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March 25, 2021

Kenya
Belt and Road in Kenya: COVID-19 Sparks a Reckoning with Debt and Dissatisfaction

The economic impact of COVID-19 has exposed the underlying fragility of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Kenya, already the subject of scrutiny over corruption, pollution, and debt concerns. BRI fueled an ambitious infrastructure push in Kenya.

A train, built as part of Chinese investment in Kenya through the Belt and Road Initiative, arrives at the Mombasa Terminus in Mombasa, Kenya.

March 10, 2021

Grand Strategy
Coup-Proofing: Russia’s Military Blueprint to Securing Resources in Africa

In the Central African Republic (CAR), outside the capital Bangui, President Faustin-Archange Touadéra exerts little to no authority. Armed rebel groups control two-thirds of the country, including access to mining sites.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Faustin Archange Touadera of the Central African Republic walk towards each other, arms outstretched as they prepare to shake hands.

March 4, 2021

Territorial Disputes
Diplomatic Dithering Over Western Sahara Bodes Ill for Other African Disputes

On December 10, 2020, then President Donald Trump tweeted that because “Morocco recognized the United States in 1777,” the U.S. should return the favor by recognizing “[Moroccan] sovereignty over the Western Sahara.”

Then-U.S. Secretary of State James Baker, clutching a baseball cap, arrives in the Western Sahara in an attempt to broker a peace between the Polisario Front and Morocco over the disputed Western Sahara.

March 18, 2021

Heads of State and Government
John Magufuli, Tanzania’s COVID-Denying President, Dies

Vice President Samia Suluhu, announcing President John Magufuli’s death yesterday, said the president died from a heart condition, and that he had been treated at two different hospitals in Dar es Salaam.

A copy of the Tanzanian newspaper "The Citizen," with the headline "Nation mourns," shows a picture of recently deceased President John Magufuli after his death was announced yesterday. In the bottom left, a picture of soon-to-be-president Samia Suluhu.

March 11, 2021

Heads of State and Government
Tanzanian President Magufuli’s Veneer of Omniscience in Critical Condition

A story published yesterday in Kenyan newspaper the Nation suggests—though does not confirm—that Tanzanian President John Magufuli was flown into Kenya and admitted to a hospital in Nairobi to receive treatment for COVID-19.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli, standing at a red podium with his country's coat of arms, gives a speech after re-election. He is flanked by a soldier in a red uniform and one other official wearing professional dress.

February 26, 2021

Nigeria
Nigeria’s Internal Security Problem

The Nigerian minister of defense recently enjoined Nigerians to take up arms to defend themselves against marauding bandits in their communities. Nigeria has experienced devastating attacks from armed bandits for more than two years.

A blanket is seen on the ground of a school stormed by kidnappers in Nigeria.

February 23, 2021

Coronavirus
Tanzania’s COVID Denialism Harms its Economic Future

Beyond the immediate, detrimental effects for Tanzanians’ health, President John Magufuli’s aggressive COVID denialism is likely to dent the country’s economic prospects.

Two women in Tanzania are seen wearing gloves, masks, and facial shields to protect against COVID-19. Both are also wearing colorful, patterned clothing.

July 29, 2021

China
China’s Port Expansion in Africa

The Cases of the Beira Fishing Port and LAPSSET Port Project

July 13, 2021

Nigeria
T.B. Joshua: A Preacher Who Held Outsized Influence in Nigeria and Africa

Policy makers, diplomats, and commentators in the secular West often fail to take into account the profound influence of religious leaders in sub-Saharan Africa, whether among Christians, Muslims, or adherents of traditional religions. Heaven, hell, and what secularists regard as magic are literal realities, more immediate than government policy or the pronouncements of political leaders. What the preacher says is more credible than the utterances of politicians.

T.B. Joshua, a now-deceased Nigerian pastor, holds his hand on a woman's face. The woman holds her hands raised with her palms upward.

July 23, 2021

Oceans and Seas
Five Movies Worth Watching About Conflict at Sea

Every summer Friday, we suggest foreign-policy-themed movies worth watching. This week: films about stormy relationships and battles at sea.

Three movie posters in black frames. From left: Run Silent, Run Deep (two men in khaki uniforms above a sinking ship); Mister Roberts (four men in khaki uniforms look off the edge of a ship); Dunkirk (a young man looks out into a chaotic ocean).