NAIROBI, Kenya — The African Union has released a blueprint designed to guide the continent in its relations with “emerging powers” like China, Brazil and India. A task force formed by the union says Africa must have a strategy for engaging these countries to avoid a “second colonization” and to make sure Africa benefits as much as possible from its relations with them. The strategic plan, completed Sept. 13 at a meeting of the AU “Task Force on Africa’s Strategic Partnership with the Emerging Powers” in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, assesses how cooperation with emerging powers can help Africa use her […]

BAMAKO, Mali — One three-letter acronym, ATT, encapsulates Mali’s most powerful political brand. Across West Africa’s largest country, it is the universal code for President Amadou Toumani Touré. Elected to a five-year term of office in 2002, Touré can boast of a genuine popularity amongst his citizens. “Because ATT is good. Because he works,” Sekou Camara, a security guard, said. “If people say something, then he listens.” Such praise extends beyond those on the economic margins. Amadou Konta, the general manager of Loulo mine, owned by offshore Randgold Resources and listed on the NASDAQ, proved equally effusive about Touré. “He’s […]

The merger announced last month by Ayman al-Zawahiri between al-Qaida and Algeria’s GSPC represents a significant strategic move by the al-Qaida leadership. It is the latest example of a new chapter in al-Qaida’s efforts to both outsource operations and more aggressively re-brand once autonomous or loosely affiliated groups. It is a well-known fact that al-Qaida has become highly decentralized in the years since 9/11 and the fundamental nature of the organization has changed dramatically. With no physical base from which to draw and train recruits or launch attacks, and with its hierarchy severely damaged, the role of al-Qaida-central (as some […]

ACCRA, Ghana — The name Robert Kabushenga probably languishes in obscurity in the West. Knowledge of the man is limited to Ugandans and anyone, be they diplomats, aid workers or journalists, with an interest in Uganda. That’s a shame, for Kabushenga is a strident foe of the free press, not unlike Zimbabwe’s disgraced, ex-information minister Jonathan Moyo. His zealotry manifests itself in his evangelical belief in the unrivaled brilliance of Uganda’s 20 years-and-counting president, Yoweri Museveni. In his rhetoric and his actions, Kabushenga has frequently crusaded against those reporting and documenting the realities of Uganda and the direction his patron […]

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“From today, I am declaring jihad against Ethiopia which has invaded our country and taken parts of our homeland.” The words of Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, leader of the Islamic Council that now controls much of Somalia, on Oct. 9. He was reacting to the seizure of a town by the Council’s opponents — reportedly alongside Ethiopian troops. It was the latest broadside in a rapidly escalating war of words — and sometimes of weapons — involving Somalia’s Islamists, the beleaguered transitional government and regional states. At stake: whether Somalia will become the battleground for a wider war, a new […]

ACCRA, Ghana — On the job at a Internet cafe near the city center, cousins Aaron Animley and Rashid Teye Appeynarh inflict their musical tastes on the paying customers. Their fondness for hip-hop, especially selections featuring four-letter words, unsurprisingly conforms to the passion of their peers across the Atlantic. The artists in permanent heavy rotation by the self-styled DJs include the late Tupac Shakur and hip-hop impresario Jay-Z. “I like Jay-Z from the scratch to the up. A boy on the street grow up to be a superstar, millionaire,” Appeynarh, 23, said. “He encourage me whenever I see him. The […]

BAMAKO, Mali — Lambert Coulibaly, 40, seems an unlikely proponent of the global marketplace. Employed as a maintenance worker by a hotel in the River Quarter of Mali’s capital, he spends not a little of his day sitting around and smoking. Yet Coulibaly commutes to his job each day on a Chinese-made Yamaha motorcycle. As he travels around Bamako, he is joined by tens of thousands of Malians on motorcycles and mopeds, the majority of which are also Chinese. “The Chinese motorcycles are cheaper. Plus the Japanese are more expensive,” Coulibaly said. He said his Chinese-made Yamaha cost about $620. […]