Pope Francis is in the final stretch of a six-day trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan that was framed as an opportunity to bring more international attention to the many challenges faced by the two neighbors and to deliver a message of peace, reconciliation and an end to conflict in the two countries.
A controversial referendum in Central African Republic could allow President Faustin-Archange Touadera to run for a third term. International media has focused on the role Russia, Rwanda and CAR’s other international partners play in the political standoff. But ultimately local actors will determine if Touadera succeeds or fails.
It makes sense that a continent that is home to 54 countries and 1.2 billion people would also house many contradictory developments. Africa features several of the world’s fastest-growing economies and a burgeoning middle class. But much of the continent remains mired in debt, burdened by conflict and beset by elites clinging to power.