The head of Sudan’s military, Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, speaks during a press conference, Khartoum, Sudan, Oct. 26, 2021 (AP photo by Marwan Ali).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Africa Watch, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about the African continent. Subscribe to receive it by email every Friday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. Across Sudan, people have taken to the streets to protest a military coup that threatens to derail their aspirations for a democratic future. On Oct. 25, just weeks after a previous failed coup attempt, Sudan’s military leadership detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, several key civilian government officials […]

Detail from the Catalan Atlas, a medieval map produced in the 1370s, depicting Mansa Musa of the Mali Empire (Bibliotheque Nationale de France, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons).

No regular reader of my columns at World Politics Review can be surprised by now that I believe the future of Africa is one of the most important as well as one of the most neglected questions facing humankind. Africa is so routinely marginalized from the concerns of global affairs that even among otherwise well-informed people, most are unaware that it is the continent where almost all the action is taking place in terms of worldwide demographic growth. So it bears repeating here what I have written before: Africa’s population, which at the outset of my own career was about […]

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann during a press briefing at the OECD Ministerial Council meeting, Oct. 6, 2021, Paris (AP photo by Patrick Semansky).

A new agreement negotiated under the auspices of the G-20 and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development aims to crack down on tax havens by subjecting the world’s largest and most profitable multinational corporations to a minimum corporate tax rate of 15 percent. The deal has been agreed by 136 countries and jurisdictions, collectively representing more than 90 percent of the global economy. The OECD is hoping it will become effective by 2023. Many economists and commentators argue that such a deal is long overdue, given the ability of many gigantic corporations to avoid paying taxes on all or […]

Polisario Front soldiers sit on a cliff in the Boujdour refugee camp, Algeria, Oct. 15, 2021 (AP photo by Bernat Armangue).

After two years of diplomatic deadlock, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed a new envoy for Western Sahara, a territory disputed between Morocco and the pro-independence Polisario Front, which represents the ethnic Sahrawi population of the territory. The recent designation of seasoned Italian-Swedish diplomat Staffan de Mistura marks a much-delayed and critical step forward in a standoff that, if left untreated, risks spreading instability elsewhere in the region.  The temperature has been rising of late in this often-overlooked conflict. In November 2020, fighting flared up between Morocco and the Polisario Front. A month later, President Donald Trump threw fuel on the […]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari speak during a joint news conference, Ankara, Turkey, Oct. 19, 2017 (Presidential Press Service photo via AP).

Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan touched down in Luanda, Angola, for the first leg of a four-day, three-nation diplomatic tour of Africa. After meeting with Angolan President Joao Lourenco, the Turkish leader continued on to West Africa, where he met with his Togolese counterpart, Faure Gnassingbe, before concluding his trip in Nigeria with a bilateral meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari. Throughout the tour, Erdogan—who has now visited nearly 30 African countries—highlighted the importance of cooperation between Turkey and Africa, and emphasized the prospects for increased partnerships. He also signed a swathe of bilateral agreements, including one for the […]

Shawan Jabarin, director of the al-Haq human rights group, at the organization’s offices in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Oct. 23, 2021 (AP photo by Majdi Mohammed).

Editor’s note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Middle East Memo, which takes a look at what’s happening, what’s being said and what’s on the horizon in the Middle East. Subscribe to receive it by email every Tuesday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it. Last week, Israel placed “terrorism” designations on six Palestinian human rights groups, escalating an ongoing legal and political campaign against Palestinian civil society. The move drew condemnations from the international human rights community, while initially attracting a muted response from the United States. Israeli officials reportedly plan to travel to […]

A woman protests at Lekki Toll plaza on the one-year anniversary of the #EndSARS demonstrations against police brutality, Lagos, Nigeria, Oct. 20, 2021 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Africa Watch, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about the African continent. Subscribe to receive it by email every Friday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. In Oct. 2020, Nigerians took to the streets in cities across the country during widespread protests against police brutality, popularly known as #EndSARS. The demonstrations, regarded by many as the most significant popular uprising since the country’s pro-democracy struggles of the 1990s, initially began as a campaign […]

A mother holds her baby receiving a malaria vaccine as part of a trial at the Walter Reed Project Research Center in Kombewa, western Kenya, Oct. 30, 2009 (AP photo by Karel Prinsloo).

No animal on the planet is responsible for more death than the mosquito. They may lack the shark’s sharp teeth, the snake’s poisonous bite or the crocodile’s powerful jaws, but they carry parasites that cause malaria, which sickened 229 million people and killed more than 400,000 in 2019 alone. Reducing the prevalence of malaria has long been a top global health priority, but mosquitos’ ability to develop resistance to insecticides and the emergence of new drug-resistant strains of the disease have continually stymied treatment and prevention efforts. Humans may have finally found a way to fight back. Earlier this month, the World Health Organization officially approved the first-ever malaria vaccine, […]

Followers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr celebrate after the announcement of the results of parliamentary elections, Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 11, 2021 (AP photo by Khalid Mohammed).

Editor’s note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Middle East Memo, which takes a look at what’s happening, what’s being said and what’s on the horizon in the Middle East. Subscribe to receive it by email every Monday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it. Iraq has begun the long, tortuous and now-familiar process of post-election negotiations among the country’s powerful, mostly armed blocs, and the interregnum between the Oct. 10 parliamentary election and the swearing-in of a new government could potentially stretch into next summer.  The election results have made possible many important shifts […]

Participants attend the New Africa-France Summit 2021, Montpellier, France, Oct. 8, 2021 (AP photo by Daniel Cole).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Africa Watch, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about the African continent. Subscribe to receive it by email every Friday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. For the first time since the inaugural event in 1973, the Franco-Africa Summit—rebranded as the New Africa-France Summit, or as some referred to it on Twitter and other social media platforms, #AfricaFranceRemix—did not feature a single African head of state or government, or ministerial delegation. Instead, the […]

Mahamat Idriss Deby, head of the Transitional Military Council of Chad, salutes the coffin of his father, the late Chadian President Idriss Deby, during a state funeral in N’Djamena, Chad, April 23, 2021 (pool photo by Christophe Petit Tesson via AP).

The death of Chadian President Idriss Deby in April ended his three-decade rule and plunged the Central African country into uncertainty. Officially, Deby succumbed to wounds sustained on the frontlines of battle with a rebel group called the Front for Change and Concord in Chad, known by its French acronym FACT. Chad’s constitution stipulates that in the event of the president’s death, the speaker of the National Assembly serves as interim head of state and organizes new presidential elections within 90 days.  Instead, a military junta made up of those close to Deby announced that his son, Gen. Mahamat Idriss Deby, had […]

A Congolese miner at Nyabibwe mine, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Aug. 17, 2012 (AP photo by Marc Hofer).

KAMPALA, Uganda—Cars and motorcycle taxis rocket over the uneven pavement, while church sermons blare from loudspeakers. Vendors hawk bananas, cakes and chapatti. Brightly colored shops sell stationery and advertise printing services. But amid all the mundane, quotidian commerce here on Nassar Road in Uganda’s capital city, it is widely rumored that traders can buy false certificates to disguise the provenance of gold that has been smuggled over the border from the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, both of which face international sanctions on their gold trade due to its role in funding their internal conflicts. The false certificates […]

Kenyans read the morning newspapers following the Pandora Papers revelations that President Uhuru Kenyatta is among the beneficiaries of secret financial accounts, Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 5, 2021 (AP photo by Brian Inganga).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Africa Watch, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about the African continent. Subscribe to receive it by email every Friday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox.   Nearly 50 politicians and public officials from 18 African countries have connections to secretive offshore financial structures and trusts in tax havens, according to the Pandora Papers investigation. The leaders implicated by the leaked files—the latest effort of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, or ICIJ—include Kenyan […]

Then-Zairian President Mobutu Sese Seko at a press conference a week before relinquishing power, Libreville, Gabon, May 8, 1997 (AP Photo by Enric Marti).

In 1997, after his longtime Western backers, Belgium and the United States, had abandoned him, Mobutu Sese Seko, the ruler of the country then known as Zaire, turned to mercenaries from Serbia and Ukraine in a desperate bid to beat back an accelerating insurgency. In the middle of that war, I flew to Kisangani—the famous, centrally located river-port city that is a gateway to the vast country’s west—to watch the mercenaries drill Zairian troops and take up positions to repel an impending attack on the town. The mercenaries looked fearsome and seemed to have everything they needed to defend the […]

A poster of the Social Democratic Party candidate for chancellor, Olaf Scholz, at the party’s headquarters just after German parliamentary elections in Berlin, Sept. 26, 2021 (AP photo by Michael Sohn).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only Weekly Wrap-Up newsletter, which gives a rundown of the week’s top stories on WPR. Subscribe to receive it by email every Saturday. If you’re already a subscriber,  adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. Germany’s elections are of global significance under normal circumstances. As the European Union’s biggest economy and political powerhouse, Germany plays a huge role in shaping the bloc’s policy, which in turn has major implications for global trade and geopolitics. But several factors made the circumstances surrounding Sunday’s elections exceptional. To begin with, after 16 […]

Gambian President Adama Barrow delivers an address at Chatham House in London, April 18, 2018 (photo courtesy of Chatham House).

BANJUL, Gambia—When Adama Barrow took office as president of Gambia in 2017, it inspired hope for justice in a country that had just suffered through 22 years of brutal and repressive rule under Yahya Jammeh. The dictator had tried to cling to power despite losing the 2016 election to Barrow, sparking a constitutional crisis that was only defused through a military intervention by the main regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States. But any hope of justice for the victims of Jammeh’s abuses has now largely collapsed. On Sept. 4, the interim leader of Jammeh’s APRC party, Fabakary […]

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, speaks to the media in Geneva, Switzerland, Oct. 17, 2018 (AP photo by Salvatore Di Nolfi).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Africa Watch, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about the African continent. Subscribe to receive it by email every Friday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox.  More than 80 alleged cases of sexual abuse, including allegations implicating World Health Organization staff members, occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo during the Ebola crisis between 2018 and 2020, an independent commission has found. Although much of the coverage of the probe has focused on […]