Council on Foreign Relations


Foreign Affairs

The Algeria Alternative
Why Algiers Defends Order at Home—But Not Abroad
Geoff D. Porter
Summary: 
From conflict in Mali to Libya's dangerous morass, Algeria has never faced such serious threats directly on its own borders. For the moment, the country appears determined to follow its usual strategy of pushing for political solutions to the external crises while beefing up its internal security as a safeguard if these solutions fail. The problem with this strategy is that asks too much from ordinary Algerians, who can only hope that it’s the best way to protect the normalcy that they hold so dear.
The upheavals of the Arab Spring seemed to pass one country by: Algeria. To its east, Libya collapsed into civil war, and Tunisia suffered an upsurge of terrorism that imperiled its democratic transition and economic recovery. To the south, Mali is holding together, if barely, thanks to a French-led stabilization force. But all the while, Algeria has remained a reliable bulwark—if also something of a riddle.

Kenya's Own Worst Enemy
Al Shabab Isn't the Real Problem
Paul Hidalgo
Summary: 
Al Shabab has been pushed out of its strongholds and cut off from its financial lifelines. And that is why the group’s ability to so easily attack within Kenya is so puzzling. Kenyan leaders have long blamed Somalia-based fighters and the country’s minority Muslim population. But the truth is that the main culprits are the culture and policies of the government itself.
Corruption, injustice, abuse, disillusionment, marginalization, and radicalization are the legacies of years of misguided policies in Kenya. After an al Shabab rampage in Garissa earlier this month left over 140 university students dead, these issues are impossible to ignore. If Nairobi continues to refuse to address them or fails to do so, the already troubled East African country will soon become even more unstable.

Africa's Next Hegemon
Behind Ethiopia's Power Plays
Harry Verhoeven
Summary: 
Ethiopia has surpassed Egypt as the most powerful country on the Nile. And African and Arab states alike are fast recognizing that they should build friendly ties with Addis Ababa now—or else face an even stronger competitor five years from now.
In 1991, as the Cold War drew to an end, the only African country that had never been colonized by European imperialists was but a pale reflection of the Great Ethiopia that generations of the kingdom’s monarchs had pursued. A million people lay dead following two decades of civil war. Secessionist movements in the provinces clamored for self-determination. The economy was in tatters, and another catastrophic famine loomed.

Council on Foreign Relations

Wednesday, 04-15-15Inside Nigeria: Post-Election AnalysisExperts discuss the post-election outlook for the state of Nigeria.
Wednesday, 04-15-15A Conversation With Ngozi Okonjo-IwealaNgozi Okonjo-Iweala discusses the state of the Nigerian economy in the context of recent developments.
Thursday, 03-26-15Nigeria's High Stakes ElectionsAfrica’s most populous country is holding tight elections amid a fierce insurgency and plummeting oil revenues. There are concerns that the vote could trigger a new round of instability, writes CFR’s John Campbell.
Thursday, 03-19-15The Unfinished Health Agenda in Sub-Saharan AfricaIn his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, Thomas J. Bollyky argues that continued U.S. and private sector leadership on the unfinished health agenda in Africa is as important now as it has been in the past and for the same reasons: a peaceful, inclusive economy presupposes healthier, more productive lives.
Thursday, 03-05-15Political Instability in ZimbabweThe United States should position itself to take advantage of a post-Mugabe transition by working with other countries of the southern African region to limit the risk of civil violence in Zimbabwe and to lay the groundwork for a better future.
Thursday, 02-26-15Security and Democratic Governance in NigeriaJohn Campbell, CFR’s Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa policy studies, discusses the political and security implications of Nigeria’s Independent National Elections Commission’s decision to postpone the February 14, 2015 presidential elections until March 28, 2015, as part of CFR's Academic Conference Call series.
Thursday, 02-26-15Apartheid's Long ShadowApartheid’s legacy of mistrust and prejudice has prevented South Africa from establishing a truly stable multiracial democracy. But increasing contact among the races and the emergence of a black middle class offer hope of reducing the role of race in national politics.
Monday, 02-23-15Power to the PoorInternational donors have many compelling causes to choose from, but reducing energy poverty—a plight afflicting over two billion people—should rank among the very top. The poor need energy to alleviating all their other problems, from poor health to unemployment to instability.

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