Equatorial Guinea’s president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, during the India-Africa Forum Summit, New Delhi, India, Oct. 29, 2015 (AP photo by Manish Swarup).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Associate Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. In March 2007, a group of NGOs filed a complaint in France against the ruling families of a handful of African countries, alleging that property and other assets they owned in France were obtained via corruption. A decade of legal wrangling later, the first trial in the so-called “biens mal acquis,” or ill-gotten gains, affair is now in full swing, with hearings unfolding in Paris in the case of Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the vice president of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea […]

Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz speaks during the India-Africa Forum Summit, New Delhi, India, Oct. 29, 2015 (AP photo by Bernat Armangue).

Earlier this month, Mauritania announced it would delay a constitutional referendum planned for mid-July, rescheduling it for Aug. 5. Among the most significant changes included in the proposed reforms would be the elimination of the country’s Senate, a proposition that has predictably spurred opposition from senators. The delay risks increasing political tension amid speculation about President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz’s plans for when his term expires in 2019. In an email interview, Imad Mesdoua, senior consultant at Control Risks and a specialist on North Africa and West Africa, describes the substance of the referendum and reactions from across the political […]

Nigerian soldiers man a checkpoint, Gwoza, Nigeria, April 8, 2015 (AP photo by Lekan Oyekanmi).

Vast ungoverned spaces, weak security institutions, corrupt administrations and scarce economic opportunities are all factors contributing to the entrenchment of Islamist extremism in West Africa and the Sahel. Regional governments have struggled to respond to the threat and ensure security, and in some cases their actions have only made things worse. Could the planned “G5 Sahel Joint Force” represent a turning point? This WPR Special Report assesses what’s at stake. Purchase this special report as a Kindle e-book. The Roots of Conflict How West Africa Became Fertile Ground for AQIM and ISIS Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and the so-called […]

Jean-Rock Sobi, right, representative of the Democratic Front of the Central African People, talks with Anicet Dologuele of the Union for Central African Renewal after signing a peace deal, Rome, June 19, 2017 (AP photo by Domenico Stinellis).

On June 19, Central African Republic’s government and more than a dozen armed groups signed a peace deal mediated in Rome by the Catholic Community of Sant’Egidio, briefly raising hopes of a break, or at least a reduction, in violence. Those hopes were seemingly dashed the following day, when heavy fighting resumed in the town of Bria. The town’s mayor said at least 100 people were killed. In an email interview, Evan Cinq-Mars, United Nations adviser with the Center for Civilians in Conflict, explains how the dynamic of the conflict in Central African Republic has evolved and why the situation […]

South Sudanese refugee children catch water overflowing from a reservoir being filled at the Imvepi reception center, northern Uganda, June 9, 2017 (AP photo by Ben Curtis).

Last Tuesday, which was World Refugee Day, the United Nations refugee agency reported three new shipwrecks off the coast of Libya involving vessels carrying refugees and migrants. One of them, a rubber dinghy, “began taking on water just hours into its journey,” and 129 people were missing after it capsized. Another boat, which was carrying 85 people, including many families with children, broke in two before sinking. The U.N. reports that more than 77,000 people have tried to make the sea crossing to Europe so far this year. The U.N. refugee agency’s Global Trends study for 2016, released to coincide […]

Two Japan Self-Defense Forces destroyers anchored at the Port of Djibouti, during a break in an antipiracy mission in the waters off Somalia, Jan. 19, 2015 (Kyodo photo via AP).

The world’s newest mega-dock opened last month in Djibouti, the strategic real estate agent to world powers that is leasing access to the highest bidder. In a move to widen its African investment portfolio, China fronted the $590 million needed for the 1,700-acre Doraleh Multi-Purpose Port, the first of four docks and other infrastructure projects in Africa that are central to China’s grandiose Maritime Silk Road master plan. This comes as Djibouti gets more crowded. The small, strategically located country in the Horn of Africa already hosts U.S., French and Japanese military bases and will soon add a Saudi military […]

A Fulani woman cooks outside her house, Daruga, Nigeria, June 12, 2005 (AP photo by George Osodi).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and senior editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss the next phase of Syria’s civil war and the succession shake-up in Saudi Arabia. For the Report, Linus Unah talks with Peter Dörrie about how competition for resources is fueling violence between Fulani herders and farming communities in Nigeria, a situation the U.N. warns could “spin out of control.” If you’d like to sign up for the beta version of WPR’s Africa-only subscription, you can do so here. It’s free for the first two months. And if you like what you hear on Trend […]

A refugee builds a temporary shelter in the Imvepi camp, Uganda, April 6, 2017 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Associate Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. The United Nations used World Refugee Day to launch an appeal for $8 billion to address South Sudan’s refugee crisis, as news from inside South Sudan indicated there was no sign it would be letting up anytime soon. At a summit on Friday in Uganda that authorities hoped would raise $2 billion, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres praised that country’s “exemplary refugee policy,” under which refugees enjoy freedom of movement and are permitted to work. However, Uganda is currently hosting nearly […]

Mali’s president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, speaks with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and French President Emmanuel Macron during their visit with soldiers from Operation Barkhane, Gao, Mali, May 19, 2017 (AP photo by Christophe Petit).

Mali’s capital, Bamako, experienced two disruptions last weekend: a protest against a proposed constitutional referendum on Saturday, followed by a terrorist attack on Sunday. The attack, claimed by the extremist alliance Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen, killed five people at a resort on the city’s outskirts and, naturally, grabbed international headlines. But the protest, and the events that gave rise to it, reveal more about how the country is being governed and the challenges it faces two years after the signing of a landmark peace deal. For weeks, frustration has been growing with President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s determination to hold the […]

A nomadic Fulani herder grazes his sheep on parched land around Gadabeji, Niger, May 11, 2010 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

KADUNA, Nigeria—The funeral took place on a sunny, late March morning in Goska, a village in northern Nigeria’s Kaduna state. Against the backdrop of mud homes covered with corrugated zinc roofing, people bustled down the single dusty road that runs through the town to a patch of land next to a church. Hundreds formed a crowd around a brown casket to bury 50-year-old Gideon Morik, a community leader who died on March 16. One of Gideon’s solemn-faced wives made her way silently to the center of the field. She dabbed her face with a handkerchief as she placed a vase […]

A French soldier stands alongside troops who helped France take back Mali’s north as they participate in a ceremony formally transforming the force into a United Nations peacekeeping mission, Bamako, Mali, July 1, 2013 (AP photo by Harouna Traore).

There is a lot of talk at the United Nations about tailoring peace operations to address the specific needs of the countries and communities that they serve. But from the vantage of the Security Council, there are really only two types of peacekeeping missions: the ones the French like, and the ones the Americans and British like. The entire edifice of U.N. operations rests on a delicate network of bargains among Paris, London and Washington about how to balance these two groups of missions. France has pushed for peacekeepers in a series of its former colonies including Cote d’Ivoire, Mali […]

Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, and Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, the Nigerian secretary-general of OPEC, attend an OPEC meeting, Vienna, Austria, May 25, 2017 (AP photo by Ronald Zak).

Across Africa, governments have reacted swiftly to the rift between Saudi Arabia, backed by allied states, and Qatar, with a number of countries signaling their support for Riyadh. West Africa is no exception. Mauritania has announced it is cutting ties with Qatar, while Senegal and Niger have recalled their ambassadors in Doha. Such positions reflect Saudi Arabia’s strong standing in the region despite Qatar’s active diplomacy in recent years. In an email interview, Rahmane Idrissa, a political scientist currently based at the University of Gottingen in Germany and the author of “The Politics of Islam in the Sahel,” explains how […]

Dr. Denis Mukwege receives the 2014 Sakharov Prize from former European Parliament President Martin Schulz, Strasbourg, France, Nov. 26, 2014 (AP photo by Christian Lutz).

On Thursday, April 13, Dr. Denis Mukwege, a gynecologist renowned for treating victims of sexual violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, attended a meeting with Gildo Byamungo, a colleague who was running a clinic near the city of Uvira. The two men talked at one point about the lack of security in the area, and Byamungo confided that he had received multiple threats from armed groups. “He told me about his fears for his safety,” Mukwege recalls. That night, Byamungo was shot and killed at his home, becoming the latest victim of spiraling violence that Mukwege attributes to President […]

Migrants and refugees wave for help from inside a wooden boat 21 miles north of Sabratha, Libya, Feb. 3, 2017 (AP photo by Emilio Morenatti).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Associate Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says it’s “deeply concerned” about the fate of more than 200 migrants from Somalia and Ethiopia who are being held captive by criminal gangs in Libya. They were shown “huddled fearfully in a concrete room” in a video distributed widely on social media this week. In the video, members of the group complained of starvation and beatings, including having their teeth pulled out. The gangs are apparently seeking ransoms of up to $10,000 per […]

Teachers, health workers and civil servants join a three-day strike over plans to tighten spending and increase the retirement age, Algiers, Nov. 21, 2016 (AP photo by Sidali Djarboub).

Editor’s Note: This is the first article in an ongoing WPR series on social welfare policies in various countries around the world. On June 1, state media in Algeria reported that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika had ordered a 2.5 percent increase in pensions for retirees, on top of an equivalent increase awarded in 2016. According to Reuters, there are 2.8 million retirees receiving pensions in Algeria, and the decision to increase their income comes as the oil-producing country struggles to adapt to reduced oil prices and considers reforms to its broader social welfare system. In an email interview, Azzedine Layachi, a […]

A woman sells bread near the Tawfiqia market, Cairo, Egypt, Oct. 18, 2016 (AP photo by Nariman El-Mofty).

CAIRO, Egypt—In November 2016, Egypt’s major cities experienced something that has become rare since a military coup led by then-Gen.—and now President—Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi in July 2013: protests. In the streets and at universities in Cairo, Alexandria and Port Said, Egyptians took great risks in sight of the police to gather and demonstrate against price hikes and bread shortages. Until then, the country had appeared to have settled into a period of relative calm. Five years after the uprisings that brought down former President Hosni Mubarak, and three years on from the coup that felled his democratically elected successor, Mohamed Morsi, […]

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, right, speaks with Deputy President William Ruto at a ceremony marking the opening of a railway, Mombasa, Kenya, May 30, 2017 (AP photo by Khalil Senosi).

The attacks have been small in scale, but they’ve come at a steady pace: On May 24, eight security officials were killed in a pair of roadside bombings in eastern Kenya. A week later, seven officers and one civilian died when their armored personnel carrier hit an improvised explosive device in Mangai, near the coast. And last week, the victims were four aid workers driving near the Dadaab refugee camp. In all, according to the Associated Press, at least 34 people, 20 of them police officers, have died in a recent string of explosions near the border with Somalia claimed […]

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