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January 9, 2020

West Africa
Jihadi Violence and Terror Surging in West Africa

In a follow up to his remarks in December, Mohamed Iban, Chambas, the UN special representative sand head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) sounded the alarm on growing militant and jihadi violence. In his January 8 briefing to the UN Security Council, he said the “devastating surge” in terrorism has “shaken public confidence.” He focused on Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, where casualties from terrorism have increased fivefold since 2016, with 4,000 deaths in 2019 compared to 770 in 2016.

Mohammed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, briefs the Security Council on West Africa, on January 10, 2019, in New York.

March 26, 2020

Guinea
Divergent Paths in West African Democracy: Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire

Last weekend, as Americans pondered how our election cycle will proceed in the midst of the constraints and disruption necessitated by the coronavirus, the people of Guinea found themselves deciding whether or not to venture out and vote in both a highly controversial referendum and legislative elections.

 Guinea's President Alpha Conde arrives at the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London, Britain January 20, 2020.

January 28, 2020

West Africa
Cutting U.S. Military Support for France in West Africa Would Be a Mistake

Since the last defense review more than a year ago, there has been a shift in U.S. defense priorities from countering terrorism to great power competition. Since then, the Department of Defense has been considering a drawdown of U.S. military assets in Africa, especially West Africa, presumably for redeployment to arenas of great power competition. That would be a mistake.

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a press conference ahead of a G5 Sahel force meeting, with the heads of state for G5 Sahel countries, in Nouakchott, Mauritania, July 2, 2018.

September 4, 2019

Terrorism and Counterterrorism
Coastal West Africa Now Facing Islamist Extremist Threat

West Africa is facing a growing threat from Islamist extremist groups. Many of these groups originated in Mali but have since spilled over its borders, with jihadis establishing themselves in the north and east of Burkina Faso. The country has become a desirable haven for many groups because of the security vacuum that has defined the country following the deposition of longtime strongman Blaise Compaore.

Silhouetted palm trees and woman carrying merchandise on her head on beach at sunset, Gulf of Guinea, Lome, Togo, West Africa.

December 26, 2019

West Africa
Envoy for West Africa and the Sahel Delivers Grim Message to UNSC

On Monday, December 16, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, special representative and head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) delivered a grim message to the UN Security Council. He characterized West Africa as “shaken by unprecedented violence,” involving terrorism, organized crime, and intercommunal violence.

Mohammed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, briefs the Security Council on West Africa, on January 10, 2019, in New York.

May 28, 2020

South Africa
President Ramaphosa Tries to Thread the Needle on COVID-19 in South Africa

Cyril Ramaphosa established an anti-virus regime: social distancing and a lockdown. And the virus "curve" indeed appeared to flatten. He gets good international press, but must deal with a restive and poor population.

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa, in a dark grey suit without a tie and a green facemask, sits on a made bed at a coronvirus treatment center. A hand gestures in the foreground and a man in a suit and tied with a mask flanks Ramaphosa.

May 27, 2020

South Africa
A Conversation With Judith February on Political Leadership and COVID-19 in South Africa

CFR Senior Fellow for Africa Studies Michelle Gavin interviews writer, lawyer, and governance expert Judith February.

Women carry bags of maize as people queue to receive food aid amid the spread of the novel coronavirus, near Pretoria, South Africa, on May 20, 2020.

May 27, 2020

South Africa
A Conversation With Judith February on Political Leadership and COVID-19 in South Africa

CFR Senior Fellow for Africa Studies Michelle Gavin interviews writer, lawyer, and governance expert Judith February.

Women carry bags of maize as people queue to receive food aid amid the spread of the novel coronavirus, near Pretoria, South Africa, on May 20, 2020.

March 18, 2020

Sub-Saharan Africa
The Future of Democracy in Africa

Council on Foreign Relations 03/18/2020 Academic Conference Call: The Future of Democracy in Africa with Jendayi E. Frazer

Podcast