Filipe Nyusi is sworn in as the newly elected Mozambican president, Maputo, Mozambique, Jan. 15, 2015 (AP photo by Ferhat Momade).

Earlier this month, fears of Mozambique sliding back into civil war receded after Afonso Dhlakama—the leader of the rebel group turned political party, the Mozambican National Resistance, known as Renamo—toned down his bellicose rhetoric over last year’s contested election. Dhlakama had disputed the October 2014 results, claiming electoral fraud, and Renamo refused to take up its seats in Parliament, demanding a share of power in the provinces where it won majorities over the longtime ruling Frelimo party. Dhlakama threatened to seize control of the provinces by force. To end the boycott, newly elected President Filipe Nyusi, a member of Frelimo, […]

A worker cuts a diamond, reflecting Botswana’s attempt to control stages of diamond production beyond mining, Gaborone, Botswana, March 18, 2008 (AP photo by Themba Hadebe).

The past year has seen dramatic declines in the prices of global commodities. Between June 2014 and the beginning of this year, crude oil prices fell by 50 percent to around $50 a barrel. Similarly, mineral prices have seen a drastic fall since the peak of the “commodity supercycle” in early 2011. Between then and April of this year, iron ore prices fell by 70 percent, coal prices by 54 percent and copper prices by 40 percent. Many countries dependent on revenues from these commodities have been hit hard. Venezuela is unable to import food and medicine to satisfy the […]

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn addresses the media, Berlin, Germany, Dec. 3, 2014 (AP photo by Michael Sohn).

There are few political posters to be found on the streets of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, ahead of Sunday’s general elections. Print media coverage is remarkably cryptic. The few debates held on TV have been derided by some Ethiopians as boring and even embarrassing for the opposition, which today is weaker and more divided than it has ever been. Election results seem like a forgone conclusion, with good reason. In 2010, the longtime ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), won 546 out of 547 seats in Parliament. The country’s political context has not changed in the five […]

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 BRICS grouping must rank as one of the oddest geopolitical blocs in history. It was born in 2001 from the mind of a Wall Street economist as little more than a mnemonic shorthand device to describe the growing importance of developing economies. Ever since, the five countries it comprises—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, a later addition—have been trying to transform their snappy acronym into a global player. Nobody has promoted the ambition to leverage the BRICS bloc into a source of influence more enthusiastically than Russian President Vladimir Putin, who sees the grouping as a potential vehicle […]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry with Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh after arriving at the Presidential Palace, Djibouti, May 6, 2015 (State Department photo).

China is in negotiations with Djibouti to open a military base in the country, adding to its current roster of French, U.S., Japanese and EU military facilities. In an email interview, David Styan, lecturer in politics at Birkbeck College, University of London and author of the report “Djibouti: Changing Influence in the Horn’s Strategic Hub,” discussed Djibouti’s foreign relations. WPR: Who are Djibouti’s main regional partners? David Styan: The dominant regional partner is Ethiopia. Djibouti’s small economy is essentially a gateway; the vast majority of Addis Ababa’s fast-growing trade flows transit through Djibouti’s new container and oil terminals. China’s reconstruction […]

The tanker “Foscari” arrives in port carrying 562 immigrants, Naples, Italy, May 6, 2015 (Photo by Alessio Paduano/NurPhoto, Sipa via AP Images).

The recent spike in the numbers of migrants trying to reach Europe’s Mediterranean shores, accompanied by media images of fatal capsizings and other tragic scenes of human suffering, has reminded people of the moral as well as the humanitarian and political dimensions of the issue. This week, in response to months of urgent appeals, the European Union drafted recommendations for a quota system to distribute asylum-seekers and other migrants across the EU, to relieve some of the burden on the southern European states of Italy, Malta and Greece. But the debate over these migrants remains divisive and passionate. World media […]

Senegalese soldiers practice live fire maneuvers during a training exercise in support of Exercise Western Accord 14, June 19, 2014 (U.S. Army Africa photo by Staff Sgt. Donna Davis).

Earlier this month, Senegal’s foreign minister announced that the country was sending 2,100 troops to Saudi Arabia to participate in the coalition against Houthi rebels in Yemen. In an email interview, Alex Thurston, a visiting associate professor at Georgetown University, discussed Senegal-Saudi ties. WPR: How extensive are bilateral ties between Senegal and Saudi Arabia, and what has been their trajectory in recent years? Alex Thurston: Senegal and Saudi Arabia established diplomatic relations in 1961, following Senegal’s independence the previous year. The bilateral relationship has been strong. Senegal joined the Saudi-backed Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in 1969, the year of […]

Demonstrators climb aboard a military truck as they celebrate what they perceive to be an attempted military coup d’etat, Bujumbura, Burundi, May 13, 2015 (AP photo by Berthier Mugiraneza).

Burundi is in the midst of a deepening political crisis that has many observers worried about the prospects of mass violence. Dozens of people have been killed and tens of thousands of people have fled in recent weeks. On Wednesday, Maj. Gen. Godefroid Niyombare launched a coup attempt against President Pierre Nkurunziza. World Politics Review partnered with the Global Dispatches podcast to produce this interview with WPR contributor Jonathan W. Rosen on the situation in the East African country. Rosen, speaking from Kigali, Rwanda, where he is reporting on the evolving situation, is interviewed by Global Dispatches host Mark Leon […]

Egypt’s ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi sits in a defendant cage in the Police Academy courthouse in Cairo, Egypt, May 8, 2014 (AP photo by Tarek el-Gabbas).

When a democratically elected president is forcibly removed from power and sentenced to prison less than two years later, the optics alone are troubling. Thus, when Egypt’s former President Mohammed Morsi was sentenced to 20 years in prison last month, along with dozens of other former Morsi regime officials, some of whom received the death penalty, Egyptian and international legal experts rightfully questioned the impartiality of the judges presiding over the cases. Such concerns are corroborated by the recent sentencing of deposed President Hosni Mubarak to a mere three years in prison—roughly equivalent to his time already served—for embezzling over […]

Fishing boats in Elmina, Ghana, Feb. 6, 2005 (photo by Flickr user stignygaard licensed under the Creative Commons  Attribution 2.0 Generic license).

When the independent rights-monitoring group Freedom House released its latest “Freedom of the Press” report last week, an accompanying world map carried an almost-hidden surprise. The color-coded depiction of media rights across the planet pointed to a predictable breakdown: Europe and North America looked placidly green, while the purple shades of repression dominated most of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. There was, however, a remarkable spot of green on the western edge of Africa. It looked out of place, as if it were a mistake. The small West African nation of Ghana, it turns out, is an anomaly of […]

Incumbent Congo President Joseph Kabila holds the Congolese flag as he takes the oath of office as he is sworn in for another term, Kinshasa, Congo, Dec. 20, 2011 (AP photo by John Bompengo).

For Africa’s so-called presidents for life, bypassing term limits meant to ensure the peaceful, democratic transfer of power has long been business as usual. But as recent articles in World Politics Review show, presidential term limits have now become a frontline issue in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Togo and Burkina Faso. For the next two weeks, all of the articles linked below are free for non-subscribers. Burundi Tensions in Burundi ahead of next month’s elections flared up this week after a Constitutional Court ruling cleared the way for a potential third term for President Pierre Nkurunziza. Burundi Tensions […]

A soldier stands between demonstrators and riot police facing off in the Musaga district of Bujumbura, Burundi, May 4, 2015 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

When Burundi’s ruling party, known the CNDD-FDD, chose President Pierre Nkurunziza on April 25 to run for a third five-year term in a presidential election scheduled for June, his supporters did their best to mark the occasion with festivity. In the capital, Bujumbura, hundreds of youths in the party’s red, white and green t-shirts jogged alongside the presidential motorcade, chanting the party’s theme song. Many had legitimate cause to celebrate. Under Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader elected president in 2005, Burundi had emerged from a 10-year civil war to become what many hailed as an international model of peace-building. Despite […]

Young Malian migrants watch the border between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla from a clandestine immigrant camp located at Mount Gourougou, near Nador, Morocco, Nov. 6, 2014 (AP photo by Santi Palacios).

Migration from Africa to Europe is a hotly debated topic. Headlines about migrants crossing the Sahara Desert or the Mediterranean Sea appear regularly in major international newspapers, most infamously in April, when at least 1,000 migrants died on two capsized ships between Libya and Italy. In Brussels, European leaders meet frequently to discuss policy responses to irregular border crossings and migrant deaths at sea, time and again advancing cooperation with North African states as a potentially successful strategy. But reporting has mainly focused on the European perspective, while North African states’ policy approaches and civil societies’ attitudes toward irregular migrants […]

Guinea troops fall over each other as they clamp down on an opposition protest, Conakry, Guinea, April 20, 2015 (AP photo by Youssouf Bah).

Opposition supporters clashed with police in Guinea’s capital, Conakry, on Monday, with reports that more than 20 people were injured, seven of them shot. For over two weeks, the opposition has taken to the streets to protest the government’s decision to hold a presidential election Oct. 11, violating a 2013 agreement to hold local elections first. Local elections were last held in Guinea in 2005. Though local leaders are supposed to serve a term of five years, local elections were not held in 2010, when the country was still transitioning back to democracy after a military coup in 2008. At […]

British Prime Minister David Cameron walks by French President Francois Hollande during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels, March 19, 2015 (AP photo by Geert Vanden Wijngaert).

Would you rather follow David Cameron or Francois Hollande into battle? The British prime minister and the French president have both had to navigate a steady stream of small wars, and both face criticism for their responses. Cameron was an early advocate for the international intervention in Libya in 2011, but stands accused of mishandling its chaotic aftermath. Hollande won praise for sending troops to stem the conflicts in Mali and the Central African Republic (CAR) in 2013, but France has struggled to extract itself from either of its turbulent former colonies. The two leaders’ decisions have been under particular […]