On Saturday, voters in Nigeria will decide who will succeed President Muhammadu Buhari as the leader of Africa’s most populous country and largest economy. While eighteen candidates are running, there are three top contenders, all of whom are wealthy, card-carrying members of the political establishment.
In 2007, the African Union launched the Great Green Wall project, an attempt to combat expanding desertification in the Sahel by planting a barrier of trees 10 miles wide across 4,500 miles by 2030. But the wall has so far produced disappointing results and shows the complexities of implementing a grand continent-wide scheme.
This weekend’s African Union leaders’ summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, will be Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari final one ahead of his departure from office in May. Haunting Buhari’s final AU summit, and his last months in office, is a grim reality: Nigeria’s continued decline as a continental power.
East African leaders held a summit last weekend in Burundi, where they discussed efforts to contain the escalating conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The bloc’s leaders also explored potential ways to defuse tensions between Congo and neighboring Rwanda, which have flared due to the resumption of violence.
BRICS countries all are lending support to Moscow at a time when it has been largely cut off diplomatically and economically from the Western world. But while the group functions as a source of support for Russia, it is important to distinguish the differences in how and why they are offering that support.
Last month, China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang continued a decades-long tradition of Chinese foreign ministers starting the year with a trip to Africa. The visit comes at a time of ramped up engagement between African states and the U.S., highlighting the U.S. tendency to characterize Africa’s relations with China in patronizing terms.
Washington has recently stepped up engagement with Africa, focusing on areas such as investment, climate adaptation and health. But good governance is necessary for progress to be made on these other important issues. That should be reflected in the language U.S. officials use to discuss them, but so far it has been absent.
The struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia has insinuated itself into nearly every regional issue, fracturing international alliances and sustaining wars across the region, while raising fears of a direct conflict between the two powers. Meanwhile, the region is rife with ongoing conflicts, and the long-simmering dispute between Israel and Palestine continues to flare up periodically.
Pope Francis is in the final stretch of a six-day trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan that was framed as an opportunity to bring more international attention to the many challenges faced by the two neighbors and to deliver a message of peace, reconciliation and an end to conflict in the two countries.