West Africa

  • Reviewing Mauritania’s Historic Election

    Mauritania’s June 22 presidential election marked the country’s first democratic transfer of power since independence. The ruling party’s Mohamed Ould Ghazouani won with 52 percent of the vote, and his closest challenger, Biram Dah Abeid, received 18 percent. But the election was less of a landslide than the vote totals imply: Ghazouani surpassed the 50 percent threshold needed to preclude a second round by less than 19,000 votes (out of 929,285 valid votes cast), and it appears likely that his competitors would have all supported Abeid in a runoff. Thus, the ruling party had a close call, and the opposition’s claim that electoral fraud and irregularities altered the outcome is worth assessing.


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  • Mauritania Election Primer

    Mauritania’s presidential election on June 22 stands to mark the country’s first democratic transfer of power since independence in 1960. This comes as Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who assumed control in a 2008 coup d’état, has agreed to step down, abiding by term limits. Aziz’s ruling Union for the Republic (UPR) party maintains a strong grip on power, but there have been signs of pushback since Aziz directed the abolition of the country’s senate in 2017. The opposition has returned to participate in the current election after largely boycotting in 2014, and the polls will serve as a test for the Muslim Brotherhood party, Tawassoul, which currently heads the opposition.


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  • COhen in Forbes: Nigeria's Energy Future Challenged By Weak Rule Of Law


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  • Cohen in Forbes: Will President Buhari Rescue Nigeria's Oil And Gas Sector?


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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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  • 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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  • New Energy Opportunities in Africa

    On the margins of the 73rd ordinary session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center and Global Energy Center hosted a half-day conference focusing on new opportunities for development across Africa’s energy sector. The event featured welcoming and introductory remarks by Dr. J. Peter Pham, Atlantic Council vice president and Africa Center director, followed by brief remarks by Mr. Bernard Looney, BP chief executive for upstream. H.E. Daniel Kablan Duncan, vice president of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire and Mr. Andrew M. Herscowitz, Power Africa coordinator at the US Agency for International Development, presented keynote remarks during the event, while Mr. Randolph Bell, Global Energy Center director, delivered closing remarks.

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  • Pham Joins RFI to Discuss CIA Presence in Niger


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  • Pham Quoted in the Eagle on Ambassador Adefuye


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  • Nigerian Information Minster Discusses US-Nigeria relations, Boko Haram

    On Thursday, July 19, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center hosted a roundtable discussion with the Minister of Information and Culture of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E. Alhaji Lai Mohammed

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