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October 3, 2019

Somalia
Diplomatic Progress in Somalia

The re-opening of the U.S. Embassy in Mogadishu, Somalia, is welcome news to many who have worked on U.S. policy issues in the Horn of Africa for decades. It represents not just a positive step in strengthening bilateral relations, but also a victory over those who would prioritize risk-aversion  ahead of the actual work of diplomacy

Italian and Somali security forces are seen near armored vehicles at the scene of an attack on an Italian military convoy in Mogadishu, Somalia September 30, 2019

September 16, 2019

Eritrea
How Long Must Eritrea Wait for Change?

Last week, the Committee to Protect Journalists ranked Eritrea "the most censored country in the world." That unsurprising conclusion is only the latest dubious distinction for Eritrea, a state that often seems frozen in an authoritarian limbo in the midst of region characterized by profound changes. 

Eritrean refugees participate in a demonstration in support of a U.N. human rights report accusing Eritrean leaders of crimes against humanity in front of the Africa Union headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, June 23, 2016

September 6, 2019

Sub-Saharan Africa
Mugabe and the Zimbabwe He Left Behind

Robert Mugabe, who ruled over Zimbabwe for 37 years, died on September 6. His was an undeniably epic life of glaring contradictions. He was a passionate voice for the liberation of the Zimbabwean people from the injustice and humiliation of white minority rule, but a brutal oppressor when those same people sought to exercise political freedom.

Zimbabwe's former President Robert Mugabe looks on before casting his vote in Highfields outside Harare July 31, 2013

August 28, 2019

Sub-Saharan Africa
Keeping an Eye on Uganda’s Stability

Recently, Ugandan civil society organizations warned about the likelihood of increasing political violence leading up to the country’s 2021 general elections. Disturbing incidents of opposition figures like Bobi Wine being arrested and beaten, journalists being punished for covering those who challenge the state, and people associated with the new political opposition, like Michael Kalinda, being abducted, tortured, and even killed certainly support the case for sounding the alarm. 

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni sitting in attendance the High Level Consultation Meetings of Heads of State and Government on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia January 17, 2019

July 30, 2019

Sudan
Sudan's Fragile Transition

Despite some important progress toward a transitional framework for Sudan—on July 5, the civilian-led forces of the Freedom and Change coalition and the Transitional Military Council signed a deal on the structure for a three-year pre-election period—the country’s future remains deeply uncertain.

Sudanese people chant slogans and wave their national flag as they celebrate on the streets of Khartoum, Sudan, after the country's ruling military council and a coalition of opposition groups reached an agreement to share power during a transition period leading to elections, on July 5, 2019

July 24, 2019

Sub-Saharan Africa
Taking a Moment to Recognize HIV/AIDS Research in Africa

Recently, scientists published the results of three related, extraordinarily labor-intensive efforts to strike a decisive blow against HIV/AIDS. For five years –significantly longer if one considers the work involved in preparing to launch such massive studies - teams in Botswana, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Zambia worked to provide universal testing and treatment to communities encompassing well over a million people.

A Kenyan woman prepares a ribbon in honor of World AIDS Day in Nairobi, Kenya on November 25, 2004

July 16, 2019

Nigeria
The Post-Presidential Legacy of Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan

Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s international reputation has improved since conceding the presidency in 2015. What does that say about democracy in the country?

Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan speaks to the media as part of the National Democratic Institute's election monitoring delegation in Liberia on December 26, 2017.

June 20, 2019

Botswana
Personal Rivalries Overshadow Botswana's Democracy

The feud between current President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his predecessor and former boss, Ian Khama, sometimes reads like highlights of an overwrought soap opera. The latest dramatic turn saw Khama renouncing his membership in the party his revered father helped found, complaining that his legacy was being dismantled, and encouraging others to throw away their BDP membership cards.

Former Botswana President Ian Khama at the Botswana-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Pretoria, South Africa, November 11, 2016.

June 18, 2019

Ethiopia
U.S. Should Acknowledge Critical Challenges for Ethiopia’s Transition

Anyone fishing for a good news story out of Africa recently has, rightly, celebrated Ethiopia, where dynamic young Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has dramatically opened political space, departing from decades or repressive, tightly controlled government. But Ethiopia faces real and urgent challenges, and it is critical that well-wishers not ignore them. Abiy has lifted the lid off of a pressure cooker—one his predecessors held in place with sometimes brutal force—and in some cases the result has not been euphoria, but rather messy, complex eruptions of communal violence.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sits at a desk in parliament and responds to questions

June 11, 2019

Sudan
Sudanese Opposition Needs Stronger International Support

The news out of Sudan, so recently full of fragile hope, is now deeply troubling. For over a week, the Transitional Military Council, or TMC, has been violently suppressing the very protestors whose bravery and persistence created the conditions for the security services to seize power from disgraced former President Omar al-Bashir. Over a hundred civilians have been killed, many more wounded, and the façade of shared goals and commitment to reform between citizens and security elites irreparably broken. 

Sudan-Protest-TMC-Support