A local resident greets Chinese and African workers on the Addis Ababa–Djibouti railway during a trial run in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sept. 28, 2016 (Imaginechina photo by Qin bin via AP).

Last month, at the world’s largest mining investment conference, held this year in South Africa, Ethiopian officials emphasized their priority of developing their country’s mining sector, which currently contributes less than 1 percent to GDP. By 2025, they hope to boost that to 10 percent. If successful, Ethiopian officials believe that the mining sector could become the “backbone” of Ethiopia’s industry as early as 2023. In 2016, the Ethiopian government entered the second phase of its so-called Growth and Transformation Plan, an ambitious economic initiative that envisions Ethiopia becoming a middle-income country by 2025. A key component of the plan […]

Iraqi Army soldiers celebrate with residents of liberated neighborhoods as they hold upside down a flag of the Islamic State, eastern Mosul, Iraq, Jan. 24, 2017 (AP Photo by Khalid Mohammed).

As the forces of the U.S.-led coalition continue to push the so-called Islamic State out of its heartland in Syria and Iraq, the group isn’t exactly disappearing. Rather, it has sought out new footholds across the region and beyond, stepping up transnational terror attacks to keep its brand from fading. World Politics Review has compiled 11 articles tracing the Islamic State’s evolution, and what its changing outlook means for the international battle to combat it. Purchase this special report as a Kindle e-book. A Complex Battlefield As the Islamic State Disperses, the United States Must Adapt Though it has been […]

Rwanda's president, Paul Kagame, waves to the crowd before speaking at a ceremony, Kinigi, Rwanda, Sept. 5, 2015 (AP photo by Ben Curtis).

On Monday, a court in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, ordered the release of a Rwandan-British woman accused of forming an armed group and plotting against the state. Violette Umawahoro, whose husband is an activist in the opposition Rwandan National Congress, was held incommunicado for more than two weeks after her arrest in mid-February. Her friends and family maintain she has no personal involvement in politics, and the court, in letting her out on bail, said prosecutors had presented no evidence to back up their claims. Umawahoro’s release could be viewed as a positive example of the judiciary placing an important check […]

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi during a press conference, Cairo, March 2, 2017 (AP photo by Nariman El-Mofty).

Egypt’s president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, is coming to Washington next week, and he can expect a warm welcome. After all, President Donald Trump praised him during last year’s election campaign as a “fantastic guy.” Following a meeting with el-Sisi in New York during the United Nations General Assembly in September, then-candidate Trump promised that under his administration, the United States “will be a loyal friend, not simply an ally, that Egypt can count on in the days and years ahead.” Unlike German Chancellor Angela Merkel, el-Sisi—who has thrown tens of thousands of dissidents into Egypt’s jails—will almost certainly get a handshake […]

Rwandan peackeepers wait to escort visiting members of the U.N. Security Council, Juba, South Sudan, Sept. 2, 2016 (AP photo by Justin Lynch).

Here are two excerpts from relatively recent remarks by U.S. officials on United Nations peacekeeping. One is from the Obama administration. One is from a Trump appointee. Can you work out which is which? Exhibit A: “If you look at the peace missions in Africa, it has been devastating to see the sexual exploitation, the fraud, the abuse that’s happening. And we have to acknowledge that some countries are contributing troops because they are making money off that.” Exhibit B: “Examples abound of peacekeepers not fulfilling their rudimentary responsibilities, such as not responding when citizens only five miles away from […]

Gabon's president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, ahead of his country's opening match at the African Cup of Nations soccer tournament, Libreville, Gabon, Jan. 13, 2017 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

When he was sworn in for a second seven-year term last September, Gabon’s president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, renewed a call for all political actors “to sit together and find solutions” after an election season marred by protests, violence and mass arrests. Six months later, the oil-producing Central African nation is still waiting for that dialogue to happen, and there has been little sign of progress. Earlier this month, Bongo proposed a round of talks that would begin March 28. Almost immediately, Jean Ping, the president’s main rival in last year’s vote, said he would not participate, dismissing the idea as […]

Mozambique’s president, Filipe Nyusi, addresses the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants, New York, Sept. 19, 2016 (AP photo by Richard Drew).

In October 2014, Mozambique held its fifth consecutive general elections since ending its civil war in 1992. After violence returned in 2013 between the government and the former rebel group turned political party known as Renamo, the two sides agreed to a cease-fire that included a deal on administering elections and a commitment to work together to reduce barriers to Renamo’s full political and economic inclusion. Less than six months later, though, the cease-fire fell apart. Thousands were forced from their homes by the fighting. Death squads assassinated at least a dozen Renamo officials, and two sustained international peace efforts—one […]

Students protest after nearly 25,000 applicants failed Liberia's university entrance exam, Monrovia, Aug. 28, 2013 (AP photo by Mark Darrough).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series about education policy in various countries around the world. Liberia’s plan to task independent operators with running some of its public schools has received extensive media attention over the past year. Not long after the plan was first unveiled, one outlet said it was an attempt to outsource the entire education sector, and a U.N. rapporteur accused Liberia of violating students’ right to education. In an email interview, Justin Sandefur, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development who is helping to coordinate the randomized evaluation of the […]

Morocco's current and former prime ministers, Saadeddine Othmani and Abdelilah Benkirane, applaud during a campaign meeting, Rabat, Morocco, September 25, 2016 (AP photo Abdeljalil Bounhar).

Earlier this month, Mohamed Daadaoui wrote in WPR that Morocco’s political impasse suggested the monarchy was growing frustrated with the experiment—undertaken after the 2011 Arab uprisings—that allowed the country’s leading Islamist party to assume nominal governmental power. Last week, that signal became clearer with King Mohammed VI’s decision to oust the party’s leader, Abdelilah Benkirane, from his post as prime minister. On Friday, Mohammed VI tapped former Foreign Minister Saadeddine Othmani—another top figure in the party, known as the Justice and Development Party, or PJD—to form a new government. The PJD endorsed the appointment over the weekend. Mohammed VI’s removal […]

A model of a new Egyptian capital on display at an investment conference in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, March 14, 2015 (AP photo by Hassan Ammar).

On Feb. 7, officials in Egypt’s Ministry of Housing abruptly announced that a Chinese company had backed out of a $3 billion agreement to construct the first phase of a new Egyptian capital in the desert 30 miles east of Cairo. The China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), a government-backed general contractor that has taken on megaprojects around the world, had secured a loan to cover the costs of building the wildly ambitious new capital, which has been criticized as a boondoggle. But it was unable to agree with the Egyptian government on an exact price per square meter to […]

Moroccan King Mohammed VI and President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d'Ivoire at a climate summit in  Marrakech, Morocco, Nov. 16, 2016 (Sipa via AP Images).

After more than three decades away, Morocco successfully accomplished its mission of rejoining the African Union during the body’s summit meeting in January. “I’m finally returning home… I’ve missed you all,” King Mohammed VI said to applause after his country’s readmission was confirmed. Instead of savoring the moment, however, the North African nation quickly moved on to its next diplomatic initiative: an application, confirmed last week, to join the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS. The bid is reportedly due to be considered in July. The move has been widely, and correctly, viewed as a continuation of the […]

People stand behind burnt out cars after a suicide bombing in Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria, Feb. 17, 2017 (AP photo by Hamza Suleiman).

Boko Haram, the Nigeria-based jihadi movement affiliated with the self-proclaimed Islamic State, has been in decline for more than two years, since it began to lose territory around Lake Chad under joint military pressure from Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon. After retreating from major towns in northeastern Nigeria such as Bama and Mubi, Boko Haram now controls only certain remote rural areas in that corner of the country. But even though its strength peaked back in 2015, Boko Haram is still a major threat to Nigeria and its neighbors, as the group’s decline has been uneven and frequently punctuated by […]

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is congratulated by supporters after winning another term in office, Khartoum, Sudan, April 26, 2010 (AP photo by Abd Raouf).

On March 1, Bakri Hassan Saleh was named prime minister of Sudan, the country’s first since 1989. The move immediately ignited talk of potential scenarios for a leadership transition in a country ruled by the same man since that same year. In an email interview, David Shinn, adjunct professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University and former deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, discusses the appointment’s political implications. WPR: What does the selection of a prime minister suggest for President Omar al-Bashir’s future? David Shinn: The selection of Bakri Hassan Saleh […]

A metro police officer fires rubber bullets at anti-immigrant protesters, Pretoria, South Africa, Feb. 24, 2017 (AP photo by Themba Hadebe).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on income inequality and poverty reduction in various countries around the world. Last month, a fresh wave of protests in South Africa against migrants—who are often accused of “stealing jobs”—again brought attention to the country’s high unemployment rate and sluggish economy. Meanwhile, the government is considering a hike in the minimum wage, the effects of which are being fiercely contested by economists and politicians. In an email interview, Johannesburg-based consultant David Ansara discusses how the country’s legacy of inequality is shaping the ongoing debate. WPR: What are the roots […]

Abdelilah Benkirane, Morocco's prime minister and the leader of the Islamist Justice and Development Party, or PJD, casting his ballot for parliamentary elections, Rabat, Oct. 7, 2016 (AP photo by Abdeljalil Bounhar).

Almost five months after Morocco’s leading Islamist party, the Justice and Development Party, or PJD, won a plurality in legislative elections, the country still does not have a government. In a region where Islamists in power are the exception—and whose political experiments, when they were in power, were short-lived—the PJD appeared well on its way toward a second term at the helm of the Moroccan government. But unlike past years, the task of building a coalition has proven difficult, if not impossible at this point. The usual coalition parties, all too eager in the past to join the government in […]

Malian troops join with former rebels during a joint patrol, Gao, Mali, Feb. 23, 2017 (AP photo by Baba Ahmed).

The arrival of interim authorities in northern Mali combined with the launch of joint security patrols involving soldiers and former rebels underline the government’s determination to make significant headway this year toward implementing a stagnating 2015 peace accord with separatist insurgents in the region. But both efforts have run into trouble, and the recently announced alliance of three jihadi groups is a reminder that the threat of disruptive extremist violence isn’t going away. Beginning in late February, interim authorities have been sent to the northern cities of Gao, Kidal and Menaka. Their arrival marks an attempt by the government, based […]

Army personnel outside the military headquarters in Maseru, Lesotho, after the country's prime minister fled to South Africa after what he called an attempted coup, Aug. 31, 2014 (AP photo).

It was once almost axiomatic that Africa was a continent of coups, with the military coup d’etat the principal mechanism for regime change. The figures told their own story, with over 200 coups and attempted coups between many countries’ independence in the early 1960s and 2012. The post-independence narrative became wearily familiar, with periods of civilian rule punctuated by military takeovers. There was, however, a perceptible change from the 1990s onward as a result of the democratic wave that swept Africa following the end of the Cold War. Although fragile, incomplete and imperfect, this wave produced a popular intolerance for […]

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