Council on Foreign Relations


Foreign Affairs

Good Luck, Jonathan
The Problem With Democracy in Nigeria
John Campbell
Summary: 
Americans tend to think of elections as the apex of democracy. But in some cases they are the opposite. In countries with weak democratic cultures and lax rule of law, elections can be destabilizing. Nigeria, which will hold elections next month, is a case in point.
Americans tend to think of elections as the apex of democracy. But in some cases they are the opposite. In countries with weak democratic cultures and lax rule of law, elections can be destabilizing. They can promote violence and undermine good governance. 
No matter which candidate is declared victorious, there are plenty of reasons for the loser to reject the results.

False Security in Kenya
When Counterterrorism is Counterproductive
Joshua Meservey
Summary: 
Nairobi's use of extreme measures to fight terrorism is undermining its fledgling democracy.
As one of its first acts of the new year, Kenya’s High Court overturned eight provisions of a controversial security law designed to give the government sweeping powers to fight terrorism, particularly against the Somalia-based group al Shabaab. The decision has been hailed in Kenya as a great win for free speech and civil rights. Although the ruling was indeed a victory, it came in the middle of a troubling slide by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government into increasingly draconian behavior.

Fixing Fragile Cities
Solutions for Urban Violence and Poverty
Robert Muggah
Summary: 
Fragile cities—places where government authority is crumbling and violence runs deep—will be the world's greatest challenge in the coming decades. But turning such cities around is possible. Here's how. 
In the decades to come, the city, not the state, will decide stability and development. People around the world have been converging on cities for centuries, and more than half of them live in one today. Western cities have grown so dominant that commentators now speak of “the triumph” of cities and call on mayors to rule the world.

Council on Foreign Relations

Thursday, 01-15-15Somalia: The Next Oil Superpower?Last month, Soma Oil and Gas, a London based energy company, searching for hydrocarbon deposits off the coast of Somalia, announced that it had completed a seismic survey to ascertain the potential for recoverable oil and gas deposits. Although further details have yet to be released, chief executive Rob Sheppard announced that the results were encouraging. However, Somalia, and potential investors, should proceed with caution when considering entering this frontier market.
Monday, 01-05-15Africa CallingBorn in northern Sudan in 1946, Mo Ibrahim received a scholarship to Alexandria University, in Egypt, and graduated with a degree in electrical engineering in 1968.
Monday, 01-05-15Who Lost Congo?Stephen Weissman should be congratulated for his excellent research on the CIA’s involvement in Congo’s internal politics immediately after inde­pendence (“What Really Happened in Congo,” July/August 2014).
Monday, 12-29-14The Monster in the SeaLaurie Garrett travels to the Liberian border village of Jene-Wonde, and reveals the dangers in declaring victory over Ebola.
Wednesday, 12-24-14Pushing Ebola to the Brink of Gone in LiberiaPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is fighting a grueling battle against the Ebola epidemic in Liberia. But, as Laurie Garrett learns in an interview with the president, she's not winning plaudits at home.
Tuesday, 12-16-14Domestic Politics and China's Health Aid to AfricaThis study explores the role of domestic politics in China’s health-related development assistance to Africa. It identifies domestic politics as a constant, even critical, component in shaping and structuring China’s health aid to Africa.
Thursday, 12-11-14Can Nigeria Endure Falling Oil Prices?Nigeria’s heavy dependence on oil revenues puts it in a risky position economically and politically, raising new concerns about instability in Africa’s most populous country, writes CFR’s John Campbell.
Thursday, 12-11-14Facing Death Without Spreading DiseaseIn the second piece in this four-part series, Laurie Garrett reports on how Sierra Leone’s traditional burial practices spread Ebola, and why officials struggle to count the toll.

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