Africa

  • General Haftar's Offensive in the Fezzan Region and the Italian-French Competition

    Read in Italian here. The military forces under the command of General Khalifa Haftar launched a large-scale attack on the Fezzan region in January, with the aim of taking control of the main areas of local oil production. Officially motivated by the need to strike at terrorist units operating in the region, the mission led by General Haftar has two main objectives. The first consists of securing the local oil installations, thus subtracting a substantial quota of production technically under the control of Tripoli—even if operated by the National Oil Corporation (NOC), which continues to exercise its functions in a paradoxical dual mode at the service of both political entities. The second objective is to extend the territory under the control of the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA), thereby lessening an opportunity for the Tripoli authorities to maneuver while consolidating the political and military capacity of Benghazi’s forces.


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  • In Senegal, President Macky Sall Favored to Win Re-Election

    On February 24, millions of Senegalese voters are expected to head to the polls to elect their president for the next five years. While five candidates—whittled down from a whopping eighty-seven by a controversial citizen sponsorship system—are vying for the presidency, the election is President Macky Sall’s to lose.

    Macky Sall’s challengers include a former prime minister (Idrissa Seck), a former foreign minister (Madické Niang), a little-known university professor (Issa Sall), and a social-media sensation (Ousmane Sonko).

    Mindful of what’s at stake, Macky Sall, who has been in office since 2012, is keen to remind voters of some of his greatest achievements. In the last year alone, the president has inaugurated a new airport, special economic zones, and state-of-the-art sports facilities, and talked up the 200 km of highway built during his time in office.


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  • Three Key Issues Dominating Nigeria's Election

    In March 2015, Muhammadu Buhari made history by becoming the first presidential candidate in Nigeria to unseat an incumbent president in an election.


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  • Tanzanian Opposition Leader Discusses Democratic Backslide

    On February 7, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center hosted a discussion with Mr. Tundu Lissu, parliamentarian and chief whip of the Chadema opposition party in the National Assembly of Tanzania, on the state of democracy in his country.


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  • Bolton’s risky bet in the Sahel

    In December, when US National Security Advisor John Bolton previewed the Trump Administration’s security strategy for Africa, he focused more on the rising financial and political influence of China and Russia than on US plans to fight the “proliferation of Radical Islamic Terrorism” across Africa. This is surprising, because in Somalia, the United States has dramatically ratcheted up airstrikes against al-Shabaab and local ISIS militants. And the death of four US special operations soldiers in Niger in November 2017 brought scrutiny to the unreported activities of US special forces in Africa.


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  • Livingston in Axios: The Congo’s Chaotic Election Throws the Future of Cobalt in Doubt


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  • Trump’s Africa Surprise

    Africa has generally ranked near the bottom of US foreign policy priorities. Historically, two-term presidents have waited until their second term to establish their legacies on the continent, and many one-term presidents have neglected it altogether. US President Donald J. Trump has surprised many by bucking this trend.
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  • New Technologies for a New Tunisia

    With the new Start-Up Act, passed on April 2, 2018, Tunisia has started to clear the path for innovation that could lead to economic growth. The Act removed several bureaucratic hurdles that innovative projects faced when creating new business structures—vestiges of a system implemented in colonial times. While the French mostly moved right along modernizing their systems, Tunisia remains stuck in a Kafkaesque maze that is present across every single state office and institution. The Start-Up Act aims to alleviate some of these frustrations. It is a positive and hopeful development for young entrepreneurs looking to change the world around them.


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  • Nobel Peace Prize Laureate on Sexual Violence in the DRC

    On January 28, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center hosted Dr. Denis Mukwege, founder and medical director of Panzi Hospital and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, for a discussion on the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

    Introducing the distinguished guest, Atlantic Council Vice President and Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham highlighted the magnitude of Mukwege’s work over the years, treating more than 85,000 women and girls since 1999 – 50,000 of whom have been survivors of sexualized violence – and doing so with a unique combination of medical treatment, psycho-social support, community reintegration, legal assistance to pursue justice, and advocacy.


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  • The Egyptian Revolution: Eight Years Later

    Eight years ago today, a small group of Egyptians protested against their government. The protest grew, and led to millions of Egyptians coming to the streets across their country, eventually resulting in Hosni Mubarak resigning the presidency. His rule of three decades came to an end, but the revolutionary uprising was eventually subject to a counter-revolutionary wave. The final result of Egypt’s uprising cannot yet be measured, just as any uprising is eventually judged in decades, not years—but it is clear that the international community has moved beyond treating Egypt as a country in the throes of a democratic transition. The question is—how does engagement now compare to the revolutionary period?


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