GIS Dossier: Governance in Africa, the case of three countries
Three sub-Saharan African countries, all with decades-long, devastating civil wars behind them. Two are populous and large, well-endowed in natural riches, while one is a small, landlocked nation with no particular resources. Which one is Africa’s poster child of economic and developmental success today? This GIS Dossier examines why the longtime leaders of these three countries delivered such widely differing results for their societies.
Filling the void in Libya
Libya continues to fall apart. Daily life is in a downward spiral, militias run Tripoli like criminal cartels, and as rival governments in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica vie for control, the desert interior is up for grabs. UN mediation has failed to overcome these centrifugal forces, and hopes for U.S. involvement – perhaps the best chance for reunification – were dashed by the troop pullout from Syria. As outside powers circle for advantage, Russia is only too eager to fill the power vacuum.
Looking for a way out in Libya
The recent outbreak of fighting in Libya’s capital shows who are the real masters of the country – the militias. The international community’s focus on the reconciling the feuding governments in Tobruk and Tripoli ignores how they have already been captured by local warlords. Until the grip of these armed groups is broken, holding national elections is an enormous gamble.
Biafra deserves self-determination
Nigeria’s Igbo people, who mainly live in the country’s southeastern oil-producing regions, have been repressed and marginalized for decades. With this discrimination ongoing, it is understandable that independence movements have gained momentum, especially considering how the area’s oil revenues all wind up in federal coffers while its needs remain neglected. Biafra deserves self-determination, either through a strong local government or independence.
Sub-Saharan Africa faces long-term effects of famine
A complex web of factors has caused varying degrees of food crisis across sub-Saharan Africa. With Western donor countries focused on internal problems, the disaster shows no signs of abating – even in the long term – bringing with it a vicious circle of displacement, state instability and violence.
South Sudan heads from bad to worse
Political conflict, ethnic violence and man-made famine have turned South Sudan into Africa’s worst disaster since the Rwandan genocide in 1994. The crisis shows the limits of humanitarian aid and will have devastating long-term effects. It also poses a test for the international community, which must decide whether to intervene at a time when multilateralism is out and realpolitik is in.
Ivory Coast’s recovery looks fragile
Ivory Coast is on the mend after a lost decade of internal turmoil and civil war. Yet recent army mutinies and protests by angry cocoa producers show how little real progress has been made in diversifying the economy and creating reliable security forces. On the horizon, perhaps, looms a presidential succession crisis as well.
Burundi and Rwanda: Tale of two leaders and a continent
Burundi and Rwanda are two nearly identical countries that have taken diametrically opposed paths under different leaders. Their experience provides insight into the dilemmas of institution-building in Africa.
Mozambique looks for a way out of crises
Mozambique, once held up as a model country for the way it ushered in peace and reconciliation after a long civil war, now faces a new round of potential crises – from a huge corruption scandal, to fiscal instability, to a possible return of civil war. However, with new international investors in its natural resources and an incoming U.S. administration, momentum will likely be found to resolve these issues.