Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016 (AP photo by Allauddin Khan).

In a special year-end episode of Trend Lines, we look back on 2018 through three of our most popular Report interviews. They take us from the frontlines of the war against Boko Haram in West Africa, to life under a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan, to Facebook, the new hub for the black-market trade in antiquities from the Middle East. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers a free preview article every […]

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Germany, Oct. 30, 2018 (DPA photo via AP Images).

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi rules with brutal authority, but Egypt's political and economic future look anything but secure. CAIRO—To the many Egyptians who took to the streets in January 2011 to bring down former President Hosni Mubarak, Cairo is full of reminders of the country's post-revolution failures. Tahrir Square is once again a bleak traffic-laden roundabout; just next to it, the Egyptian Museum is associated with torture by the military after activists were detained and interrogated there following a protest in March 2011. Nearby, the downtown area of Maspero is notorious for the massacre of Coptic Christians. To the east, Rabaa […]

Migrants climb into a truck to head north into Algeria at the Assamaka border post in northern Niger, June 3, 2018 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

Even as they escape poverty and violence at home, many African migrants find there is no promised land for them abroad. Learn more when you subscribe to World Politics Review (WPR). Early one morning in April 2017, Etienne, a 36-year-old migrant from Cameroon, was awakened in his hotel room in Oran, a port city on the northwestern coast of Algeria, by a contingent of Algerian police officers raiding the hotel. They arrested Etienne and the dozens of other migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa who had also been living there. The African migrants—a group that included men, women and some children—were eventually […]

A new $360 million terminal under construction at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka, built by the state-owned China-Jianxi Corporation, with loans from China Exim Bank, Nov. 4, 2018 (Photo by Jonathan W. Rosen).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, look back on the biggest stories of 2018 and discuss what the new year might have in store. For the Report, Jonathan Rosen talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about his reporting from Zambia, where a backlash to Chinese investment and loans is growing as the country inches toward a debt crisis. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your […]

A banner in a town square in the French Alps reads “Welcome Refugees,” Chamonix, France, Oct. 22, 2016 (AP photo by Bertrand Combaldieu).

Find out how the aftermath of the refugee crisis is still upending politics across Europe—when you subscribe to World Politics Review (WPR). As the nationalist, anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats claimed their best result yet in Sweden’s parliamentary elections in September, the nation’s newspapers went bold with their headlines. “Chaos,” read the front pages, in all caps, of the two largest tabloids. Dagens Industri, a financial newspaper, called the outcome “a political earthquake.” But the subject of their worry was not the rise of the Sweden Democrats, the latest party to surf Europe’s anti-establishment populist wave. Instead, it was the utter fragmentation […]

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

Zambia, like several African countries, is inching toward a debt crisis, sparking discussion about whether China is to blame. With debt-servicing payments already crowding out development spending, ordinary Zambians are feeling the pinch—and their patience with the government’s coziness to Beijing, and with China's so-called "debt-trap diplomacy," is beginning to wear thin. LUSAKA, Zambia—Sitting in the lobby of a Lusaka hotel last month, James Lukuku was feeling energized. The leader of Zambia’s Republican Progressive Party, a fringe opposition group, Lukuku had gained notoriety in recent months as one of the most outspoken critics of Zambia’s relationship with China—a bond he […]

Supporters attend an election rally for presidential hopeful Marc Ravalomanana, Antananarivo, Madagascar, Nov. 3, 2018 (AP photo by Kabir Dhanji).

On Dec. 19, voters in Madagascar will elect their next president in a second-round runoff pitting two ex-presidents and bitter rivals against each other. Marc Ravalomanana, the 68-year-old economic pragmatist who held the office from 2002 until 2009, will face Andry Rajoelina, the 44-year-old populist who ousted him from power in a 2009 coup and ran the country under an internationally isolated transitional government until 2013. In first-round voting on Nov. 7, Ravalomanana and Rajoelina received 35.3 percent and 39.2 percent of the vote, respectively, far ahead of the other 34 candidates on the ballot, including the incumbent, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, […]

Nigerian soldiers during the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari, Abuja, May 29, 2015 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

Boko Haram no longer represents the same threat it did three years ago. But Nigeria’s heavy-handed military approach to fighting the group might still backfire. Find out more when you subscribe to World Politics Review (WPR). Boko Haram, the Nigeria-based jihadi movement affiliated with the self-proclaimed Islamic State, has been in decline since 2015, 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 […]

Congolese President Joseph Kabila speaks during an interview with foreign journalists, Kinshasa, Dec. 9, 2018 (AP photo by John Bompengo).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. The scene did not inspire much confidence in the credibility of upcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo. On Thursday morning, residents of the Central African country’s capital, Kinshasa, awoke to smoke billowing out of a warehouse where ballot boxes and voting machines were being stored. The election commission reported that at least 8,000 voting machines had been destroyed, but said the elections, scheduled for Dec. 23, would go ahead as planned. The immediate reaction to the fire, […]

Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar at a convention for the All Progressives Congress, Lagos, Nigeria, Dec. 10, 2014 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

Earlier this month, Oby Ezekwesili, a Nigerian activist, former Cabinet minister and 2019 presidential candidate, participated in an event at Chatham House titled “Next Generation Nigeria: How to Foster Inclusion, Social Justice and Opportunity for All.” The official announcement suggested it would be a pretty tame affair, but one brief exchange with a Nigerian audience member kept Ezekwesili’s name in the headlines for days afterward. At one point during the event’s question-and-answer portion, Bisi Alimi, a prominent Nigerian LGBT activist who fled to the U.K. more than a decade ago because of threats to his safety, asked Ezekwesili for her […]

From left to right, South Sudanese refugee Thomas Wani, his brother Peter Lemi, his mother Rose Sunday and his father Julius Lezu enter Uganda at the Busia crossing, near Kuluba, northern Uganda, June 8, 2017 (AP photo by Ben Curtis).

Uganda has been praised for its open-door policy to refugees fleeing South Sudan’s civil war. But new evidence indicates that response was marred by lapses in accountability and disregard for institutional safeguards. The international community has long lauded Uganda for its response to the massive influx of South Sudanese refugees who have fled across the border since the start of that country’s conflict in 2013. As the number of arrivals climbed into the hundreds of thousands, Kampala maintained an open-door policy and committed increasing amounts of land for agencies to construct temporary settlements and for refugees to build permanent shelters. […]

Senegalese migrants who traveled from Cape Verde to Brazil get haircuts before being immunized, Sao Luis, Brazil, May 29, 2018 (Photo by Walker Dawson).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and associate editor, Elliot Waldman, discuss the vacuum in global leadership at the G-20 summit and beyond. For the Report, Luisa Feline Freier talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about a new destination for African migrants: Latin America, where they are arriving in increasing numbers—and facing familiar challenges. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers a free preview article every […]

Protesters speak out against the coup attempt in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Sept. 21, 2015 (AP photo by Theo Renaut).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. It’s been two decades since the body of Norbert Zongo, an investigative journalist in Burkina Faso, was found in his car on a road south of the capital, Ouagadougou. He appeared to have been shot and badly burned, as had his brother, his driver and a colleague, all of whom were killed alongside him. Suspicion immediately fell on Francois Compaore, the younger brother of longtime President Blaise Compaore. Zongo had reported aggressively on the killing of Francois Compaore’s driver, […]

A demonstrator holds a sign that reads in Spanish “Stop the corrupted” outside the National Assembly in Panama City, Panama, March 11, 2018 (AP photo by Arnulfo Franco).

In recent years, a combination of factors has converged to produce an unprecedented number of high-profile anti-corruption investigations around the world. From Brazil to South Korea, from the Panama Papers to the global FIFA scandals, publics across the globe have seen their worst suspicions confirmed, as daring investigative journalists and hard-charging prosecutors lay out case after case, revealing the details of pervasive malfeasance at the loftiest levels of power. At first glance, this is unquestionably a positive development for society as a whole, for the economies of the countries affected and for the global political environment. Corruption corrodes the moral […]

Guinean President Alpha Conde during a press conference at the Elysee Palace, Paris, France, Nov. 22, 2017 (Photo by Jacques Witt for Sipa via AP Images).

Late last month, officials in the West African nation of Guinea announced that policing in the capital, Conakry, would be undergoing some changes. Specifically, they said soldiers would be deployed alongside police officers and gendarmes as part of new mixed patrols. The inauguration of these patrols, they said, was a necessary response to weeks of violent, sometimes fatal protests over issues ranging from low teacher pay to suspected election fraud. News of the patrols sparked a forceful outcry from opposition politicians and human rights activists, who denounced their creation as a legally baseless maneuver intended to quell dissent primarily in […]

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Julius Maada Bio, president of Sierra Leone, stand during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, China, Aug. 30, 2018 (Pool photo by Roman Pilipey via AP Images).

In late October, a corruption inquiry into the activities of Sierra Leone’s former ruling party, the All People’s Congress, or APC, came closer to reality when a procedural vote in the APC-dominated parliament failed to block three proposed “constitutional instruments” establishing an investigative commission. The measures—all backed by new President Julius Maada Bio, who was elected after a closely contested two-round poll in March 2018—pave the way to investigate corruption by former President Ernest Bai Koroma and the APC, which had held power since 2007. Despite the APC-led majority opposing the measures, the “no” vote on a procedural motion failed […]

A Senegalese street vendor in Sao Paulo, Brazil, June 15, 2018, is part of a new wave of African migration to South America. (Photo by Walker Dawson).

Images of perilous voyages across the Mediterranean Sea dominate the popular perception of African migration, but the reality is that many migrants’ journeys have nothing to do with Europe at all. In recent years, an increasing number of migrants have quietly built lives for themselves in South America.SAO PAULO—One day last May, fishermen working off the coast of Maranhao, a state innortheastern Brazil, came to the rescue of a rough-looking catamaran with a busted mast and a nonfunctioning motor. After towing the boat to safety, they realized it was carrying an unlikely group of passengers: 25 men from sub-Saharan Africa […]