South Sudan’s corrupt elite have driven a debt-free and oil-rich country to ruin

The South Sudanese ambassador to the United Nations, Akuei Bona Malwal, described the violence as part of his country’s ‘learning curve.’ It’s his job to put a brave face on disaster. But the learning curve surely needs to be that South Sudanese citizens can no longer afford a political elite whose greed, ambition and bellicosity have driven their country to ruin. The long-suffering people of South Sudan need to have their own voices heard directly in the next peace process, so that they can find ways to bend that curve towards peace.

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Interview with Alex de Waal in Addis Fortune

Ethiopia is at a very critical moment. There is the potential for it to go in a highly marketized and monetized political direction. There is also the potential, if the EPRDF leadership responds to the current situation with what I see as the appropriate measures to consolidate, to turn the developmental successes into a politically solid democratization project.

What is interesting about Sudan, particularly with the squeeze from the oil revenue, is that the Sudanese business class is beginning to assert itself, and that has the potential for stabilizing politics in northern Sudan. There are some very immediate dangers of democracy, to do with Sudan’s engagement with the wider politics of the Middle East and the growth of the defense and security establishments.

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The Business of Peace in Africa

Winning the peace in the Horn of Africa — and its neighbors across the huge arc of turbulence from the Maghreb to Central Asia — means studying the warlord’s playbook, updated for the 21st century. Countries beset by factionalism, corruption and violence can’t be fixed with the 20th century tool kit of peace talks leading to new constitutions, plus using aid to build institutions, backed by U.N. peacekeepers. Worse, the U.S. strategy of outsourcing counter-terrorism programs to regional proxies just funnels ready cash into precisely the most skilled and ruthless operators in the political marketplace, as well as giving them the means for repression.

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