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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 4, 2021

Territorial Disputes
Diplomatic Dithering Over Western Sahara Bodes Ill for Other African Disputes

On December 10, 2020, then President Donald Trump tweeted that because “Morocco recognized the United States in 1777,” the U.S. should return the favor by recognizing “[Moroccan] sovereignty over the Western Sahara.”

Then-U.S. Secretary of State James Baker, clutching a baseball cap, arrives in the Western Sahara in an attempt to broker a peace between the Polisario Front and Morocco over the disputed Western Sahara.

February 26, 2021

Nigeria
Nigeria’s Internal Security Problem

The Nigerian minister of defense recently enjoined Nigerians to take up arms to defend themselves against marauding bandits in their communities. Nigeria has experienced devastating attacks from armed bandits for more than two years.

A blanket is seen on the ground of a school stormed by kidnappers in Nigeria.

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.

October 30, 2020

Nigeria
Northwest Nigeria Potential Jihadi Linchpin in West Africa

Up to now, radical jihadi activity in West Africa has been centered in Mali—with spillover to adjacent parts of Burkina Faso and Niger—and the Lake Chad Basin. The two locales are now increasingly br…

A crowd gathers in front of the Sultan Palace Hall Sokoto in Sokoto, Nigeria. Several cars can be seen.

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 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.

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.

March 17, 2021

Nigeria
The Nigerian Military’s Missing Link: A Joint Special Operations Command

Nigeria’s northern regions continue to struggle with insecurity, claiming the lives of tens of thousands and displacing millions due to armed banditry and Boko Haram.

A camouflaged Nigerian military truck with a soldier sitting in the back manning a mounted gun.

March 16, 2021

Nigeria
Nigeria Needs to Better Protect its Schoolchildren

In early March, over 300 schoolgirls were abducted by armed groups from a secondary school in Zamfara State. Last week, another set of students was kidnapped from a college in Kaduna State—the third mass kidnapping of students in Nigeria in 2021.

A young Nigerian girl wearing a headdress cries after being rescued from kidnappers.