Burundi’s president, Pierre Nkurunziza, center, arrives at the national conference for the ruling CNDD-FDD party in Gitega, Burundi, Jan. 26, 2020 (AP photo by Berthier Mugiraneza).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Burundi’s ruling party has selected a close ally of President Pierre Nkurunziza to stand in May’s presidential election, fueling concerns that an ongoing government crackdown on political opponents, civil society groups and journalists will only continue. At a party conference over the weekend, the ruling CNDD-FDD selected Evariste Ndayishimiye as its candidate after Nkurunziza confirmed he will step down after 15 contentious years in office. Ndayishimiye is a retired army general who serves as the party’s secretary general and heads the department […]

A building with posters of former Asian and African leaders before the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference in West Java, Indonesia, April 23, 2015 (AP photo by Achmad Ibrahim).

Not so long ago, nations of what was once called the Third World commonly looked to each other as prospective allies and partners, even extending their diplomatic ties across the oceans in order to advance their shared interests and protect themselves amid the dangers and complexities of the Cold War. The most famous moment of this period was undoubtedly the Bandung Conference in Indonesia in 1955, which brought together 29 Asian and African states with a combined population of 1.5 billion people and led to the formation of the Non-Aligned Movement. The momentum of Bandung was seriously blunted by the […]

Isabel dos Santos and her husband, Sindika Dokolo, arrive for a ceremony at the City Hall in Porto, Portugal, Jan. 6, 2020 (AP photo by Paulo Duarte).

A recently released trove of more than 700,000 leaked documents illuminate the shocking extent of corruption and kleptocracy in Angola. The files, known as the Luanda Leaks and published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and dozens of partner media outlets, detail how the country’s former first daughter, Isabel dos Santos, abused her power for personal gain, amassing a fortune estimated at $2.2 billion and earning her the title of “Africa’s richest woman.” Dos Santos, who splits her time mostly between London and Dubai, allegedly exploited positions of influence given to her by her father, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, […]

Isabel dos Santos at the opening of an art exhibition in Porto, Portugal, March 5, 2015 (AP photo by Paulo Duarte).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Angolan prosecutors accused Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s former longtime president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, of embezzlement and money laundering this week following the leak of a cache of documents that give the lie to claims that the richest woman in Africa is a self-made billionaire. The more than 700,000 documents published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, known as the Luanda Leaks, detail how Isabel dos Santos relied on nepotism, unscrupulous deals and possible misappropriation of national funds […]

Guinean President Alpha Conde arrives at the “Compact with Africa” conference at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Nov. 19, 2019 (Photo by Bernd von Jutrczenka for dpa via AP Images).

Guinean President Alpha Conde announced plans in December to replace the country’s constitution via a referendum, a move that critics say will allow him to stay in power beyond the current two-term limit. Guinea’s existing constitution requires the 81-year-old Conde, who was first elected in 2010, to step down after finishing his second and final term later this year. But the proposed draft document is replete with vague language on term limits that would likely allow him to run for reelection. Conde has not stated explicitly whether he plans to do so, but many Guineans believe he is clearing a […]

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa inspects the guard of honor during the opening session of Parliament in Harare, Zimbabwe, Oct. 1, 2019 (AP photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi).

HARARE, Zimbabwe—Samantha Kureya’s memories of the night she was abducted are not totally clear, but she vividly remembers one phrase that her attackers kept repeating. “You are too young to mock the government,” they said. The young Zimbabwean comedian, whose viral online skits poke fun at the government, was taken from her home in Harare, the capital, on Aug. 21 by three unidentified men wielding machine guns. She said they drove her to a remote location she did not recognize, where they beat her, forced her to strip and made her drink sewage water, before abandoning her. The incident left […]

French President Emmanuel Macron, center, Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou, right, and Chadian President Idriss Deby during a press conference in Pau, France, Jan. 13, 2020 (Photo by Guillaume Horcajuelo for EPA via AP Images).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. At a security summit in southern France this week, French President Emmanuel Macron and the leaders of five countries in Africa’s Sahel region agreed to modest increases in their joint military efforts to combat Islamist extremists. Macron pledged to send an additional 220 French troops to the Sahel to bolster the 4,500-strong French military mission that has been there since 2013. He also issued a plea to President Donald Trump not to reduce the U.S. troop presence in Africa—an appeal the Trump […]

U.S. and Nigerien flags raised side by side at the base camp for air forces and other personnel supporting the construction of Niger Air Base 201 in Agadez, Niger, April 16, 2018 (AP photo by Carley Petesch).

Last month, The New York Times reported that the U.S. Department of Defense was considering “a major reduction—or even a complete pullout—of American forces from West Africa.” The proposal is part of a worldwide review of overseas U.S. deployments, based on the Trump administration’s strategic framework of refocusing resources away from counterterrorism missions and toward competition with adversarial great powers like China and Russia. But for many observers, it was just the latest troubling sign of American disengagement from Africa. For this week’s interview on Trend Lines, journalist Peter Tinti joins WPR’s Elliot Waldman for a conversation about the on-the-ground […]

Liberian President George Weah during his inauguration ceremony in Monrovia, Liberia, Jan., 22, 2018 (AP photo by Abbas Dulleh).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, this week to demand the government salvage the country’s cratering economy. Police met them with water cannons and tear gas, and dozens of demonstrators were taken to the hospital in the aftermath of the altercation. The Liberian economy has suffered badly since President George Weah, a former soccer star, took office two years ago. Banks are now unable to pay depositors and the salaries of civil servants are regularly delayed. Inflation […]

Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, left, and his predecessor, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, center, during Ould Ghazouani’s inauguration in Nouakchott, Mauritania, Aug. 1, 2019 (AP photo by Elhady Ould Mohamedou).

When Mauritania’s ruling Union for the Republic met for its party congress in late December, it marked a new stage in the deepening rupture between President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, who was elected last summer, and his predecessor, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. The two men have gone from close associates to bitter rivals in the space of just five months. For now, Ould Ghazouani clearly has the upper hand, as the party congress made clear, when his preferred slate of candidates won the various contests for party leadership. Yet amid the two men’s rivalry, which has added a sour note to […]

Namibian President Hage Geingob arrives to cast his vote in the country’s election, Windhoek, Namibia, Nov. 27, 2019 (AP photo by Brandon van Wyk).

WINDHOEK, Namibia—In an era of political flux around the world, Namibia has long been an outpost of stubborn consistency. The ruling SWAPO Party has won every election since the country’s independence in 1990. Generally, the only matter for political debate was which opposition party would out-perform the others. That changed in the most recent general election in November. Dogged by an economic downturn and a damaging corruption scandal, SWAPO faced its first serious political challenge in 30 years, while President Hage Geingob’s bid for a second five-year term was nearly derailed by a surge in support for an outsider candidate. […]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives to deliver a speech at an event in Ankara, Dec. 30, 2019 (Presidential Press Service photo via AP Images).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. With Turkey’s parliament approving a bill this week to greenlight a military deployment in Libya, the chaos that followed the 2011 ouster of long-time Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi threatens to deepen further. Turkish legislators voted overwhelmingly to make good on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s promise to intervene in Libya on behalf of the internationally recognized government in Tripoli, known as the Government of National Accord, or GNA. Although Erdogan must still determine the exact size and scope of the Turkish military mission, […]

U.S. and Nigerien flags raised side by side at the base camp for air forces and other personnel supporting the construction of Niger Air Base 201 in Agadez, Niger, April 16, 2018 (AP photo by Carley Petesch).

Editor’s Note: Frida Ghitis will return next week with her weekly Thursday column. Since the end of the Cold War, American relations with Africa have been characterized by a single, powerful trend: disengagement. Its direction has been so constant that it is tempting to think of it as a fixed given, but that would be a mistake. In reality, over the past three decades, this troubling trend has only accelerated. As the civilian bureaucracies that are supposed to lead American foreign policy have steadily disengaged from Africa, they have been eclipsed by the Pentagon. Of course, every few years Washington […]