It didn't take long for Congo's transition from Belgian colony to sovereign state to turn ugly. Both the Soviet Union and the United States were keeping a close eye on the mineral-rich country at the heart of Africa when, on June 30, 1960, it gained independence under a democratically elected government headed by Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba.
See more in Congo, Republic of; Regime Changes
On April 6, 1994, a plane carrying Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana was shot down by unidentified assailants. The next day, the killings began. Over the next three months, as the international community stood by, an estimated one million Rwandans—Tutsis and moderate Hutus—were systematically slaughtered by Hutu extremists, mostly using clubs and machetes.
See more in Rwanda; Genocide
Twenty years ago, in 100 days of slaughter between April and July 1994, an estimated one million Rwandan men, women, and children were killed by their fellow citizens.
See more in Rwanda; Women
Born to professors in what was then still a British colony, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was a teenager when civil war broke out in Nigeria seven years after independence, and she ended up working as a cook for the Biafran rebels on the frontlines.
See more in Nigeria; International Finance
Larry Diamond and Jack Mosbacher ("Petroleum to the People," September/October 2013) rightly observe that the coming oil boom in Africa is, paradoxically, a frightening prospect for the continent's poor and marginalized.
See more in Africa (sub-Saharan); Oil
Since it gained independence from France in 1960, the West African country of Senegal has been a bastion of stability and democracy on a continent that has seen relatively little of either.
See more in Africa (sub-Saharan); Development
In October 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion to seize a palatial cliff-top home in Malibu, California. The 16-acre property towers over its neighbors, with a palm-lined driveway leading to a plaster-and-tile mansion.
See more in Africa (sub-Saharan); Development
It would be easy to label the Democratic Republic of the Congo an irredeemable mess. For almost two decades, the country has been roiled by a series of wars involving neighboring countries and dozens of Congolese militias.
See more in Africa (sub-Saharan); Peace, Conflict, and Human Rights
The Obama administration relies on drones for one simple reason: they work. Drone strikes have devastated al Qaeda at little financial cost, at no risk to U.S. forces, and with fewer civilian casualties than many alternative methods would have caused.
See more in Somalia; Pakistan; Yemen; Drones
Sub-Saharan Africa's GDP has grown five percent a year since 2000 and is expected to grow even faster in the future. Although pessimists are quick to point out that this growth has followed increases in commodities prices, the success of recent political reforms and the increased openness of African societies give the region a good chance of sustaining its boom for years to come.
See more in Africa (sub-Saharan); Economic Development; Emerging Markets
Despite the fall of the Qaddafi regime in Libya, humanitarian intervention still has plenty of critics.
See more in Somalia; Libya; Humanitarian Intervention
Steven Radelet's accessible new book argues that much of the credit for Africa's recent economic boom goes to its increasingly open political systems.
See more in Democratization; Africa (sub-Saharan)
John Campbell says diplomacy and democracy--not firepower--is the best way to undermine Nigeria's growing Islamist threat.
See more in Nigeria; Radicalization and Extremism; Terrorism
When apartheid ended, the new regime in South Africa promised to redistribute land that whites had stolen from blacks.
See more in South Africa; Forests and Land Management; Apartheid
In looking at the successful resolution of the political standoff in Côte d'Ivoire, most commentators have focused on the role of France and the UN.
See more in Ivory Coast; Democratization
Depending on how locals and outsiders react to events in Sudan, the secession referendum scheduled for January could trigger either the country's partition or a new explosion of violence.
See more in Sudan; South Sudan; Sovereignty
With one billion people already going hungry and the world's population rising, global food production must urgently be increased. But Africa can manage this surge -- if it finally uses the seeds, fertilizers, and irrigation methods common everywhere else.
See more in Africa (sub-Saharan); Agricultural Policy; Food Security
The current Kenyan government has not solved the underlying problems of corruption and inequality, and ethnic resentments are likely to remain until Kenyans elect a clean and inclusive government.
See more in Kenya; Ethnicity, Minorities, and National Identity
Zimbabwe has been ruled by a unity government since 2008, but President Robert Mugabe and his party continue to usurp power and pillage the country's wealth.
See more in Human Rights; Zimbabwe; Presidents and Chiefs of State
Washington's repeated attempts to bring peace to Somalia with state-building initiatives have failed, even backﬁred.
See more in Somalia