A woman holding her baby casts her vote, during municipal elections held in the city of Maputo, Mozambique, Nov. 20, 2013 (AP photo by Ferhat Momade).

Earlier this month, Mozambique passed an amnesty law that will allow Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the opposition Renamo party, to return from hiding and run in the Oct. 15 presidential election. In an email interview, Elisabete Azevedo-Harman, research fellow at Chatham House, discussed the evolving political landscape in Mozambique. WPR: How much support do the Renamo and ruling Frelimo parties have, and is there a clear front-runner for October’s elections? Elisabete Azevedo-Harman: Mozambique does not have a tradition of comprehensive electoral polls and it is therefore not possible to predict outcomes. General perceptions indicate that Frelimo and its presidential candidate […]

Tuareg Malian soldiers under the command of Colonel El-Hadj Ag Gamou patrol the streets of Gao, northern Mali, Feb. 16, 2013 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

Tuareg rebels and Malian government officials have begun meeting in Algeria to try and hammer out the terms of a lasting peace in northern Mali. In July, the parties signed a road map deal that paved the way for talks on a wide array of political and security issues. In September, they will return to the Algerian capital for three weeks of negotiations. But so far, the prospects for peace look slim with so many divisions among rebel groups. The Algeria talks take the place of the 2013 Ouagadougou peace accord signed in neighboring Burkina Faso, which had allowed government […]

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni arrives at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Aug. 4, 2014, to attend the U.S.-Africa Summit (AP photo by Cliff Owen).

On Jan. 25, 1986, rebel fighters overran the final hideouts of Uganda’s crumbling military government of Tito Okello after five years of bush war and tens of thousands of deaths. Yoweri Museveni’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) concluded its Maoist-inspired insurgency with a promise to end 24 years of violent, corrupt and militarized post-independence politics. The 42-year-old Museveni became an American ally, economic liberalizer and, in the eyes of many Ugandans, a youthful visionary who would marry the leftist progressivism of Julius Nyerere in Tanzania with the realpolitik exigencies of post-Cold War politics and Western hegemony. Nearly 30 years on, an […]

Hundreds of newly trained Shabab fighters perform military exercises in the Lafofe area some 18Km south of Mogadishu on Thursday Feb. 17, 2011 (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh).

More than any other organization, Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahedeen, widely known as al-Shabab, has left its mark on the recent history of Somalia. Political and radical Islam have a long history in the country, but no group has survived longer than al-Shabab, and no group has emerged stronger from challenges and setbacks. More than any other actor involved in the two-decade-old Somali conflict, al-Shabab has demonstrated its ability to adapt. Today, the group has emerged from an existential crisis and looks stronger than it has in years. Though al-Shabab is often referred to as simply a “terrorist group,” the term does […]

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay meets with South Sudan's former Vice President and now rebel leader Riek Machar at an undisclosed location in South Sudan, April 29, 2014 (AP photo by UNMISS).

“The System Worked.” That is the title of a new book by Daniel W. Drezner reviewing the role of institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization in the global financial crisis. Although the world economy tanked in 2008, Drezner argues, multilateral organizations helped save it from collapse. It is unlikely that anyone will write a book about the current wars in the Middle East and Ukraine with a similar title. A pithy summary of the United Nations’ rifts over Syria or NATO’s inability to halt Russia from seizing Crimea could be “the system flopped.” While the […]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the media after closed-door nuclear talks on Iran in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, July 15, 2014 (AP photo by Ronald Zak).

The United States and Iran held snap bilateral talks on Thursday in Geneva as part of an effort to overcome differences that have prevented the conclusion of a final, lasting agreement on the status of Tehran’s nuclear program. Curiously, two of the three senior U.S. government representatives that participated according to the sparse State Department announcement—Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns and the vice president’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan—are both expected to depart the Obama administration in a matter of months. This raised questions as to whether the Obama national security team was seeking to give the president some […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Jacob Zuma, at the BRICS summit, Brazil, July 15, 2014 (AP photo by Silvia Izquierdo).

The list of applicants for the job of “international financial crisis manager” just got a bit longer. After two years of negotiations, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—known collectively as the BRICS—have unveiled a new international financial institution. The centerpiece of the aptly named New Development Bank is a $50 billion pool of resources set aside to fund infrastructure and other development projects in the BRICS countries. However, the group also announced the creation of the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), a $100 billion fund designed to provide short-term liquidity support to members of the group, similar to the Western-dominated […]

A Kenyan farmer with a beehive in Tsavo, Kenya, Jan 7, 2010 (AP photo by Lucy King).

Leaders from Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda officially launched the East Africa Exchange early last month. In an email interview, Jendayi Frazer, managing partner of the East Africa Exchange and director of the Center for International Policy and Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University, discussed the East Africa Exchange’s role in improving farmers’ market access. WPR: How will the exchange serve as an interface between producers on the ground and emerging East African markets? Jendayi Frazer: The East African agricultural marketplace is characterized by information asymmetry, non-standardized products and high post-harvest losses. The East Africa Exchange (EAX) has developed a full set […]

1st Lt. Salvatore Buzzurro, USARAF military mentor, works with members of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces on basic soldiering skills in preparation for the African Union Mission in Somalia (U.S. Army Africa photo).

As African heads of state gather in Washington this week for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the continent looks relatively peaceful, at least in comparison to other regions. Even the agenda of the summit, which according to its website “will advance the Administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa,” reflects Africa’s relative stability. Though peace and security issues are admittedly included in the agenda, they seem more like a footnote than a priority. It is irrefutable that conflict in Africa has declined significantly over the past two decades and that African economies and the continent’s burgeoning middle classes represent a […]

Rebels sit in the now-emptied hospital in Malakal, South Sudan, February 26, 2014 (AP Photo/Ilya Gridneff).

As President Barack Obama convenes a summit of nearly 50 African leaders in Washington focused mainly on economic opportunity, security and health crises continue to undermine the continent’s potential. South Sudan and the Central African Republic are torn by civil war; Nigeria and Kenya are threatened by terrorist groups; and Sierra Leone and Liberia are suffering from the worst Ebola outbreak to date. But while Western powers like the U.S. and France continue to wield influence, it is increasingly Africa’s leaders who are driving events. This report covers developments in every region of sub-Saharan Africa, drawing on articles since the […]