Emerging Powers vie for Influence in Africa

May 4, 2012 by

The end of the Cold War resulted in the strategic disengagement of western countries, including the United States, from Africa. They continued their trade, aid and assistance relationship with Africa, but once the threat of communist expansion disappeared, the West interacted with the continent in a different way. This change permitted an opening for a variety of emerging countries to expand their ties with Africa.

Africa Needs its Own BRICS aka KENSA

April 23, 2012 by

The recent BRICS summit at the end of March 2012 led to a substantial amount of controversy surrounding South Africa’s membership. Various political analysts were seen on television and in newspapers all answering a similar question to this one: Given its economic, military and population numbers, is South Africa really worthy to be part of such a group? When analyzing the facts and figures, the blunt answer is no.

Assessing China’s Role and Influence in Africa

March 29, 2012 by

The most important difference between the United States and China is the very structure of the American and Chinese governments and the way their respective systems engage in Africa. American commercial activity (trade, investment and bidding on contracts) in Africa is conducted by private companies with limited involvement by the U.S. government. If two or more private U.S. companies are competing for the same project, the U.S. government must be impartial, providing essentially equal help to all U.S. interested parties. When this situation occurs, my experience was that the role of the U.S. government diminishes even further.

Can Jim Yong Kim Reinvent the World Bank?

March 24, 2012 by

Jim Yong Kim - a public health expert, president of Dartmouth College and astute rapper - is the US government’s candidate for the presidency of the World Bank. As Dani Rodrik, a development expert at Harvard University, summed it up this morning, “it’s nice to see that Obama can still surprise us.” Will the new candidate, who was not on anybody’s shortlist for the position, be able to reinvent the World Bank?

Do Country Acronyms Have a Meaningful Place in a Dynamic World?

March 10, 2012 by

When Goldman Sachs first coined the term “BRICs” in 2001, it did so on the assumption that these four countries were going to heavily influence the direction of the global economy. It turned out that China was much more influential than any of the other three, and that Brazil well underperformed the others based on its decade-long average GDP growth rate of approximately 3.5%.

Africa, Nuclear Security and the 2012 Summit

February 29, 2012 by

Many hold a view that the terms Africa and nuclear security have no correlation. This is a false and dangerous perception. South Africa’s Energy Minister Dipuo Peters announced on Tuesday 28 February 2012 that her country plans to use nuclear energy as part of diversified mix to help cure South Africa’s energy crisis and to take a step closer to cleaner energy.

Protecting Progress: South America’s Battle with Chevron

February 19, 2012 by

The oil spill 230 miles off Brazil’s coast last November was, when compared to other international environmental disasters, relatively small and easily contained. What captured the world’s attention was not the spill itself, but the Brazilian government’s reaction. Domestic and international criticism concerning the penalties levied against Chevron focused primarily on the disparity between the leak’s size and the nearly $20 billion in fines currently being fought over in civil court.

Boko Haram Brings Nigeria to the Brink of Collapse

February 5, 2012 by

The people committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad, or Boko Haram as they are infamously known to the international community, has escalated its war on the Nigerian government in recent months with devastating effects. In January alone, the terror group’s attacks have already claimed over 250 lives, more than half of all deaths inflicted by their attacks in all of 2011.

Death, oil and religion: the origins of conflict in Nigeria run deep

January 31, 2012 by

The coming of the new year was not auspicious for Nigeria. Despite being rich in oil, the country is overwhelmed by corruption and violence. The north of the country has been torn apart by terrorist attacks that saw police stations bombed, cars torched and the streets littered with bodies. More than 200 people have died so far in January alone. How could a nation so rich in resources descend into such turmoil? The answer lies in a history of ethnic, religious and political fault-lines that go back centuries.

A Case for a United Nigeria

January 18, 2012 by

The idea of Nigeria splitting into different sovereigns has gained traction over the last several weeks. A growing chorus of local leaders in Nigeria, looking to avoid what happened in Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and Sudan are urging the federal government to look at splitting the nation before there is too much bloodshed. Muammar Gaddafi notoriously said the OPEC nation should split into two distinct nations; although everyone knows his motives were not pure.

China-Africa Relations: The Big Picture

December 6, 2011 by

China has four hard interests in Africa’s fifty-four countries. I exclude from this list interests often cited by Beijing such as support for economic development and political stability in Africa. These are goals or objectives of Chinese policy, but they do not constitute China’s interests any more than they are interests of the United States.

Tangible Tensions

November 28, 2011 by

Nigeria is a country so unwieldy in its size, and so complex in its politics and structures, that it necessitates a certain level of assumption, together with an understanding of the detail of its interlinking internal dynamics. Its diversity and influence demand a nuanced engagement; its scale necessitates a broad-brush and bold approach.

Timor’s Oil: Blessing or Curse?

August 26, 2011 by

Oil has different meanings for different societies. For developed societies like the United States, Japan, and Western Europe, oil is like an addictive drug that people only want more and more of. It enables them to go everywhere. It helps them cook and regulate the temperature of their dwellings. Without oil, people in these societies couldn’t sustain their way of life. For these reasons, many countries go to war for the sake of securing access to oil.

Nigeria: Post Election Violence Follows Familiar Pattern

April 25, 2011 by

Fears were realized in Nigeria when hundreds were killed in post-election violence. Not withstanding the post-election period, many observers have noted the peaceful nature of the presidential contest.