Currently viewing the tag: "Africa"

There is a longstanding joke about Sudanese statistics: 87.7% of official figures are made up on the spot. Morten Jerven’s fabulous short book is a vindication of such skepticism, continent-wide and covering the last 25 years of economic analysis and policymaking. His aim is ambitious: nothing less than claiming that economists—specifically econometricians, who apply statistics […]

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Under the Obama Administration, foreign policy has been driven by national security and concern over domestic opinion polls. Humanitarian issues, democratization, development, and resolving armed conflicts get on the agenda only when the Pentagon and CIA have had their say. That is glaringly obvious in Africa and the Middle East. You more than anyone should know that a security policy that relies overwhelmingly on military and intelligence instruments and has no wider economic and political strategy is doomed to fail, and to wreak havoc in doing so.

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Hailing from Belarus, I spent most of my UN career working in Africa, or on issues related to the continent. From 1992-1994, for instance, I was part of the United Nations Observer Mission in South Africa (UNOMSA) that helped facilitate both a democratic dispensation and the presidential election of Nelson Mandela. My other positions—which included […]

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Fifteen years ago, when African leaders set up their own peace and security system within what later became the African Union, they tried to balance diplomacy and armed enforcement. In case of a conflict, they would hold negotiations with all parties; sending in peacekeeping troops would only be a fallback option. But Western countries like the United States and France have tended to favor military approaches instead. During the civil war in Libya in 2011, a panel of five African presidents, established by the African Union and chaired by Jacob Zuma of South Africa, proposed letting Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi go into exile in an African country and then setting up an interim government. But the plan was spurned by NATO, which preferred regime change by way of foreign intervention.

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Alex de Waal has published a newly released article in African Affairs, “When kleptocracy becomes insolvent: Brute causes of the civil war in South Sudan.” Below is the abstract, full text available through the journal:

South Sudan obtained independence in July 2011 as a kleptocracy – a militarized, corrupt neo-patrimonial system of governance. By the […]

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In my presentation at the Youth, Conflict and Governance in Africa workshop at Yale University on March 1, 2014, I drew from findings and analysis in the third chapter of my forthcoming book, The Outcast Majority: War, Development and Africa’s Youth (University of Georgia Press, 2015). I spoke about urbanization, employment and livelihoods with […]

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