December 5, 2019Zambia
Last week, when U.S. Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote expressed his dismay about a Zambian court ruling sentencing two men to fifteen years in prison for the crime of conducting a same-sex relationship, Zambian President Edgar Lungu was quick to take offense.
December 3, 2019Democratic Republic of Congo
Protests that began last week in and around Beni in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo have continued into this week, claiming several lives. Civilians on the ground, frustrated and frightened by yet another spike in insecurity, have channeled their anger toward the United Nations’ peacekeepers in their midst, demanding that they leave since they are unable to protect civilians.
October 31, 2019Elections and Voting
Southern Africa recently wrapped up two dramatically different elections. In Mozambique, presidential, parliamentary, and regional elections were characterized by irregularities and even violence, but not by suspense. The ruling FRELIMO party had ensured its victory in the pre-election period, in part through the presence of “ghost voters” on the voters’ roll, and through a campaign of intimidation aimed at challengers to its power.
November 19, 2019Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso is in trouble. The shocking ambush of a Canadian mining company’s convoy earlier this month was part of a relentless series of deadly attacks perpetrated both by terrorist organizations and by domestic criminal groups that have claimed hundreds of lives, forced nearly half a million people from their homes, and gravely shaken domestic and international confidence in the country’s security services.
October 18, 2019West Africa
Several successive years of being one of the world’s fastest-growing economies have made Côte d'Ivoire a darling of investors bullish about Africa. But the country’s strong economic performance has not been matched by political progress in overcoming the divides that drove the country into civil war twice in the last twenty years. With elections scheduled for 2020, many of the same antagonists that featured in those earlier conflicts are jockeying for position, giving observers and citizens an unwelcome sense of déjà vu.
October 8, 2019Sub-Saharan Africa
New research suggests that African policymakers focused on the future have yet another pressing issue to add to their already full plate: A study released on the margins of the UN General Assembly meeting and funded by the European Union indicates that Africa will be the site of the world’s largest increase in illegal drug use over the next few decades.
October 3, 2019Somalia
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