Despite the turbulence in South Africa’s domestic politics during the troubled presidency of Jacob Zuma, South Africa has continued to be viewed as the African continent’s natural leader, its principal conflict manager and its chief interlocutor with major external powers and international organizations. However, within the space of a week in late March and early April 2014, two separate yet related developments combined to bring this conventional wisdom into serious question for the first time. The first was on March 25, when the 2014 South African Defense Review—details of which were leaked to Reuters—highlighted a “critical state of decline” in […]

Returning the aging and ailing Abdelaziz Bouteflika to the presidency for a fourth term, the April 17 elections in Algeria delivered few surprises—much to the relief of the United States, France and the Algerian economic and political elite. At the same time, some Algerians questioned the legitimacy of the electoral process, whether by staying home in large numbers or through violent clashes in Kayblia, the Berber region in the northeast. Bouteflika’s supporters at home and abroad repeatedly underlined the necessity of stability in Algeria, a country with violent Islamist movements in the Sahara and one that suffered an exceedingly bloody […]

The 20th anniversary of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide this month was marked by the re-emergence of tensions between France and Rwanda, after Rwandan President Paul Kagame claimed that France bore some responsibility for the genocide.* In an email interview, Bruno Charbonneau, associate professor of political science at Laurentian University and the director of the Center for Peace and Humanitarian Missions Studies at Universite du Quebec a Montreal, Canada, explained the continuing tensions in France-Rwanda ties. WPR: To what extent have France and Rwanda succeeded at repairing ties in the past few years? Bruno Charbonneau: The two sides were talking, but the […]

On July 23, 1999, Morocco’s ruler, King Hassan II, died and was succeeded by his eldest son, Mohammed VI. Many Moroccans hoped that the succession would also entail a transition from a system of autocratic rule to a liberal democracy, and the new king’s early initiatives seemed likely to give substance to these hopes. Now, 15 years later, it is possible to see to what extent those hopes have been fulfilled and, if they have not, to determine why and to what degree they have been disappointed. The expectations for the new reign did not emerge, of course, in a […]

The first European Union-Africa summit since 2010 was held in Brussels earlier this month. Much of the media focus leading up to the summit was on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s failed bid to instigate a boycott of the meeting by African leaders after his wife was refused a visa to enter Europe. Beyond these headlines, however, the issue of trade relations between the two parties continues to be one of pressing importance. The EU has been negotiating Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries since 2002. The final declaration of the Brussels summit this year included […]

A panel discussion on Thursday organized by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at the New York University School of Law discussed options for U.S. policy toward Uganda, after relations were ruffled by a new Ugandan law signed in February that imposes harsh legal penalties, including life sentences, for homosexual acts. As the U.S. moves forward with its promised review of its relationship with Uganda, the question is whether the Obama administration can produce an effective response to the new law or if the U.S. will be boxed into a narrow response that feeds perceptions of American imperialism. […]

KIGALI, Rwanda—For a milestone year in Rwanda’s post-genocide history, 2014 began with an ugly start. In the early morning hours of Jan. 1, as revelers flooded Kigali’s nightspots, Patrick Karegeya lay half a continent away, dead in a Johannesburg hotel room. Once among Rwanda’s most powerful men, Karegeya had served for a decade as Rwanda’s head of external intelligence before falling out with the regime of President Paul Kagame. After spending time in prison, in 2007 he fled to South Africa, where he was granted asylum and put under state protection. But sometime on New Years Eve, in the upscale […]

With Chad’s announcement in early April that it was pulling its peacekeeping troops out of the Central African Republic (CAR), the country finally seemed to be bending to widespread criticism of the actions of its soldiers. Things had gone from bad to worse for Chad’s armed forces, the ANT, from a high point last year when its role in support of France’s Operation Serval in Mali was widely praised. The ANT’s achievement in Mali has been overshadowed by recent events in the CAR, including reports from the African Union’s MISCA peacekeeping force in Bangui that Chadian soldiers in a suburb […]