Without Chad, Central African Republic Peace Talks Unlikely to Succeed

All sides in Central African Republic’s civil war are looking to a peace conference this week in neighboring Republic of Congo to yield a cease-fire agreement. But major questions linger about what the meeting can actually achieve. It’s unclear if the main rebel group Seleka will even attend, and Chad is not playing a leading role in talks. Any lasting peace in CAR is likely only to succeed with Chad’s support.

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As Talks Stall, South Sudan Conflict Grinds to Stalemate

Seven months after fighting broke out between the government of South Sudan and anti-government forces, the civil war is at a stalemate. Unlike its early days, when cities changed hands multiple times, the status quo has largely held since May. Despite several agreements signed by both sides, negotiations in neighboring Ethiopia have not led to a resolution of the conflict or a way out of the crisis.

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Why the Republic of Congo Has Sent Tens of Thousands of Migrants Back to DRC

By David Klion
, , Trend Lines

Over 130,000 migrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been deported from or otherwise driven out of the neighboring Republic of Congo since April. The U.N. has declared these expulsions “an acute humanitarian crisis.” The deportations have shocked many observers, some of whom attribute the crackdown to the political needs of President Denis Sassou Nguesso, the strong man in Brazzaville. more

The Realist Prism

U.S. Watches From Sidelines as Global Leaders Gather in Brazil

By Nikolas Gvosdev
, , Column

The U.S. missed out on a rare geopolitical opportunity this past week. Vice President Joe Biden, who has emerged in Barack Obama’s second term as more of an alter ego for the president on the international stage, should have taken a short trip to Brazil for the World Cup final. Sure, the U.S. team had already been eliminated, but Biden still had good reasons to drop in at the close of the tournament. more

Regional Security Role Shields Mauritania’s Aziz From Pressure to Reform

By Kal Ben Khalid
, , Briefing

Western governments welcomed the re-election of Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, last month. Yet they should not confuse Aziz, a vital counterterrorism partner, with the entire Mauritanian regime. His power has limits and depends on the backing of the military. Strengthening the military without monitoring delicate internal politics risks destabilizing an important regional security ally. more

Global Insider

West African Ebola Outbreak Shows Difficulty of Coordinating Effective Response

By The Editors
, , Trend Lines

An ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa, already the deadliest in the history of the disease, continues to spread, with 964 confirmed cases and 603 deaths. In an email interview, Jeremy Youde, associate professor of political science at the University of Minnesota Duluth, discussed the international response to the disease, led by the World Health Organization, in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. more

Climate Change Driving Farmer-Herder Conflict in Niger River Basin

By Owen McAleer
, , Briefing

West Africa’s Niger River Basin has been the location of many high-profile conflicts in recent years. However, another form of conflict has also gripped the region: violence between farmers and herders. The two have long coexisted through traditional social arrangements for land and water use. But mounting environmental stress and institutional confusion have strained these ties and sparked violence. more

Bending Rules on Egypt Could Cost African Union Leverage on Transition

By Hazel Haddon
, , Briefing

Last month, the African Union lifted its suspension of Egypt, which it imposed last year after the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi by Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, then head of the armed forces and now Egypt’s president. By bending the rules to readmit a powerful member and ignoring violations of its own doctrines, the AU may have lost its leverage over the very thing it hopes to influence: Egypt’s political transition. more

Robust Peacekeeping, Diplomacy Put Peace in Reach in Eastern DRC

By Laura Seay
, , Briefing

The eastern DRC is still plagued by armed groups operating outside of the state’s authority, but the situation is improving and observers are hopeful about the prospects for the future. The country still has a long road ahead, but engagement by international and regional actors has put peace—and much-needed economic and political development that depend on a secure and stable environment—within reach. more

The Evolving Role of Multilateral and Subregional Development Banks

By Johannes F. Linn
, , Feature

Multilateral development banks (MDBs) have long played an important role in international development finance. Subregional development banks (SRDBs) have had a more limited function, until the emergence of a few dynamic institutions in recent years. This paper explores the origins of MDBs and SRDBs; considers key issues and trends in their purpose, governance and financing; and explores challenges and opportunities that MDBs and SRDBs face in a changing global development environment. more

The Continued Relevance of Informal Finance in Development

By Hans Dieter Seibel
, , Feature

What is informal finance, and does it still have a place in today’s economies? Formal finance is regulated and supervised by the central bank or another financial authority; informal finance is not. Access to banks has increased tremendously over the past few decades, but half the world’s adults still lack access to formal financial institutions. With the expansion of the money economy, informal financial institutions have not lost their vigor. To the contrary, they have multiplied in number and diversity. more

From One Failed State to Another: What Syria Could Learn From Somalia

By Hannah Vaughan-Lee
, , Briefing

The former U.N. special envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, has warned that the country “will become another Somalia.” There may be a potential opportunity in Brahimi’s prediction. Somalia can offer some lessons for Syria, from one failed state to another, about the harm that can come from well-intentioned international aid and the problems of trying to pursue post-conflict state-building amid a fullscale war. more