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  • 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: 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: Mirko Eppler, Stella Gaetani, Patrick Köllner, Jana Kuhnt, Charles Martin-Shields, Nyat Mebrahtu, Antonia Peters, Carlotta Preiß
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: There is a great deal of potential for digital tools to help refugees, but there are still major economic and infrastructure hurdles before all refugees are online. Evidence from three sites in Kenya provide evidence that can guide future digitalization efforts for working with refugees.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Communications, Infrastructure, Refugees, Displacement, Information Technology
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Antonio Sampaio
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The demographic trend of urbanisation, while not a cause of conflict, exacerbates local tensions and weak governance. It also creates an urgent need to understand the policy challenges that exist in cities such as Mogadishu, Nairobi, Kabul and Karachi. The rate of growth of the urban population in the four countries covered by this study was above the global average for the 2015–20 period – and more than double the average in the cases of Kenya and Somalia. With the exception of Pakistan, these countries also registered higher urban population growth in 2018 than the average for fragile and conflict-affected countries, which was 3.2%. Typically built without formal land rights, lacking basic public services, and featuring low-quality housing in overcrowded conditions, slums are perhaps the most visible characteristic of cities undergoing rapid and unmanaged urbanisation. But they are not the only one. Cities located in or near areas where armed conflict is taking place also tend to be split by several dividing lines – between slums and the rest of the city, between ethnic groups, between licit and illicit (often criminal) economies, and between violent and safe areas. Whereas many of these divisions may be part of broader national problems, their geographical concentration in the limited confines of a city creates distinctly urban drivers of violence, and therefore requires tailored policies in response. These divisions, exacerbated by the rapid urbanisation process, have contributed to a decline in state authority – governmental capacity to enforce rules, monopoly over the use of force, taxation and other state prerogatives – at the municipal level. In cities, therefore, security and governance go hand in hand. The existence of organised armed groups able to replace key state functions makes the challenges in cities affected by armed conflict particularly urgent. This report sheds light on the ways in which cities contribute to the weakening of state authority, and aims to provide a basis for the formulation of better, more tailored policies.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Demographics, Urban, Housing, Public Service
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Africa, Middle East, Somalia, Nairobi, Karachi, Kabul, Mogadishu
  • Author: Agatha Ndonga, Kelli Muddell
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)
  • Abstract: In its primary findings, Kenya's Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission noted that women and girls have been subject to systematic, state-sanctioned discrimination in all spheres of their lives, and that the state has failed to take measures to end the practices that restrict women’s political involvement. This paper highlights the need to overcome the political challenges Kenyan women face: their exclusion from political life, the continued violence against them during electoral contests, and their inability to rise to leadership positions in the country.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Gender Issues, Elections, Gender Based Violence , Inclusion
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Andreas Backhaus
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: This paper assesses the potential for skilled labor migration from sub-Saharan Africa to Europe. It utilizes representative surveys from Ghana and Kenya to shed light on the quality and distribution of skills in the labor markets of these countries. Skills in both countries are found to be unevenly distributed, with significant parts of the labor force being essentially unskilled. Similarly designed surveys from France, Germany, and the UK further allow comparing skills and formal education between the African and the European countries. On average, the labor force in the sub-Saharan African countries is less skilled and less educated than the European labor force. Importantly, even at the same levels of formal education, workers in Ghana and Kenya are substantially less skilled than workers in Europe. The paper further considers a number of hypothetical scenarios for skilled labor migration from the African to the European countries. It is demonstrated that the European countries would have to recruit workers from the very top end of the African skill distribution to match European demands for skills. In turn, the average worker from the African labor markets would fit only into the low end of the European skill distribution where employment rates are low. Hence, more regular and skilled labor migration from African countries will unlikely be a remedy for skill shortages in Europe unless migrants are positively selected on their skills. In that case, however, additional opportunities for skilled labor migration would risk a brain drain from African countries that could harm economic development there. Improving the quality of education in sub-Saharan Africa on a broad scale remains indispensable for mutually beneficial migration between Africa and Europe.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Migration, Labor Issues, Migrant Workers, Skilled Labor
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Europe, Ghana, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Heather A. Knauer, Pamela Jakiela, Owen Ozier, Frances Aboud, Lia C.H. Fernald
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Worldwide, 250 million children under five (43 percent) are not meeting their developmental potential because they lack adequate nutrition and cognitive stimulation in early childhood. Several parent support programs have shown significant benefits for children’s development, but the programs are often expensive and resource intensive. The objective of this study was to test several variants of a potentially scalable, cost-effective intervention to increase cognitive stimulation by parents and improve emergent literacy skills in children. The intervention was a modified dialogic reading training program that used culturally and linguistically appropriate books adapted for a low-literacy population. We used a cluster randomized controlled trial with four intervention arms and one control arm in a sample of caregivers (n = 357) and their 24- to 83-month-old children (n = 510) in rural Kenya. The first treatment group received storybooks, while the other treatment arms received storybooks paired with varying quantities of modified dialogic reading training for parents. Main effects of each arm of the trial were examined, and tests of heterogeneity were conducted to examine differential effects among children of illiterate vs. literate caregivers. Parent training paired with the provision of culturally appropriate children’s books increased reading frequency and improved the quality of caregiver-child reading interactions among preschool-aged children. Treatments involving training improved storybook-specific expressive vocabulary. The children of illiterate caregivers benefited at least as much as the children of literate caregivers. For some outcomes, effects were comparable; for other outcomes, there were differentially larger effects for children of illiterate caregivers.
  • Topic: Children, Language, Rural, Parenting , Reading
  • Political Geography: Kenya
  • Author: Maryam Akmal, Lant Pritchett
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for education include the goal that “all youth...achieve literacy and numeracy” (Target 4.6). Achieving some absolute standard of learning for all children is a key element of global equity in education. Using the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) data from India and Pakistan, and Uwezo data from Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda that test all children of given ages, whether in school or not, on simple measures of learning in math, reading (local language), and English, we quantify the role of achieving equality between the richest 20% and the poorest 40% in terms of grade attainment and learning achievement toward accomplishing the global equity goal of universal numeracy and literacy for all children. First, excluding Kenya, equalizing grade attainment between children from rich and poor households would only close between 8% (India) and 25% (Pakistan) of the gap to universal numeracy, and between 8% (Uganda) and 28% (Pakistan) of the gap to universal literacy. Second, children from the poorest 40% of households tend to have lower performance in literacy and numeracy at each grade. If such children had the learning profiles of children from rich households, we would close between 16% (Pakistan and Uganda) and 34% (India) of the gap to universal numeracy, and between 13% (Uganda) and 44% (India) of the gap to universal literacy. This shows that the “hidden exclusion” (WDR, 2018) of lower learning at the same grade levels—a gap that emerges in the earliest grades—is a substantial and often larger part of the equity gap compared to the more widely documented gaps in enrollment and grade attainment. Third, even with complete equality in grade attainment and learning achievement, children from poor households would be far from the equity goal of universal numeracy and literacy, as even children from the richest 20% of households are far from universal mastery of basic reading and math by ages 12-13. Achieving universal literacy and numeracy to accomplish even a minimal standard of global absolute equity will require more than just closing the rich-poor learning gap, it will take progress in learning for all.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Sustainable Development Goals, Language
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Kenya, Africa, Middle East, India, Asia, Tanzania
  • Author: Kizito Sabala
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: This briefing note examines the implications of the maritime border dispute between Kenya and Somalia following claims that Somalia has auctioned the oil and gas fields in the disputed territory, which are currently the subject of an International Court of Justice (ICJ) case at The Hague.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Territorial Disputes, Maritime, Conflict, Borders
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Somalia
  • Author: Christopher Gitari
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)
  • Abstract: This paper explores political exclusion in Kenya and its consequences on the social fabric of the nation. It draws from past governmental reports and analysis to formulate new recommendations that can inform current discourse. It first provides an overview of ethnicity in Kenya. It then describes experiences of exclusion by minority groups, as well as state responses to exclusion. Finally, it looks at efforts to reform the security sector. It closes by offering some general guiding principles and recommendations.
  • Topic: Security, Transitional Justice, Participation, Exclusion
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Agatha Ndonga, Ruben Carranza
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)
  • Abstract: In its report, the Kenya Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission concluded that “corruption is endemic in Kenya” and that “there is a direct link between corruption and gross violation of human rights.” This paper considers the extent of impunity for corruption in Kenya, how corruption fuels and facilitates political violence and land injustices, and how Kenya can learn from other countries’ experiences to go beyond building bridges among the elite and meaningfully protect the rights of its citizens.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Corruption, Transitional Justice, Reconciliation , Truth
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Agatha Ndonga
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)
  • Abstract: Between April 15 and May 3, 2019, ICTJ held a number of consultations with Kenyan youth from several informal settlements in Nairobi and Mombasa to reflect on their understanding of security sector reforms and their connection to the ongoing national dialogue process, particularly as it relates to inclusion. This briefing paper presents the key issues of concern raised by these young people and based on them offers recommendations for reforming the policing culture in Kenya.
  • Topic: Security, National Security, Youth Culture, Culture, Reform, Youth
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Roseanne Nijru
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: This briefing note is based on exploratory research in two informal settlements in Nairobi: Mathare and Kibera. It makes recommendations for engaging health workers in peacebuilding processes in urban informal settlements in Kenya. The recommendations are based on study conclusions showing that health care sys- tems, especially community-centered primary health care services and workers, have great potential to promote peace and security in Kenya. Violent conflicts constitute a public health challenge because of their adverse effects on health, social, and economic systems, which lead to declines in population well-being. Thus, peace and health are mutually reinforcing, and development cannot take place without good health. Despite this health-peace nexus, Kenya’s National Policy for Peacebuilding and Conflict Management (2015) and National Cohesion 1 and Integration Commission (NCIC, 2008) , both formulated in a volatile political climate, have not recognized the contribution of the health system to peace- building. In 1998, the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted “Health as a Bridge for Peace (HBP)” as a policy framework on the premise that the role of health care providers in promoting peace is significant for the attainment of “Health for All.”2 This study suggests that health care systems in Kenya can be part of the multifaceted peacebuilding effort in urban informal settlements that experience a range of violence—political, ethnic, extremist, resource-related, gender-based—and vicious cycles of retaliatory attacks.
  • Topic: Health, Peacekeeping, Urban, Community
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Vicky Karimi
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: The research presented in the 2015 United Nations Global Study on the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 comprehensively demonstrates the key role played at all levels by women in the operational effectiveness, success, and sustainability of peace processes and peacebuilding efforts. It recommends that mediators, facilitators, and leaders in peace operations be proactive in including women in all aspects of peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding. More importantly, the study found a need for the normative framework to be localized and for greater attention to be given to mapping what local communities and women actually need.1 Since 2000, the United Nations has passed several resolutions that constitute the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda. These are particularly significant because they were adopted by the UN Security Council. UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 prioritizes the inclusion and participation of women in all stages of decision-making in peace processes.2 Subsequent resolutions UNSCR 1820 (2008), UNSCR 1888 (2009), UNSCR 1889 (2009), UNSCR 1960 (2010), UNSCR 2106 (2013), UNSCR 2122 (2013), and UNSCR 2242 (2015) focus on various aspects of the WPS agenda, such as sexual and gender-based violence, peacekeeping, rule of law, impunity, and the role of women in countering violent extremism.3 Together, these resolutions provide a robust normative framework for the substantive participation of women in the discourse on peace and security.
  • Topic: Security, Women, Peace
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Rushdi Nackerdien
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Foundation for Electoral Systems
  • Abstract: As part of its annual report, the Wilson Center Africa Program asked IFES Regional Director for Africa Rushdi Nackerdien to contribute an essay on recent African elections. His piece, “The Elections We Want,” covered 2017 elections in Angola, Rwanda, Liberia, Senegal, the Gambia, and Kenya, and their implications for election practitioners moving forward.
  • Topic: Elections, Election watch, Voting
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Liberia, Senegal, Rwanda, Angola, Gambia
  • Author: Katherine Ellena, Chad Vickery, Lisa Reppell
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Foundation for Electoral Systems
  • Abstract: Mechanisms for election dispute resolution (EDR) must increasingly withstand new forms of sophisticated political and electoral manipulation, most recently illustrated by the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower claims, but previously highlighted by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) as a growing concern around the globe. Hence, the right to receive an effective remedy in the elections context, through the efficient and transparent administration of justice, has become even more fundamental. This involves both the protection of procedural justice (for individuals involved in an election dispute or accused of a violation) and the advancement of open justice (for the public at large, which has a stake in the legitimacy of the election process and outcome). This new IFES research paper, Elections on Trial: The Effective Management of Election Disputes and Violations, outlines the fundamental principles for procedural justice and open justice in election cases. Significant attention is often paid to the independence and impartiality of judges or arbiters making decisions on election cases, while the mechanisms through which these cases are managed and publicized are often overlooked. To address this knowledge gap, IFES conducted preliminary comparative desk research on the case management of election dispute resolution in six countries: Mexico, Tunisia, Kenya, Macedonia, Kosovo, and the Philippines, to better understand how case management processes and platforms can help translate established procedure into actual practice. This research was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development under the Global Elections and Political Transitions Program. Institutions dealing with election disputes and violations face enormous challenges as election litigation increases, and as political actors find new ways to undermine the process or to simply ignore laws and rules in place. It can be an extremely difficult task to balance all the different components of procedural justice and open justice in a way that ultimately ensures a just and transparent process for all litigants. The paper presents comparative information illustrating these principles in practice, discusses case management tools and techniques, and provides recommendations for election management and EDR bodies seeking to strengthen the processes and platforms through which elections disputes and violations are resolved.
  • Topic: Law, Elections, Election Interference , Election Dispute
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Philippines, Mexico, Tunisia
  • Author: Virginie Ladisch
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)
  • Abstract: Although youth are key political and social stakeholders who have much to contribute to—and gain from—transitional justice processes, they often remain marginalized from such processes or are given only a limited and predetermined space in which to engage. In recent years, the peacebuilding field, in reflecting on what it means to meaningfully engage youth, has advanced a more nuanced framework that focuses on youth as agents of change.
  • Topic: Youth, Youth Movement , Participation, Marginalization
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Kenya, Africa, Tunisia, Côte d'Ivoire
  • Author: Justin Sandefur, Tessa Bold, Nicholas Barton
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Public employees in many developing economies earn much higher wages than similar private-sector workers. These wage premia may reflect an efficient return to effort or unobserved skills, or an inefficient rent causing labor misallocation. To distinguish these explanations, we exploit the Kenyan government’s algorithm for hiring eighteen-thousand new teachers in 2010 in a regression discontinuity design. Fuzzy regression discontinuity estimates yield a civil-service wage premium of over 100 percent (not attributable to observed or unobserved skills), but no effect on motivation, suggesting rent-sharing as the most plausible explanation for the wage premium.
  • Topic: Employment, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Kenya
  • Author: Allen Hicken, Walter Mebane
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: There is an acute need for methods of detecting and investigating fraud in elections, because the consequences of electoral fraud are grave for democratic stability and quality. When the electoral process is compromised by fraud, intimidation, or even violence, elections can become corrosive and destabilizing—sapping support for democratic institutions; inflaming suspicion; and stimulating demand for extra-constitutional means of pursuing political agendas, including violence. Accurate information about irregularities can help separate false accusations from evidence of electoral malfeasance. Accurate information about the scope of irregularities can also provide a better gauge of election quality. Finally, accurate information about the geographic location of malfeasance—the locations where irregularities occurred and how they cluster—can allow election monitors and pro-democracy organizations to focus attention and resources more efficiently and to substantiate their assessments of electoral quality. Election forensics is an emerging field in which scholars use a diverse set of statistical tools—including techniques similar to those developed to detect financial fraud—to analyze numerical electoral data and detect where patterns deviate from those that should occur naturally, following demonstrated mathematical principles. Numbers that humans have manipulated present patterns that are unlikely to occur if produced by a natural process—such as free and fair elections or normal commercial transactions. These deviations suggest either that the numbers were intentionally altered or that other factors—such as a range of normal strategic voting practices—influenced the electoral results. The greater the number of statistical tests that identify patterns that deviate from what is expected to naturally occur, the more likely that the deviation results from fraud rather than legal strategic voting. Through a Research and Innovation Grant funded by USAID’s Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance under the Democracy Fellows and Grants Program, a research team from the University of Michigan, led by Professors Walter Mebane and Allen Hicken, built an innovative online tool, the Election Forensics Toolkit, that allows researchers and practitioners to conduct complex statistical analysis on detailed, localized data produced through the electoral process. The Election Forensics Toolkit presents results in a variety of ways—including detailed country maps showing “hot spots” of potential fraud—that allow practitioners not only to see where electoral fraud may have occurred but also the probability that the disturbances in the election data that the statistical analyses detect are attributable to fraud, rather than to other cultural or political influences, such as gerrymandering or geographic distribution of voting constituencies, among others. The team also produced two publications under the DFG grant: a Guide to Election Forensics and a more detailed Elections Forensics Toolkit DRG Center Working Paper. The Guide provides a more general introduction to election forensics as a field, and the DRG Center Working Paper focuses on presenting in detail the results of applying election forensics to specific elections in Afghanistan, Albania, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Kenya, Libya, South Africa, and Uganda
  • Topic: Corruption, Politics, Elections, Democracy, Election watch, USAID
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Kenya, Libya, South Africa, Cambodia, Albania, Global Focus
  • Author: Thijs Van Laer
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Peace Operations Review
  • Abstract: “Their priority is not the people of Somalia,” a Somali woman who had recently fled to the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya said about peacekeepers in her home country. “It is the government and themselves.” Unfortunately, this view is not unique. Civilians in countries with peace operations often experience a wide gap between them and those missions. Yet, at a time when peacekeeping is at a crossroads—again—and under increasing financial pressure, it is more important than ever to solicit and acknowledge the views of the citizens who are affected by peace operations. Their suggestions on how to bolster results should be taken into account in the ongoing debates about successes, failures, and costs of peace operations. However, despite an acceptance in the ever-quoted HIPPO report that “engaging with host countries and local communities must increasingly be regarded as core to mission success” and despite the acceptance of protection of civilians as a core norm for UN peacekeeping, realities on the ground demonstrate that too little has been done to access or include these voices. Between October 2015 and April 2017, International Refugees Rights Initiative (IRRI) conducted close to 200 interviews with civilians in South Sudan, Sudan (Darfur) and Somalia about how they perceive the peace operations in their countries. The three missions in those countries, all of which are mandated by the UN Security Council, embody the range of different options available to implement the strategic partnership between the African Union and the UN, from a fully-fledged UN mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), to a joint AU-UN mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and an AU-operated mission in Somalia (AMISOM). While all three operate in significantly different contexts, they all have “little peace to keep” and have been often criticized for their limitations in implementing their mandate, especially when it comes to the protection of civilians. All three missions have also been reviewed this year. UNAMID has been restructured and its troop numbers have been seriously reduced; the UN and AU have just concluded a joint review of AMISOM and strengthened the focus in its mandate on withdrawal and handover to Somali security forces. UNMISS faces some minor budget cuts and a review, even as reinforcement by a Regional Protection Force is slowly being implemented. While much of what was talked about by the Somalis, South Sudanese, and Darfuris interviewed during the course of the research was specific to their context, a number of similarities and trends emerge from their responses, despite the strategic, operational, and contextual differences between the three missions. These trends are important, not only for any new rounds of high-level policy debates, but also for addressing the strategic challenges for protection of civilians and the rock-bottom popularity of peacekeepers among the civilians they are supposed to protect.
  • Topic: Human Rights, United Nations, Refugees, Peace, Civilians
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Sudan, Darfur, Somalia, South Sudan
  • Author: John M. Irvine, Richard J. Wood, Payden McBee
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Afrobarometer
  • Abstract: Applying new analytic methods to imagery data offers the potential to dramatically expand the information available for human geography. Satellite imagery can yield detailed local information about physical infrastructure, which we exploit for analysis of local socioeconomic conditions. Combining automated processing of satellite imagery with advanced modeling techniques provides a method for inferring measures of well-being, governance, and related sociocultural attributes from satellite imagery. This research represents a new approach to human geography by explicitly analyzing the relationship between observable physical attributes and societal characteristics and institutions of the region. Through analysis of commercial satellite imagery and Afrobarometer survey data, we have developed and demonstrated models for selected countries in sub-Saharan Africa (Botswana, Kenya, Zimbabwe). The findings show the potential for predicting people’s attitudes about the economy, security, leadership, social involvement, and related questions, based only on imagery-derived information. The approach pursued here builds on earlier work in Afghanistan. Models for predicting economic attributes (presence of key infrastructure, attitudes about the economy, perceptions of crime, and outlook toward the future) all exhibit statistically significant performance. Although these results are encouraging, several avenues for advancement and improvement are proposed. Initial analysis of new methods for image processing and feature extraction have identified several avenues for promising enhancements.
  • Topic: Sociology, Geography
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana
  • Author: Meg Murphy
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: During the turmoil in Uganda after the fall of repressive leader Idi Amin Dada, political scientist Robert Bates was in the field. At the time, he was widely known for his astute public policy analysis of agricultural decline in Africa. His war zone experience led to the great concern of the latter part of his career—the study of political violence. Now one of his books on the subject, When Things Fell Apart: State Failure in Late-Century Africa, is being published by the Cambridge University Press. It was selected for the Canto Classics series, which features the most influential titles over the past half-century. With the inclusion, Bates joins intellects such as literary critic C.S. Lewis, Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger, and British anthropologist Jack Goody. For Bates, the Eaton Professor of the Science of Government and professor of African and African American studies at Harvard and a Faculty Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, a deep commitment to fieldwork has been paramount. On his office door there’s a picture of Bates, long white beard and Panama hat, looking, as he does, like a restless scholar ready to set out on expedition.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Violence, political warfare , Socioeconomics
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana