A woman celebrates in Freetown as Sierra Leone is declared Ebola-free, Nov. 7, 2015 (AP photo by Aurelie Marrier d'Unienvil).

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa, it seems, is nearly over. On Nov. 6, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that Sierra Leone had gone 42 days without any new cases of Ebola and officially declared the country Ebola-free. Two months earlier, on Sept. 3, the WHO made a similar declaration for Liberia—though the disease reappeared there on Nov. 20. Guinea has gone more than two weeks without any new cases, raising hopes that it, too, will soon cross the 42-day threshold to being free of Ebola. When this current Ebola epidemic ends, it will have the dubious distinction of […]

Protesting youths outside the Masjid Musa Mosque, Mombasa, Kenya, Oct. 25, 2013 (AP photo).

Mombasa, Kenya’s second-largest city and historical center of commerce, has long been something of a paradox. As a hub of Indian Ocean trade for more than a millennium, the city of 1.2 million has a deeply cosmopolitan past that’s visible in its diversity of ethnicities, religions, fashions and architectural styles. Today, a short stroll from Fort Jesus, the imposing seaside garrison built by the Portuguese in 1596, leads into an old town shaped by Arab, Indian, British and Swahili influences. Here, the narrow, winding streets, amid houses adorned with intricately carved doors and balconies, are filled with men in ankle-length […]

U.N. Special Envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon, left, walks with Saleh Almkhozom of the General National Congress, Tripoli, Libya, Jan. 9, 2015 (AP photo by Mohammed Ben Khalifa).

United Nations-led talks to resolve Libya’s unrest have been undermined by revelations of extensive links between the outgoing U.N. mediator, Bernardino Leon, and the United Arab Emirates, one of the regional powers that openly backs one side of the civil war. But not everything is lost, provided Leon’s successor, the veteran German and U.N. diplomat Martin Kobler, can overcome three outstanding obstacles. Leon was trying to broker a country-wide cease-fire and a national unity deal between competing factions that have fought each other since the summer of 2014 and split Libya into two rival governments: the internationally recognized one in […]

Senegalese soldiers practice live fire maneuvers during an AFRICOM training exercise, Senegal, June 19, 2014 (U.S. Army Africa photo by Staff Sgt. Donna Davis).

U.S. military forces are taking a more active role in combating the Boko Haram insurgency that has killed more than 30,000 people since its outbreak in 2009 and spread from northeastern Nigeria to neighboring Cameroon, Niger and Chad. The move is consistent with the general U.S. approach to security on the African continent, which leans heavily on enabling local forces to combat terrorist groups, but which has failed to stem a rise in Islamist violence in recent years. President Barack Obama notified Congress in mid-October that he had ordered 300 military personnel into northern Cameroon to support reconnaissance flights of […]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks at the Milan Expo in Milan, Italy, Oct. 17, 2015 (State Department photo).

Expo Milan, a World’s Fair whose central theme was feeding the planet, officially closed its doors on Oct. 31, after six months that saw 20 million visitors pass through this once swampy area on the outskirts of the city’s industrial center. For Italy, the expo was a huge financial gamble that seems to have paid off. Having emerged from the 2008 recession and political crisis across the eurozone, the government was seeking to put a fresh face on the country’s national brand, already associated with great food and wonderful tourist sites. But Expo Milan was more than an exercise in […]

Nidaa Tounes party leader Beji Caid Essebsi during a speech at an electoral meeting, Tunis, Tunisia, Nov. 15, 2014 (AP photo by Aimen Zine).

Mounting tensions between opposing factions of Tunisia’s ruling Nidaa Tounes party came to a head Monday, when 32 of its 86 lawmakers announced their resignation from the governing bloc in parliament. Just days prior, a meeting of the party’s executive board turned violent, indicating that long-simmering internal feuds might finally boil over. If confirmed, the shakeup would leave Nidaa Tounes’ coalition partner, Ennahda, the Islamist party that was elected in 2011 to lead the constitution-drafting process that ended last year, with the plurality of seats in parliament—69 of 217. Divisions within Nidaa Tounes are not new. The party, which comprises […]

Burundians carry their belongings on bicycles, Bujumbura, Burundi, Nov. 7, 2015 (AP photo).

It is hard to imagine that any crisis could do more harm to the United Nations than the Syrian war. But mass bloodshed in Burundi, whose long-brewing meltdown has become the latest victim of Russia’s diplomatic standoff with the West at the U.N., could yet achieve this unenviable feat. Diplomats and conflict specialists are, to put it mildly, in an unmitigated panic over Burundi. This April, the country’s president, Pierre Nkurunziza, announced that he would sidestep constitutional limits to run for a third term. Despite an abortive coup in May, ongoing violence and criticism from the U.S., Nkurunziza went on […]

African Union forces during the Amani Africa II exercise, Nov. 8, 2015 (Photo from the South African Government Communication and Information System).

Last month, 5,400 troops from across Africa participated in a military exercise in South Africa, the last joint exercise before the African Standby Force becomes fully operational. In an email interview, Gilbert Khadiagala, a professor of international relations at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, discussed the state of multilateral security cooperation in Africa. WPR: What are the planned objectives for African multinational security cooperation, in terms of institutional architecture and force structures, and where do those plans currently stand in terms of implementation? Gilbert Khadiagala: The African Union’s (AU) Peace and Security Architecture includes the creation of […]

Anti-government protesters march with labor union activists, denouncing the government's failure to address unemployment and rising prices, Rabat, Morocco, March 31, 2013 (AP photo by Abdeljalil Bounhar).

In Morocco’s largest protest since 2011, more than 20,000 demonstrators, primarily youth, rallied in Tangier on Saturday, decrying the exorbitant cost of water and electricity. Although mass gatherings are scarce in Morocco, where the king holds a tight grip on power, the past three weeks have been punctuated by demonstrations over utilities prices, with protests spreading to other major cities in recent days. Protesters lashed out against Amendis, a subsidiary of the French utility company Veolia Environnement, which has serviced the relatively impoverished northern cities of Tangier and Tetouan since 2002. “Amendis, go home, Tangier is not yours,” demonstrators chanted, […]

Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, talks with Zambian President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, China, March 30, 2015 (AP photo by Feng Li).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on the impact of falling oil and commodities prices on resource-exporting countries. Zambia’s economy, which relies heavily on copper and its derivate products, is coming under strain as commodity prices drop and foreign investments wane. Worse, China’s economic slowdown has also weakened Zambia’s growth, as the two countries are close trading partners. In an email interview, Irmgard Erasmus, a fixed-income economist at NKC African Economics, discussed the risks for its economy. WPR: How important are commodities for the Zambian economy, and what effect have falling commodity prices had on […]

French peacekeeping soldiers patrol the city of Bangui, Central African Republic, Sept. 30, 2015 (AP photo).

A new date of Dec. 13 has been set for national elections in the Central African Republic, after the vote was postponed again last month due to renewed violence. A constitutional referendum, which was also scheduled for October, will now be held on Dec. 6. However, there are many who fear the electoral process is being rushed. Legislative and presidential elections were originally scheduled to take place in February 2015, but were repeatedly delayed due to security concerns and the failure to register all voters. Another outbreak of deadly violence in the capital, Bangui, in late September—in which at least […]

Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza is sworn in for a third term in Bujumbura, Burundi, Aug. 20, 2015 (AP photo by Gildas Ngingo).

Three months after Burundi held its third elections since the end of its long civil war, violence has only deepened in the country. July’s fraught presidential vote took place in an environment tainted by government crackdowns and fear, and there has been an alarming upsurge in arrests, detentions and killings, with bodies found almost daily in the streets of Bujumbura, the capital. On Monday, President Pierre Nkurunziza warned that Burundians must give up any illegal firearms by Saturday, or risk being “dealt with as enemies of the nation.” Burundi had already descended into crisis in April, following the announcement of […]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at the India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi, India, Oct. 29, 2015 (AP photo by Bernat Armangue).

Last week, I was in New Delhi to attend the Asian Forum on Global Governance, at the same time that 40 African leaders were gathering in the city to meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the India-Africa Forum Summit. The scheduling was a coincidence, but the official summit added some real-world insight to the nongovernmental deliberations at the Asian Forum. Relations among the countries of the Global South have become an important feature of the debate about how to reform the institutions of global governance. However, in contrast to the predictable Cold War-era positions of the Non-Aligned Movement […]

International Monetary Find Managing Director Christine Lagarde listens as World Bank President Jim Yong Kim addresses a forum in Lima, Peru, Oct. 7, 2015 (AP photo by Rodrigo Abd).

Last month, the board of governors of the World Bank gathered for their annual meeting in Lima, Peru. To much fanfare, they released new data demonstrating that for the first time, the percentage of the global population living in extreme poverty—that is, on less than $1.25 a day—has dropped below 10 percent. The international community has much to celebrate with this achievement, but the work is not done. In fact, the remaining zones of abject poverty around the world are the toughest cases yet. They are often located in zones of habitual conflict where, repeatedly, the World Bank, the United […]

Workers inspect the rubble of a food storage warehouse destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrike in Sanaa, Yemen, Oct. 26, 2015 (AP photo by Hani Mohammed).

Is it riskier to be an austere politician or a humane one? Since the global financial crisis broke in 2008, economic austerity has been the single biggest source of contention in global politics. Some leaders, like British Prime Minister David Cameron, have persuaded voters to accept big cuts to state spending. Others, such as outgoing Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, have lost power to rivals that offered less painful fiscal alternatives. Yet if politicians talk up “austerity” at their own peril, they may find that the “humane” label is becoming equally costly. In Europe in particular, governments are struggling with […]