Prospects for stability in the Horn of Africa
For decades, the Horn of Africa has been home to conflict and failed states. Changes are occurring rapidly, however, driven by the recent rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Even Somalia has made modest progress. The question is whether these gains can be consolidated, since economic and ethnic tensions are still rife, and a host of global and regional powers continue to vie for influence.
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.
Opinion: El Salvador’s new president faces an uphill struggle
In June 2019, Nayib Bukele will take office as El Salvador’s next president. A fresh face from a small party, Mr. Bukele is focused on rooting out corruption. For its part, the U.S. wants him to tackle migration and is threatening to cut off aid. With a sluggish economy dependent on remittances, the new president will be hard-pressed to solve the problems that are chasing Salvadorans from their country.
Opinion: Why they migrate
Discussions of migration from Central America into the United States tend to lump the principal countries of origin – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – into a single subregion, the Northern Triangle. While similarities between the three states make it convenient to treat them as a unit, the practice can also be misleading. Different push factors operate in each country, and without taking these distinctions into account, no amount of international aid is likely to reduce the migrant flow.
Opinion: The wrong response to the Caravan
United States President Donald Trump has insinuated the migrant caravan heading from Central America to the U.S. constitutes an invasion and has deployed some 5,000 troops at the border to stop it. Now, the president has threatened to rescind aid to the migrants’ countries of origin. American aid programs are built to address the region’s terrible crime and lack of employment opportunities – the very reasons so many people are leaving their homes and heading for the U.S. in the first place.
Joseph Kabila will not be moved
For long-serving presidents in sub-Saharan Africa, there are few incentives to step down. That applies to President Joseph Kabila in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who has managed to extend his term beyond the constitutional limits. The country has been in a deep crisis since 2015, and conditions are primed to deteriorate in 2018. Even if long-promised elections do take place, they will hardly mark the beginning of a new era.
Opinion: Honduras has it all – unfortunately
Honduras is a textbook example of why the one-size-fits-all U.S. policy toward Central American isn’t working. As the flow of drugs and migrants continues unabated, American law enforcement and aid programs have gotten in each other’s way. They would do better to find ways to strengthen the Hondurans who are still trying to take their state back from the narco cartels.
GIS Dossier: Sub-Saharan Africa
The list of challenges facing sub-Saharan Africa is long and daunting. Political instability and violence have led to immense migration flows that countries on three continents are struggling to contain. These problems have exacerbated weather-related catastrophes like famine, creating a vicious circle. Yet, the region has plenty of potential. Can it overcome its hurdles? This edition of GIS Dossier surveys the predictions from our experts on this troubled region.
Mexico: Pena Nieto papers over security crisis
In nearly four years, President Enrique Pena Nieto has been unable to tackle Mexico’s difficulties with organized and violent crime. His shift of focus to economic matters only papers over the problem, rather than addressing its root cause: institutional weakness. The country’s perpetual security crisis looks set to continue.
The Northern Triangle in Central America
Central America’s Northern Triangle states – Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – have become a thoroughfare for illegal migration and drug smuggling to the United States. The U.S. is trying to stop this tide by funding police and judicial reform and setting up watchdog agencies. Progress in this diverse and poorly governed region has been mixed.