October 23, 2019Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone currently ranks as one of the least developed countries in the world, with a GDP per capita of less than $300 and high levels of poverty. But President Julius Maada Bio has charted an ambitious development plan for the small West African country. Since 2017, President Bio has overseen increased investment in advanced technologies in the hopes of spurring development.
September 10, 2019Namibia
Nobody who cares about Africa’s wildlife can like a September 9 New York Times headline, “Hunter Seeks to Import Parts of Rare Rhino He Paid $400,000 to Kill.” The story recalls the dentist from Michigan who paid for, shot, and killed Cecil, an elderly lion in Zimbabwe. In this case, a Michigan big game hunter paid a Namibia conservation organization $400,000 for the opportunity to shoot a black rhino. Now, he is applying to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to bring its skull, hide, and horns into the United States.
October 24, 2019South Africa
On October 23, Mmusi Maimane resigned as the leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA). His resignation was preceded by that of the DA mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba on October 21, and immediately followed by that of the party’s federal chairperson, Athol Trollip.
October 25, 2019Election 2020
Each week, I look at what the presidential candidates are saying about foreign policy on the campaign trail.
October 22, 2019Nigeria
A work by the late Nigerian artist Ben Enwonwu fetched $1.4 million at a Sotheby’s auction in London on October 15. The painting, “Christine,” is a 1971 portrait of the Caribbean-origin American wife of a missionary. After her death, the portrait hung on the wall at her family’s home. Unaware of the origin of the piece, a stepson eventually reached out to Sotheby’s to see if it had any value.
September 11, 2019South Africa
Mob attacks on foreign-owned shops in Johannesburg have damaged relations between South Africa and Nigeria. The Nigerian government has announced that it is evacuating some four hundred Nigerians from South Africa. The violence is being characterized as “xenophobic,” which, by all accounts, it is. But the story is more complicated, and aspects of it have roots in apartheid South Africa and the dislocations resulting from too-rapid urbanization.