There is little publicly available documentation of impacts, from AGRA, the Gates Foundation, or donor governments that have supported the initiative. This paper attempts to fill some of that accountability gap. Because AGRA declined to provide data from its own monitoring and evaluation, we use national-level data to assess progress in productivity, poverty reduction, and food security in AGRA’s 13 countries. We find little evidence of widespread progress on any of AGRA’s goals, which is striking given the high levels of government subsidies for technology adoption. There is no evidence AGRA is reaching a significant number of smallholder farmers. Productivity has increased just 29% over 12 years for maize, the most subsidized and supported crop. This falls well short of doubling yields, which would be a 100% increase. Overall staple crop yields have grown only 18% over 12 years. Meanwhile, undernourishment (as measured by the FAO) has increased 30% in AGRA countries. These poor indicators of performance suggest that AGRA and its funders should change course. We review more promising approaches African governments and donors should consider.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Neoliberalism, Green Technology, Private Sector, Charity
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Jason Mosley
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: The intersection of two significant trends are affecting the regional dynamics of the Horn of Africa: the political transition underway in Ethiopia since 2018 and evolving Red Sea and Gulf security dynamics. Ethiopia’s transition has affected its relations in the Horn of Africa and the broader Red Sea region. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have taken a much more assertive approach to regional security since 2015, contributing to a major diplomatic rift with Qatar since 2017. Elucidating how states in the Horn of Africa are affected by and responding to external influences largely hinges on understanding the Ethiopian transition. The implications for the future of regional integration in the Horn of Africa must also be considered.
  • Topic: Security, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia, Indian Ocean, Horn of Africa
  • Author: Fatima el-Issawi, Nicholas Benequista
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: Experts from 13 countries in the Middle East and North Africa agreed on the priorities that could provide the basis for greater collective action to defend independent media in the region. This report provides a summary of those deliberations. Prominent journalists and publishers, digital news entrepreneurs, civil society leaders, and scholars described a crisis in the media sector with complex driving forces at the global, regional, and national levels. To confront this crisis, they concluded, would require stronger bonds among all the defenders of free expression and independent media across the region. The experts identified ways that they could increase collaboration, especially in countries that allow media and civil society to operate with some degree of freedom. They also stressed the importance of solidarity to protect journalists in countries where authoritarian regimes are active in the suppression of independent journalism through intimidation, harassment, and violence.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Media, Journalism, Repression, The Press, Freedom of Press
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Perrine Toledano, Sophie Thomashusen
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: With the support of Oxfam, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment reviewed select provisions in the Mines and Minerals Act 2009 and corresponding policy statements from the Minerals Policy 2018 to provide recommendations for how to best align the anticipated new mining law with international best practice. The 2009 law was reviewed with a focus on the following topics: • Fiscal regime; • Climate change; • Access to and use of land; • Community consultations and participation; • Human rights; and • Community development agreements.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Human Rights, Natural Resources, Mining, Land, Sustainability, Community
  • Political Geography: Africa, West Africa, Sierra Leone
  • Author: Perrine Toledano
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) persistent governance challenges have both hampered Nigeria’s oil sector development and deprived the country of public resources. The oil, climate, and COVID-19 crises and the ramp-up of the low-carbon transition exacerbate this reality, with the national oil company (NOC) delivering sub-optimal returns to its stakeholders. Other NOCs have taken meaningful steps to become players in the low-carbon energy transition domestically or in­ternationally—for example, Sau­di Arabia’s Saudi Aramco, Norway’s Equinor, Brazil’s Petrobras, Malaysia’s Petronas, and Algeria’s Sonatrach. These NOCs can serve as sources of inspiration for NNPC. These five NOCs have also undergone reforms of various aspects of their corporate governance. Even if not always sufficient, these reforms position them to be players of the energy transition. The current crisis provides a unique opportunity and political momentum for the Nigerian government and legislature to reconsider NNPC’s role in the context of the energy transition and implement profound reform of the company. While it is an incredible policy and political challenge, other NOCs are showing the way, and policy guidance is already out there to guide countries and companies.
  • Topic: Oil, Natural Resources, Gas, Green Technology, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Militant Islamist groups in Africa set a record pace of activity in 2019, reflecting a doubling of militant Islamist activity from 2013. Expanded activity in the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin underscores diversification of threat from Somalia.
  • Topic: United Nations, Violent Extremism, ISIS, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Mozambique, Somalia, Sahel, Lake Chad Basin
  • Author: Tarek Megerisi
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Libya’s civil war has become an increasingly competitive geostrategic struggle. A UN-brokered settlement supported by non-aligned states is the most viable means for a stable de-escalation, enabling Libya to regain its sovereignty.
  • Topic: Civil War, Sovereignty, United States , Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Daniel Eizenga, Wendy Williams
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Composed of distinct operational entities, the militant Islamist group coalition Jama’at Nusrat al Islam wal Muslimeen serves the role of obscuring the operations of its component parts in the Sahel, thereby inhibiting a more robust response.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Non State Actors, Violent Extremism, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sahel, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Michael Asiedu
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: Almost all African countries rolled out significant measure in response to Covid-19. From border closures through to the use of personal protective equipment (PPEs) to restricted gatherings and contact tracing, a combination of diverse public health safety strategies was employed. These same strategies nonetheless would make preparations toward holding smooth and timely elections cumbersome. Ghana’s electoral commissioner announced an indefinite postponement of its voter registration exercise, it is still in consultation with stakeholders on carrying out the exercise with only six months to its presidential and parliamentary elections if the timeline stays the same. Niger also suspended its voter registration exercise; Ethiopia postponed its elections entirely. Other countries that have had some forms of election postponement include Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Kenya.
  • Topic: Elections, Democracy, Crisis Management, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana
  • Author: James Barnett
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: A civil war is erupting in Ethiopia—Africa’s second most populous state, a geopolitical fulcrum in the volatile Red Sea arena, and the seat of the African Union (AU). The question now is whether a ceasefire can quickly be brokered that would, in the best case, serve as the basis for a broader national dialogue aimed at stabilizing the country’s political transition; or whether the situation will devolve into a multisided conflict that draws in neighboring states and further destabilizes what is already one of the world’s most fragile regions. As of this writing, the latter unfortunately seems more likely, but there is still hope for a ceasefire, particularly if Ethiopia’s regional and international partners make a concerted push for de-escalation. One should not use the term “civil war” lightly, but this appears to be the course that Ethiopia is on. While in recent years the country has suffered from intercommunal clashes, assassinations, a coup attempt, and a low-level insurgency, this is the first time that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has faced a direct challenge from a well-armed state within the state. The stakes are high. With a population of over 100 million, the United States Institute of Peace’s senior study group on the Red Sea warns that Ethiopia’s disintegration would constitute “the largest state collapse in modern history.”
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil War, Geopolitics, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia, Horn of Africa
  • Author: Audu Bulama Bukarti
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Nigeria’s population of an estimated 200 million people is plagued by an alarming level of violence, which is driven by a toxic mix of brutal extremist groups, criminal gangs and a cropland crisis. These feed into one another, and each is little understood. A key player in the present carnage is Boko Haram, a notorious organization which claims to fight in defense of Islam. Over the last decade from 2009-2019, Boko Haram has waged a campaign of mass violence and wrought havoc in Africa’s Lake Chad region, which comprises northern Nigeria, southeastern Niger, far-northern Cameroon and western Chad. The Boko Haram movement has killed a conservative estimate of 18,000 people, displaced millions, and caused a large-scale humanitarian crisis. In 2014, it was recorded as the world’s deadliest terror group, killing 6,600 in that year alone. Boko Haram is particularly notorious for its violence against children. Indeed, the movement was first catapulted into the attention of western media in April 2014 by its kidnapping of 276 girls from their school dormitory in Chibok village, north-eastern Nigeria. It uses girls as sexual and domestic slaves and as human bombs, targeting civilian locations including markets, hospitals, IDP camps and places of worship. It has also conscripted thousands of boys into its army and forces them to kill in order to keep themselves alive. Boko Haram has established itself as a formidable force and, judging from security force fatalities of 750 in 2019 which is the highest since the violence began, it now appears to be stronger than ever.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Terrorism, Islamism, Boko Haram
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: James Barnett
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The Islamic State (IS) has not scored many propaganda victories in the year since Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed by U.S. forces in Idlib, which makes the recent seizure of a Mozambican port by IS-linked jihadists all the more significant. On August 12, 2020, militants seized Mocímboa da Praia in the gas-rich Cabo Delgado province from a demoralized Mozambican army running low on ammunition. This assault on a city of 30,000—the militants’ third and most successful this year 1—marked a notable evolution in an insurgency that began three years ago and was initially characterized by crude and sporadic attacks on villages in the northern province. IS media channels were quick to produce triumphalist statements about the operation, which it attributed to soldiers in its newest affiliate, the Central Africa Province (Wilayat Wasat Ifriqiya or ISCAP).
  • Topic: Non State Actors, Violent Extremism, History , Islamism
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, Mozambique, Central African Republic
  • Author: Michael Belafi
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: African debt relief has repeatedly appeared in news around the world over the past month. Recently, the debate has come to Canada and the Government has claimed they’re considering it. Here are two reasons why Canada should pursue African debt relief.
  • Topic: Debt, International Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Canada, North America
  • Author: Alexandra de Sousa
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: At this juncture, all findings and projections must be interpreted with caution since our understanding of COVID-19 is evolving, and today’s assumptions may not hold. Nearly six months have passed since this virus has garnered attention and there continue to be numerous key questions immunologists, virologists and epidemiologists have trouble answering. Among them is how COVID-19 will evolve in Africa. As of the time of writing, the number of cases that SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, officially inflicted in Africa is so low[1] that it has been labeled the silent epidemic. The optimists point to the continent’s natural advantages of youth and weather, and its public health experience and resourcefulness[2] as reasons for such low numbers, while the skeptics point to a lack of infrastructure, including testing capacity.
  • Topic: Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Clement Mutambo
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: Fragile states are nations whose institutions of governance are highly susceptible to corruption, deception, and bias. According to the Fund for Peace, the vast majority of Sub-Saharan Africa countries qualify as moderately to severely fragile states. Why? Because African institutions are weak and dysfunctional, and leaders manipulate their systems with impunity. If the fragility fiasco is to be changed, African people need to realize that neither their leaders nor international observations can fix the issue; only the people hold the power to determine their future. Despite the tumultuous conditions in many nations in the Sub-Saharan continent, there is hope. The recent Malawian election demonstrated that despite weak local institutions and inadequate support from the international community, change can be made if citizens unite and demand accountability for corruption and abuses of power. When Malawians realized the outcome of their late 2019 presidential election was rigged, they took matters into their own hands. Even though six international observers, including the United Nations Development Program, Southern African Development Community, European Union, and African Union, argued that the elections were free and fair, overwhelming evidence of ballot tampering suggested otherwise.
  • Topic: Governance, Elections, Fragile States, Courts
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Emily Gilfillan
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges for governments around the world. In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic. In addition to a worldwide health crisis, the pandemic has had far-reaching socioeconomic impacts that have been severest for the most vulnerable people and have exacerbated existing inequalities. This presents wealthy countries like Canada with a challenge: addressing the health crisis and economic fallout at home, while simultaneously supporting a global COVID-19 response and continuing to tackle existing development priorities. This report explores the implications of COVID-19 for Canada’s development assistance efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Given that 27 of the 28 poorest countries in the world are located in SSA and half of Canada’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget is expected to go to countries in Africa by 2021-22, it is a priority region. To date, Canada has maintained ODA spending levels, while also providing additional funds in support of global efforts to address COVID-19. Evidence suggests that pre-pandemic priorities in the region, such as gender equality, health, and food security, have not been derailed. Rather, the impact of the pandemic has reinforced the importance of core development objectives such as achieving the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In particular, Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP) is fit for purpose to address the gendered impact of the pandemic. It is clear that the pandemic does not affect men and women equally. While the right policy tools are in place, building back better will require Canadian resolve and leadership to stay the course and ensure the most vulnerable are not left behind.
  • Topic: Development, Gender Issues, Finance, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Canada, North America, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Asher Lubotzky
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In this issue of Ifriqiya, Asher Lubotzky discusses the context, opportunities, and risks involved in the pursuit of a normalization deal between Israel and Sudan. Following the 2019 revolution, the different parties in Sudan agreed to a road map for their transition to democracy, which requires that an elected government be formed by the end of 2022. It is clear, however, that the possibility of establishing official relations between Israel and Sudan is on the table and a serious consideration for both parties. This article purposes to make sense of these dramatic developments in Israel-Sudanese relations, place them in a broader context, and analyze the multifaceted interests of both parties.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Bernard Tembo, Rabecca Hatoongo-Masenke, Chama Bowa-Mundia
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR)
  • Abstract: Of the estimated 3.01 million households in Zambia, in 2015, only 35.8% and 16.1% utilised clean energy fuels for their lighting and cooking services respectively1 (CSO, 2016). Usage and access to clean energy is essential for economic growth, human development and more generally poverty reduction. This notwithstanding, access has remained low in many developing countries. For instance, 1.1 billion of the total global population do not have access to electricity, of which majority are found in Asia, Africa and Oceania (United Nations, 2016). Furthermore, the majority of this population is found in rural areas. Given the centrality of energy to people's everyday life, governments worldwide have devised di erent policies and mechanisms to enhance the use of clean energy. Limited access and use of clean energy is mainly thought of as an issue of a ordability (Barnes and Floor, 1996; Pachauri et al., 2004; Rosnes and Vennemo, 2012; Murtaza and Faridi, 2014; Ismail and Khembo, 2015; GRZ, 2017; Venkateswaran et al., 2018; Kyprianou et al., 2019; Oum, 2019; Yan et al., 2019). Hence, the subsidy policies being implemented in many countries. On the one hand, it has been observed that lack of access to clean energy is a sign of poverty; while on the other hand, access to clean energy helps in the alleviation of poverty (Pachauri et al., 2004; Nussbaumer et al., 2011; Okwanya and Abah, 2018). However, in some cases, access to clean energy is hampered by both the price of the energy (i.e. an a ordability issue) and by availability of infrastructure to deliver the required energy. Thus, in such situations, some governments have had to borrow to facilitate the development and expansion of energy infrastructure; on top of subsidising the use of clean energy. This notwithstanding, the lack of use of clean energy at household level is not well understood. For instance, it is thought that if a household is classi ed as income poor, then it will not be able to use electricity (Pachauri et al., 2004; Murtaza and Faridi, 2014). And in such cases, some governments opt to implement subsidy policies. While this approach has proved useful for some households, it is not an e ective approach of delivering clean energy to the people who need it the most. There is, therefore, great need to identify aspects that determine whether a household would have access to clean energy and let alone use it. This knowledge would be critical in designing policies that hope to increase utilisation of clean energy fuels. As such, this paper sought to understand energy poverty among households in Zambia. Energy poverty is a concept concerned with lack of access and use of modern energy fuels.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Poverty, Infrastructure, Electricity
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zambia
  • Author: Florence Banda-Muleya, Mbewe Kalikeka, Zambwe Shingwele, Philip Ngongo, Shebo Nalishebo
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR)
  • Abstract: Zambia’s current legal framework for public debt management is inadequate. The high level of external debt standing at US$11.2 billion and domestic debt at K80.2 billion due to fast pace of debt contraction; the resulting heightened risk of debt distress; and the weak implementation of the 2017-2019 Medium Term Debt Strategy (MTDS), raise questions on the adequacy of the laws that govern public debt management. Now more than ever, with Zambia quickly headed to its first bullet repayment on its Eurobond debt, the country needs to enhance its legal framework on Public Debt Management (PDM).
  • Topic: Debt, Government, Economy, Public Debt
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zambia
  • Author: Intissar Kherigi
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: An account of the Arab uprisings of the last decade would be incomplete without an understanding of regional inequalities. While each country’s protests were driven by a distinct combination of grievances, a common factor has been the marginalisation of “peripheries”. The Sidi Bouzid region of Tunisia from which the Arab Spring started is a region rich in agricultural resources yet poor in infrastructure and economic opportunities. Its connection rate to running water is half the national average. A similar story can be seen across the flashpoints of unrest in the Arab world, a story of widening urban-rural divides, uneven regional development and political and economic exclusion of entire regions. Can decentralisation address these grievances? Since the 1980s, decentralisation has been championed as a driver for both democratisation and development, promising to empower regions, granting them political representation and enabling them to create their own economic strategies. However, a key fear among many, from politicians and bureaucrats to ordinary citizens, is that decentralisation is a means for the central state to withdraw from its traditional functions and transfer responsibility for service provision to under-resourced and over-burdened local government. Yet, the demands for freedom, dignity and social justice voiced by the Arab uprisings require the central state to be more present in peripheries, not less. Can decentralisation help achieve greater local development in peripheral regions without allowing the central state to withdraw from its obligations to citizens? Is it even possible to envisage new forms of local development within the framework of highly centralised Arab states? How can Arab states reconfigure their relations with local communities in the context of severe political and economic crises? This article explores these questions in the Tunisian context, where a major decentralisation process is taking place in response to demands for inclusion and development. It argues that in order to produce new modes of local development in peripheries, central state institutions need to fundamentally reform the way they function.
  • Topic: Inequality, Arab Spring, Decentralization , Bureaucracy
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Tunisia, Tunis
  • Author: Alex Walsh
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The 2011 Egyptian protests started in earnest nine years ago on National Police Day on 25 January, a holiday that Hosni Mubarak had introduced to commemorate Egyptian police officers killed and wounded by British colonial forces in 1952. Protesters upended the original meaning of the holiday to turn it into a symbol of police brutality and corruption under Mubarak. In the drama of the 18 days that followed, Egypt’s internal security apparatus fought the protesters in the streets, delivering one shocking provocation after another, galvanizing the protest movement and ultimately contributing to the removal of Mubarak. Since 2011, the police and internal security forces of many countries in the Arab world have been at the centre of the conflicts and struggles that shape the region for better and for worse. Recent and ongoing encounters between protestors and police in the streets of Iraq, Lebanon, Algeria and Sudan are a stark reminder that the police are more than just a proxy target for a protestation of the state. They are also the object of much anger both as a grouping, and in terms of the concept of policing and social control they embody. The impact of this sustained contestation of police behaviour and doctrine in the region deserves reflection. Has the police and policing changed in the Arab world? And if so, in what ways? This paper maps out some of the main modes in which the police and policing have been contested since 2011, and provides a preliminary assessment of its impact. It argues that mass mobilised contestation has only been successful in the instance where institutional reform followed. It notes that hybridisation of policing – where informal security actors cooperate and challenge formal security actors – has spread in many countries but that the concept of state security – with its emphasis on the state over citizens – continues to prevail across the region. Indeed, almost a decade after that fateful 25 January 2011, many of the aspirations of citizens protesting the police are far from realised, even while there are some promising developments.
  • Topic: Protests, Repression, Police, Police State
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Egypt, Cairo
  • Author: Nadine Abdalla
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Various forms of local activism in Egypt are challenging the shortcomings in local governance and the lack of any developmental urban vision. This paper examines three examples from different neighbourhoods in Giza and Cairo. All three share the goal of resisting exclusionary policies while trying to overcome the absence of political means to register their frustrations given the absence of local councils since 2011.
  • Topic: Social Movement, Arab Spring, Urban, Local
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Egypt, Cairo, Giza
  • Author: Mohammed Masbah
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The Moroccan monarchy has used political parties, including the PJD, to legitimize the country’s authoritarian political process and structure, and to absorb social and political anger. This paper argues that putting the parties at the frontline without sufficient capacity to enact deep reforms weakens them as a shield against growing popular frustration. While this approach may work in the short term, it risks the country’s stability in the long term.
  • Topic: Social Movement, Authoritarianism, Political stability, Protests, Political Parties, Monarchy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Morocco