Richard Downie is deputy director and fellow of the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
Articles written by Richard Downie
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, supporters of President Joseph Kabila want to amend or even replace the country’s constitution to remove presidential term limits, despite the public’s loud rejection. If they succeed, Kabila will join a growing list of African leaders turning themselves into presidents for life. more
Zimbabwean President Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party are in a buoyant mood. Their resounding victory in July’s elections, by means both fair and foul, releases them from an inconvenient four-year power-sharing arrangement with their rivals, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). They can now resume sole responsibility for mismanaging the country. Yet ZANU-PF is vulnerable and must guard against overconfidence. more
As Zimbabwe steels itself for upcoming elections, international investors are watching political developments with interest. Excitement about economic opportunities in Zimbabwe has fueled a growing desire to explore alternatives to the political stalemate, with some risk-tolerant investors waiting in the wings for the political hurdles to be removed. But is this sense of cautious optimism justified? more
The bullish mood concerning Africa’s economic progress and potential is largely justified, but one of the most serious barriers limiting the scope for transformational growth is that African markets are not sufficiently open. Regional integration has the potential to unlock markets, provide economies of scale, increase competition and attract foreign direct investment, as the East African Community demonstrates. more
When Kenyans vote in the country’s elections March 4, they will have the chance to distance themselves from the traumatic elections of December 2007, when more than 1,000 people were killed. Much has changed since then, a lot of it for the better. But the main causes of the violence remain unaddressed. The 2013 election is thus fraught with hazard, and a mood of trepidation has characterized the campaign period. more
Many Africans had big expectations about the amount of attention they would receive from the U.S. during President Barack Obama’s first term. Yet, the administration’s approach to Africa was relatively low key compared with the Bush presidency’s flurry of big-ticket initiatives. Looking ahead to Obama’s second term, new administration will have to work harder than ever to advance its objectives, and think strategically about what it can offer Africans that others cannot. more