A protest by expatriate Togolese demanding democratic reforms and political change after half a century of rule by the Gnassingbe family, Brussels, Belgium, Aug. 31, 2017 (dpa photo by Wiktor Dabkowski via AP).

LOME, Togo—A pediatric inpatient ward in the Sylvanus Olimpio University Teaching Hospital of Lome, the capital of Togo, sat vacant for much of February. The water had stopped running, and staff were short several supplies: a pair of scissors, a rolling cart, a blood pressure cuff to fit children’s arms. Nurses packed patients into a separate ward, where they could be prepared for discharge before hospital staff went on strike again. The smallest patients lay three to a bed, their mothers waiting on makeshift stools for a doctor. The more desperate wandered the complex in search of help. A woman […]

Rwandan President Paul Kagame after signing the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement during the 10th Extraordinary Session of the African Union, Kigali, Rwanda, March 21, 2018 (AP photo).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. In many respects, the Africa policy of French President Emmanuel Macron has looked similar to that of his predecessor, Francois Hollande. Both men have overseen large-scale military deployments on the continent while stressing the need for African governments to, eventually, provide for their own security in combating terrorism and other threats. Both men have also talked about the potential of economic development to curb the migration of Africans to Europe. But in his management of one relationship that has […]

Malians check voter listings as polling stations come to a close in parliamentary elections, Gao, Mali, Nov. 24, 2013 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

For months, Mali’s president, Ibrahim Boubakar Keita, has been hounded by a short, harsh refrain: Boua ka bla. In Bambara, the West African country’s most widely spoken language, the words mean, roughly, “The old man must give up.” In the context of Malian politics, they articulate a clear demand that Keita, who is 73, leave office when his term expires this year. In songs and at rallies, the phrase has been taken up by a host of government critics. The most prominent among them is the activist and radio personality Mohamed Youssouf Bathily, popularly known as “Ras Bath,” who the […]

Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh during an African Union summit meeting, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, June 30, 2011 (AP photo by Rebecca Blackwell).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. It has been less than two years since Yahya Jammeh, the longtime dictator of Gambia, stepped down and fled into exile in Equatorial Guinea after losing the presidential election to Adama Barrow. But as the process of national reconciliation plays out on Gambian soil, human rights groups are already making moves to have Jammeh put on trial abroad. On Wednesday, Human Rights Watch and TRIAL International published a report they say links a notorious Jammeh-era paramilitary unit known as […]

Former child soldiers stand in line for registration with UNICEF, Yambio, South Sudan, Feb. 7, 2018 (AP photo by Sam Mednick).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Given Washington’s central role in bringing South Sudan into existence as a country in 2011, American officials have long felt a sense of responsibility for its success. Yet this week saw further indications that U.S. support might have its limits, especially if South Sudan’s civil war, now in its fifth year, continues unabated. In a statement Tuesday, the White House said South Sudan’s leaders had “repeatedly demonstrated their inability and unwillingness to live up to their commitments to end […]

Gabon’s president, Ali Bongo, is sworn in for a second term, Libreville, Gabon, Sept. 27, 2016 (AP photo by Jeremi Mba).

Last week, a significant number of Gabon’s top politicians suddenly found themselves out of work. On April 30, the country’s Constitutional Court delivered a surprise ruling that dissolved the National Assembly, the lower house of Gabon’s parliament, and called for the government to step down. Prime Minister Emmanuel Issoze-Ngondet complied the next day, issuing a letter of resignation on behalf of himself and his ministers. At first glance, the ruling appeared to be a straightforward rebuke of the government’s failure to hold legislative elections, which are now nearly 18 months overdue. “It is clear that the government has not been […]

Soldiers attempt to stop a group of demonstrators running toward a cordon of police in the Musaga neighborhood of Bujumbura, Burundi, May 20, 2015 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Tensions are rising in Burundi, where the government of President Pierre Nkurunziza plans to hold a constitutional referendum later this month that would potentially permit him to stay in office for 17 more years. Formal campaigning began this week. In 2015, Nkurunziza’s controversial decision to seek a third presidential term, which was widely seen as unconstitutional, triggered widespread violence and prompted hundreds of thousands of people to flee the country. Though the constitution limited him to two terms, Nkurunziza […]

Nigerien police take part in the annual U.S.-led Flintlock exercises, Niamey, Niger, April 13, 2018 (AP photo by Carley Petesch).

Last month, United States Africa Command organized the annual Flintlock military exercises in Niger, convening nearly 2,000 special forces troops from 20 countries, eight of them African. The exercises date back to 2005 and are intended to bolster African militaries’ ability to “counter violent extremist organizations, protect their borders and provide security for their people.” By serving as this year’s host, Niger reinforced its image as a crucial U.S. counterterrorism partner—an image the country has been cultivating for years as it has responded to security threats emanating from neighboring Mali, Nigeria and Libya. Niger’s military partnerships with the West have […]