A worker cuts a diamond, reflecting Botswana’s attempt to control stages of diamond production beyond mining, Gaborone, Botswana, March 18, 2008 (AP photo by Themba Hadebe).

The past year has seen dramatic declines in the prices of global commodities. Between June 2014 and the beginning of this year, crude oil prices fell by 50 percent to around $50 a barrel. Similarly, mineral prices have seen a drastic fall since the peak of the “commodity supercycle” in early 2011. Between then and April of this year, iron ore prices fell by 70 percent, coal prices by 54 percent and copper prices by 40 percent. Many countries dependent on revenues from these commodities have been hit hard. Venezuela is unable to import food and medicine to satisfy the […]

Senegalese soldiers practice live fire maneuvers during a training exercise in support of Exercise Western Accord 14, June 19, 2014 (U.S. Army Africa photo by Staff Sgt. Donna Davis).

Earlier this month, Senegal’s foreign minister announced that the country was sending 2,100 troops to Saudi Arabia to participate in the coalition against Houthi rebels in Yemen. In an email interview, Alex Thurston, a visiting associate professor at Georgetown University, discussed Senegal-Saudi ties. WPR: How extensive are bilateral ties between Senegal and Saudi Arabia, and what has been their trajectory in recent years? Alex Thurston: Senegal and Saudi Arabia established diplomatic relations in 1961, following Senegal’s independence the previous year. The bilateral relationship has been strong. Senegal joined the Saudi-backed Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in 1969, the year of […]

Fishing boats in Elmina, Ghana, Feb. 6, 2005 (photo by Flickr user stignygaard licensed under the Creative Commons  Attribution 2.0 Generic license).

When the independent rights-monitoring group Freedom House released its latest “Freedom of the Press” report last week, an accompanying world map carried an almost-hidden surprise. The color-coded depiction of media rights across the planet pointed to a predictable breakdown: Europe and North America looked placidly green, while the purple shades of repression dominated most of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. There was, however, a remarkable spot of green on the western edge of Africa. It looked out of place, as if it were a mistake. The small West African nation of Ghana, it turns out, is an anomaly of […]

Incumbent Congo President Joseph Kabila holds the Congolese flag as he takes the oath of office as he is sworn in for another term, Kinshasa, Congo, Dec. 20, 2011 (AP photo by John Bompengo).

For Africa’s so-called presidents for life, bypassing term limits meant to ensure the peaceful, democratic transfer of power has long been business as usual. But as recent articles in World Politics Review show, presidential term limits have now become a frontline issue in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Togo and Burkina Faso. For the next two weeks, all of the articles linked below are free for non-subscribers. Burundi Tensions in Burundi ahead of next month’s elections flared up this week after a Constitutional Court ruling cleared the way for a potential third term for President Pierre Nkurunziza. Burundi Tensions […]

Guinea troops fall over each other as they clamp down on an opposition protest, Conakry, Guinea, April 20, 2015 (AP photo by Youssouf Bah).

Opposition supporters clashed with police in Guinea’s capital, Conakry, on Monday, with reports that more than 20 people were injured, seven of them shot. For over two weeks, the opposition has taken to the streets to protest the government’s decision to hold a presidential election Oct. 11, violating a 2013 agreement to hold local elections first. Local elections were last held in Guinea in 2005. Though local leaders are supposed to serve a term of five years, local elections were not held in 2010, when the country was still transitioning back to democracy after a military coup in 2008. At […]