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March 26, 2020

Guinea
Divergent Paths in West African Democracy: Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire

Last weekend, as Americans pondered how our election cycle will proceed in the midst of the constraints and disruption necessitated by the coronavirus, the people of Guinea found themselves deciding whether or not to venture out and vote in both a highly controversial referendum and legislative elections.

 Guinea's President Alpha Conde arrives at the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London, Britain January 20, 2020.

January 9, 2020

West Africa
Jihadi Violence and Terror Surging in West Africa

In a follow up to his remarks in December, Mohamed Iban, Chambas, the UN special representative sand head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) sounded the alarm on growing militant and jihadi violence. In his January 8 briefing to the UN Security Council, he said the “devastating surge” in terrorism has “shaken public confidence.” He focused on Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, where casualties from terrorism have increased fivefold since 2016, with 4,000 deaths in 2019 compared to 770 in 2016.

Mohammed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, briefs the Security Council on West Africa, on January 10, 2019, in New York.

January 28, 2020

West Africa
Cutting U.S. Military Support for France in West Africa Would Be a Mistake

Since the last defense review more than a year ago, there has been a shift in U.S. defense priorities from countering terrorism to great power competition. Since then, the Department of Defense has been considering a drawdown of U.S. military assets in Africa, especially West Africa, presumably for redeployment to arenas of great power competition. That would be a mistake.

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a press conference ahead of a G5 Sahel force meeting, with the heads of state for G5 Sahel countries, in Nouakchott, Mauritania, July 2, 2018.

December 26, 2019

West Africa
Envoy for West Africa and the Sahel Delivers Grim Message to UNSC

On Monday, December 16, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, special representative and head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) delivered a grim message to the UN Security Council. He characterized West Africa as “shaken by unprecedented violence,” involving terrorism, organized crime, and intercommunal violence.

Mohammed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, briefs the Security Council on West Africa, on January 10, 2019, in New York.

September 4, 2019

Terrorism and Counterterrorism
Coastal West Africa Now Facing Islamist Extremist Threat

West Africa is facing a growing threat from Islamist extremist groups. Many of these groups originated in Mali but have since spilled over its borders, with jihadis establishing themselves in the north and east of Burkina Faso. The country has become a desirable haven for many groups because of the security vacuum that has defined the country following the deposition of longtime strongman Blaise Compaore.

Silhouetted palm trees and woman carrying merchandise on her head on beach at sunset, Gulf of Guinea, Lome, Togo, West Africa.

May 24, 2019

Islamic State
Where Exactly is the Islamic State in West Africa?

The Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) claimed a May 16 attack near Tongo Tongo, Niger, killing more than 20 soldiers not far from the Malian border. In March it issued a photo of its members in Burkina Faso and in April it claimed an attack on a militia in Mali. But, it is not clear that the ISWA group based primarily in Nigeria is behind those attacks. 

Cameroon-Boko-Haram-Islamic-State-Terrorism-West-Africa

July 11, 2019

West Africa
West African Governments Lack Commitment to Reduce Soaring Inequality

Oxfam and Development Finance International (DFI) have developed the Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index (CRI). The index ranks 157 countries by their commitment to reducing inequality through increased spending on health and education, taxing the rich more than the poor, and paying a living wage.

A slum with a bridge, electric transmission lines, and a high-rises in the background.

April 3, 2020

Cybersecurity
Cyber Week in Review: April 3, 2020

Zoom faces scrutiny for privacy and security practices; Microsoft ends outside investment in facial recognition technology; Marriott guest records stolen in massive data breach; Iranian hackers targe…

Small toy figures are seen in front of diplayed Zoom logo.

April 3, 2020

Coronavirus
How Jihadi Groups in Africa Will Exploit COVID-19

As the COVID-19 outbreak begins to spread in earnest in Africa, we can expect so-called jihadi groups on the continent to try to take advantage of the crisis to unleash violence and recruit members. We are already seeing indications that this has started happening. Governments, development workers, and aid agencies need to be made aware of this threat and take steps to deny these brutal militias more room to operate.

A soldier carrying a rifle in military fatigues observes temperature checks at the border between Abuja and Nasarawa states in Nigeria, as the authorities try to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), on March 30, 2020.

July 9, 2019

Zimbabwe
Wildlife Conservation in Africa, Outrage in the West, and Cecil the Lion

Four years ago, on July 2, 2015, a Minneapolis Dentists killed a well-known Lion, Cecil, in a Zimbabwe trophy hunt with a bow and arrow. Cecil was something of a star in the developed world.

A man dressed as Cecil the Lion on a subway platform in New York.