AfricaSource Strategic Insight on the New Africa

Atlantic Council's J. Peter Pham Tells Congress a Broader Nigerian and International Response is Needed

Nigeria's Boko Haram militant movement has grown increasingly virulent since 2009, a change visible in the group's capacity, tactics and ideology, according to J. Peter Pham, director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council.

Pham testified before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations on June 11, nearly two months after Boko Haram's brazen abduction of nearly 300 schoolgirls from the northeastern Nigerian town of Chibok.

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Creative Commons

If one country has benefited from American and European neglected of Africa over the past decade or so, it has been China. In the absence of significant American and European investment on the African continent, particularly below the Sahara, China's trade with the area increased, between 2001 and 2011, from $20 billion to $120 billion.

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On April 14, 2014, more than 200 female students were kidnapped from a school in Nigeria. In May, news of that kidnapping went viral. In a series of videos, Deputy Director Bronwyn Bruton discusses why the social media response to the event has been so huge, its short- and long-term implications, as well as the Western media response to the story. 

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Worth reading again: two years ago Dr. Pham authored a report for the US National Defense University on Boko Haram that recent events in Nigeria have proven remains relevant today.

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REUTERS/Gary Cameron
Amid surging public outrage in Nigeria and abroad over Boko Haram’s kidnapping of 223 schoolgirls, President Barack Obama has promised that the United States will do “everything it can” to rescue them. His promise follows a pledge by Secretary of State John Kerry to do “everything possible” to help the Nigerian government defeat Boko Haram, a Muslim rebel group that has terrorized the impoverished northern regions of the country.

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On both sides of the Atlantic in recent months, governments have acknowledged ongoing negotiations for the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), a free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States. Though the merits of this future transatlantic partnership went largely challenged at the outset, some differences of opinion have lately emerged among European leaders.

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Secretary of State John Kerry ended an impromptu six-day tour of Africa yesterday, May 5. The trip was undertaken with little fanfare—the State Department announced the visit just a few days before his departure—and the Secretary’s activities received little attention from the press. (None of the five major American television networks even opted to send a camera crew along on the trip.)

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