Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi meets with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 14. 2015 (Photo from the Office of the Italian Prime Minister).

Earlier this month, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was in Kenya to discuss trade ties and pledge support for counterterrorism operations in East Africa. In an email interview, Mattia Toaldo, a policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, discussed Italy’s outreach to Africa. WPR: How extensive are Italy’s ties with Africa, and what are the main areas of cooperation? Mattia Toaldo: After the end of the Cold War, and with development aid money drying up, the Italian presence in sub-Saharan Africa quickly waned. But following a policy review conducted two years ago under then-Foreign Minister Emma Bonino, Italy […]

President Barack Obama delivers a speech at the Safaricom Indoor Arena, Nairobi, Kenya, July 26, 2015 (AP photo by Ben Curtis).

On his current visit to Kenya and Ethiopia, U.S. President Barack Obama has been wise to promote stronger business ties between Africa and the United States. The U.S. has lagged behind rivals, notably China, when it comes to commercial engagement with the continent. The Obama administration is well aware of the problem, and the president’s trip is not the first attempt to fix it. But meaningful progress will require Washington to go beyond rhetoric and actively help to enhance governance frameworks that currently prevent U.S. companies from competing effectively in many African countries. For several years now, the Obama administration […]

Protestors gather during an anti-extremism march, Tunis, Tunisia, March 29, 2015 (AP photo by Hichem Jouini).

On Thursday, Tunisia’s parliament adopted a series of articles in a new counterterrorism bill to replace its authoritarian 2003 law, part of the government’s efforts to bolster security in response to rising domestic and regional threats. Amid outcry from human rights groups, deputies overwhelmingly voted in favor of three provisions authorizing the death penalty for acts of terrorism, despite a de facto moratorium on executions that Tunisia has observed since 1991. Critics argue that the bill, which was issued following the March 26 attack on the Bardo museum that left 22 dead, falls short of international rights standards—notably in its […]

An armed soldier gets ready to cast his vote in the presidential elections in Bujumbura, Burundi, July 21, 2015 (AP photo/Jerome Delay).

The crisis that first unfolded in Burundi in April when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his bid for a third term entered a new phase last week, as an unidentified armed group clashed with the army in the north of the country near the Rwandan border. Amid rumors of Rwanda supporting the rebels, regional tensions mounted. At the same time, a new, self-declared National Council established by Burundian exiles and opponents of Nkurunziza emerged as a new form of political resistance to his efforts to hold onto power despite international condemnation and widespread protests at home. Yet while Nkurunziza’s opponents organized, […]

French President Francois Hollande delivers a speech upon his arrival at Houari Boumediene airport in Algiers, Algeria, June 15, 2015 (AP photo by Sidali Djarboub).

Ever since the end of the colonial period, in 1956 for Morocco and in 1962 for Algeria, France has had a complex and often ambivalent relationship with the two former colonies that formed the core of its North African empire. Social and economic ties have drawn all three countries closer together, but diplomatic tensions, usually involving Algeria, remain. In a recent reversal, however, Morocco has aired resentments over its colonial past after a series of recent spats with Paris, while Algeria has a newfound preference for closer French trade and security ties. French relations with Algiers were strained for many […]

An Egyptian armored vehicle patrols the border with the Gaza Strip, July 2, 2015 (AP photo by Adel Hana).

Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula is an insurgent’s dream. The corridor between Asia and Africa encompasses deserts, soaring mountains, plunging canyons and an expansive coastline. Most of its 23,000 square miles, roughly the same area as West Virginia, exist outside the control of the Egyptian state. Decades of neglect by successive Egyptian governments and limited economic development have resulted in a Sinai population that is largely disenfranchised and impoverished. Dark networks and crime syndicates proliferate, smuggling everything from drugs and weapons to people, to and from mainland Egypt, Gaza, Israel and further afield. In an area where development is limited and where […]

Hundreds of Berbers protest in front of a walled area where Algiers' newspapers are headquartered in support of Berbers in Ghardaia, Algiers, Algeria, July 8, 2015 (AP photo by Sidali Djarboub).

Last week, at least 22 Algerians died in clashes between ethnic Arabs and Berbers in the oasis city of Ghardaia, where tensions have grown for the last two years between the two communities over jobs, housing and land. In an email interview, Dalia Ghanem-Yazbeck, a research analyst at the Carnegie Middle East Center, discussed ethnic violence in Algeria. WPR: What are the reasons behind the violent clashes between Arabs and Berbers in recent years? Dalia Ghanem-Yazbeck: The conflict between the Arabs and Berbers in Algeria dates back to 1975, when clashes broke out between the two communities for unknown reasons. […]

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari salutes his supporters during his inauguration, Abuja, Nigeria, May 29, 2015 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

On Tuesday, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari fired all of Nigeria’s military chiefs in preparation for a fresh multinational offensive against the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram. Despite an international coalition having driven insurgents out of numerous towns and villages in northeastern Nigeria, Boko Haram has ramped up attacks and suicide bombings recently, killing over 250 people this month. Buhari was elected in March, upsetting incumbent Goodluck Jonathan in a historic victory. “For the first time in Nigeria’s history as an independent nation, an incumbent leader was ousted not in a coup, but at the ballot box,” Sarah Chayes wrote in […]

A crowd listens to Selahattin Demirtas, leader of the Turkish pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), speak at a campaign rally, Paris, France, May 2, 2015 (Photo by Aurore Belot/NurPhoto via AP).

Editor’s note: The following article is one of 30 that we’ve selected from our archives to celebrate World Politics Review’s 15th anniversary. You can find the full collection here. In London, a group of Americans meet at a fundraiser in a private home in support of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Across the Atlantic, in Maryland, the construction of a $100 million mosque complex is funded by Turkey’s Presidency of Religious Affairs, or Diyanet. In Canada, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress lobbies the government to strengthen its official aid to Ukraine, while urging individuals to directly support the Ukrainian army by donating for […]

South African President Jacob Zuma arrives for the inauguration of the new Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Abuja, Nigeria, May 29, 2015 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

The relationship between South Africa and Nigeria, generally troubled since the end of apartheid in 1994, deteriorated markedly in recent years during the respective presidencies of Jacob Zuma and Goodluck Jonathan. This crisis in relations is not in the interests of either country or the wider continent, which needs its two hegemons to work in collaboration to address Africa’s myriad problems. Both sides seem locked into antagonistic postures from which there appears to be no easy exit. But there is a way out. Ties already in a freefall under Zuma and Jonathan reached their nadir in May, when Nigeria temporarily […]

Health workers wash their hands after taking a blood specimen from a child to test for the Ebola virus in an area where a 17-year old boy died from the virus on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, June 30, 2015 (AP photo by Abbas Dulleh).

On Tuesday an independent panel of experts released a scathing report criticizing the World Health Organization’s (WHO) response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. The panel, led by the former head of Oxfam, Dame Barbara Stocking, said that politics and bureaucracy were to blame for the WHO’s mismanaged response and called for the WHO to create a new division to coordinate emergency responses. The report comes days after Liberia, which was previously believed to be Ebola-free, confirmed two new cases of the disease, prompting fears of a resurgence. While often harsh, the panel’s findings are unsurprising. As Jeremy Youde […]

An employee at the water facility for the Great Man-Made River project outside Benghazi, Libya, July 13, 2011 (AP photo by Sergey Ponomarev).

With water scarcity increasing political tension and threatening economic instability in countries across the world, transboundary water disputes often become highly charged and bitterly divisive. A prominent example has been the Nile basin in northeast Africa, where the nations sharing the Nile’s waters have for years sparred over their usage allotments amid concerns that upstream countries may interfere with water flow into downstream countries. Most recently, the region’s flashpoint for transboundary water conflict has been Ethiopia’s construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam, which within several years will stretch across the Blue Nile at the Ethiopian-Sudanese border. The controversial project has […]

View of the Tenere Desert, Niger, Oct. 8, 2005 (photo by Flickr user Matthew Paulson, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license).

In May, amid increased migrant flows from Africa to Europe, Niger approved a bill that will translate the United Nations protocol against the smuggling of migrants into national law. In an email interview, Oliver Kaplan, an assistant professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and associate director of the Human Trafficking Center, discussed the U.N. protocol and Niger’s efforts to implement it. WPR: What are the main provisions of the U.N. protocol against smuggling migrants? Oliver Kaplan: The U.N. protocol against smuggling migrants contains provisions for the criminalization of smuggling and the care […]

South African President Jacob Zuma, cenetr, and delegates prepare for a photo op at the African Union Summit, Johannesburg, June 14 2015 (AP photo by Shiraaz Mohamed).

At the African Union’s biannual summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, on June 13-15, the principal task was to consolidate the “Africa rising” narrative—the belief that the continent has moved onto a new and more positive political and economic trajectory over the past decade. Two of the principal themes of that narrative are good governance and democratization. While the AU’s formal declarations in this area are encouraging, several developments suggest the gap between AU theory and practice will once again be persistent. Moreover, the very structure of the organization may stand in the way of progress. The summit was overshadowed by […]