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April 22, 2022

Energy and Climate Policy
How Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Will Impact Africa’s Energy Transition

Here are seven ways Russia's invasion of Ukraine could impact Africa’s energy transition.

A child is seen in the foreground of a picture, with smokestacks far off in the distance.

May 19, 2022

Sudan
The Horn of Africa’s Dubious Dialogues

It’s a matter of conventional wisdom that the crises gripping the Horn of Africa are fundamentally political, and that viable, sustainable solutions can be found only through inclusive political dialogue. But in both Sudan and Ethiopia, current dialogues—one internationally backed and one a domestic project—inspire little confidence. The United States has real interests at stake in the region that are ill-served by relying on these processes to stabilize these two fragile countries.  In Sudan, where a more just and accountable political dispensation has been a U.S. priority for decades, the administration seems determined to defer to the United Nations (UN)-African Union (AU)-Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) tripartite mechanism, which the State Department recently described as “the most inclusive mechanism to achieve an urgently needed agreement” on a way forward in Sudan.

Secretary Anthony Blinken shakes hands with Workneh Gebeyehu from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development. Both wearing suits, ties, and black face masks.

May 26, 2022

Nigeria
Reaction to “Blasphemy” Killing Illustrates Complicated Role of Religion in Nigeria’s Democratic Transition

Horrendous killing of college sophomore highlights the country’s ethnoreligious fault line, but interdenominational rivalry in the south is of no less moment. All in all, reactions to the murder of Ms. Deborah Yakubu, a 200-level home economics student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto, have exposed Nigeria’s deepest political fractures and lingering questions over citizenship, national identity, and secularity. On May 12, following disagreement over a WhatsApp voice note deemed to have been blasphemous against Islam and Prophet Muhammad, a mob comprising some of the twenty-two-year-old’s schoolmates brutally clubbed and stoned her to death, after which they proceeded to incinerate her body.

Pastor lectures with a microphone and gestures with his arm wearing a formal attire.

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.

May 28, 2021

Sub-Saharan Africa
U.S. Push for a Global Clean Energy Transition Can Start in Africa

The new US Climate Finance Plan aims to double contributions to climate funding for developing countries. A renewed emphasis on emerging economies is good news for the climate -- but in presenting support as “protecting the world’s poorest” and helping “communities in need,” the Plan reflects old thinking. 

Kenya's Energy Minister Charles Keter addresses engineers at the power substation of the Lake Turkana Wind Power project (LTWP) in Loiyangalani district, Marsabit County, northern Kenya, September 4, 2018.

April 28, 2022

Sub-Saharan Africa
Africa Must Be Wary of Cutting Its Nose to Spite Its Face

Invoking historical rough justice and persistent infantilization by the West, African countries have, to widespread astonishment, refused to give a full-throated backing to Western sanctions against Russia. Seventeen of the thirty-five abstainers from the United Nations General Assembly vote on March 2, 2022, to condemn the Russian “aggression against Ukraine” were African. More troublingly, even more African countries abstained from voting on the UN April 7, 2022, resolution to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council over “gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights” in Ukraine. The latter list included South Africa, Cameroon, Ghana, and Nigeria, which hitherto had joined 140 other UN members to condemn the Russian invasion.

Kenyan Ambassador to the United nations sits in front of his microphone.

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.

April 1, 2021

Tanzania
Interview: Tundu Lissu on Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan and the Role of the West in Democratization

Tundu Lissu, in an interview, comments on expectations for President Samia Suluhu Hassan, a Zanzibar native who was sworn in following former President John Magufuli’s death as Tanzania’s sixth—and first female—president.

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan inspects a guard of honor after being sworn in as president.

March 30, 2021

Tanzania
Interview: Tundu Lissu Discusses the Need for Constitutional Reform in Tanzania

Tundu Lissu, a member of the opposition Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA), has spent his political career, which includes a ten-year stint in parliament, fighting for a more accountable polity in sub-Saharan Africa's fourth most populous country

Tanzanian opposition leader Tundu Lissu prepares to board a helicopter.

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.