In postelection DRC, transition looks like restoration
After delaying elections for two years, former DRC President Joseph Kabila hit upon a clever stratagem to resolve his “third-term” problem. Borrowing a page from Vladimir Putin’s book, he appears to have arranged for a stand-in, nominally from the opposition, to win the presidency in a manipulated ballot. Mr. Kabila intends to run the country from a Senate seat or perhaps even as prime minister. The international community seems to be turning a blind eye to these shenanigans because it prefers stability to the prospect of turmoil and civil war.
African migration: From polarization to win-win
With this year’s European Parliament elections, the EU may be approaching a watershed moment on migration. Voters and politicians are questioning the fundamental assumptions of globalized approaches like the UN Compact on Migration and the EU Trust Fund for Africa, which may do more to encourage than curb the migrant influx. But “outsourcing” management of migration flows to transit countries may only increase Europe’s vulnerability to political shocks in buffer states like Sudan, Libya or Algeria.
Reforming the African Union
Bucking the world trend, Africa in 2018 was marked by important advances toward free movement, free trade and closer cooperation between states. The main advances were on the economic front, with the agreement to create a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA). While trade liberalization has the potential to be transformative for Africa, disparate stages of development, protectionist impulses and political tensions may prevent meaningful advances.
Togo faces two years of turmoil
Togo is another instance of “third termism” in sub-Saharan Africa, as a long-time ruler determined to stay in power collides with an increasingly angry populace. President Faure Gnassingbe appears to be losing his grip ahead of the 2020 presidential elections, while his well-organized opponents may be able to count on outside intervention from ECOWAS, West Africa’s regional bloc.
Burundi’s downward spiral
President Pierre Nkurunziza’s grip on power has divided Burundian society to the point where armed opposition groups are in open conflict with forces loyal to the regime. Violence against civilians has forced thousands to flee their homes. The economy has been hit hard as well. But the fragmentation of the opposition and Burundi’s involvement in critical peacekeeping missions means Mr. Nkurunziza has the upper hand, for now.
Global Outlook 2017: Sub-Saharan Africa
Political instability will be the norm for sub-Saharan Africa in 2017. Crises will range from rocky political transitions to mass protests, electoral violence and – in the worst case – even genocide. The region faces these challenges at a time when realpolitik is replacing liberalism.
Global trends: terror and transition in sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa is poised for another year of fast economic growth in 2016. But countries of the region must contend with falling commodity prices, an upsurge in terrorism and a widening gulf between aging leaders and newly assertive urban voters. <i>This report is part of GIS’s “Global Trends” series, which aims...
Burundi’s president lights slow fuse to ethnic war
President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term has plunged Burundi into chaos, reversing a decade of progress towards ethnic reconciliation and economic growth. While the present conflict is political in origin, triggered by the president’s ambitions, the climate of violence and repression it has fostered may revive ethnic tensions that could potential...
China adjusts its economic involvement in Africa following a slowdown at home
Over the past decade, China’s involvement in Africa – in the form of trade, investment, cheap government loans and aid – has helped accelerate economic growth across the continent. However, China’s economic slowdown will impact Sino-African relations at a critical moment for Africa and its structural transformation. The u...
Border dispute deadline looms for Sudan and South Sudan
Conflict between warring neighbours Sudan and South Sudan could end if a deadline on a new agreement is met. The United Nations Security Council has imposed a September 22 date to resolve border differences and end the conflict which has seen 650,000 people made homeless since South Sudan became the world’s newest nation in 2011. ...