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Security Sub-Saharan Africa

Ethiopia’s Tigray Conflict: A Humanitarian Disaster

The ongoing conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray province threatens to become the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. War crimes, sexual violence and famine are reported to be widespread, and the Ethiopian government is restricting access for humanitarian actors and human rights inspectors. The escalating severity of the situation is eerily similar to scenes from the Tigrayan famine of 1983-85, and it is likely that it may play out in a similar, devastating way.

Security Sub-Saharan Africa

The Political Economy of Mozambique’s ‘Faceless Insurgency’

Since 2017, Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province has grappled with a brutal jihadist insurgency which threatens to spiral out of control and precipitate destabilising effects across East Africa. Ansar al-Sunnah, the militant group behind the escalating insurgency, has often been described as ‘more criminal than jihadi’, highlighting the centrality of the crime-terror nexus and underlying socioeconomic grievances as structural drivers of conflict that must be fully unpacked in order to respond effectively to Mozambique’s ‘Faceless Insurgency’. 

Africa Politics

Elections called in a Contested Ethiopia

The political crisis in the North of Ethiopia is currently one of the most notorious humanitarian disasters in global affairs. The tragedy and ferocity of the conflict has sometimes distracted from it’s trigger: the delay of the 2020 federal & regional elections. Now, one year since their postponement, Ethiopians head to the polls to contest the leading Prosperity Party’s grip on power. Whether this will prove to be an opportunity to strengthen the country’s democratic institutions or a gateway to further crises remains to be seen.

Africa Politics South Africa

South Africa’s Secondary Pandemic: A Crisis of Gender Based Violence

In South Africa, sometimes known as the ‘destination of femicide’, more than 2,700 women have been murdered as result of gender-based violence (GBV) since 2000. Although grassroots organisations have persistently campaigned to end GBV, many women in South Africa continue to suffer abuse. Now, South Africa’s GBV problem is worsening, as lockdown measures have trapped women inside with their abusers.

 

Africa Covid-19

Could Zambia’s Debt Default Signal a Domino Effect on the African Continent?

In November 2020, news outlets reported that Zambia had become the first African country to default on debt against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, after opting out of a $42.5 million eurobond repayment. Zambia’s external debt payments have increased significantly since 2014, from 4% of government revenue to an estimated 33% in early 2021. As neighbouring countries in Sub-Saharan Africa continue to suffer the economic squeeze of the pandemic, there are fears that others will follow Zambia in defaulting sooner than experts anticipated. 

Africa Economics

End of the CFA franc: A possible turning point in Francafrique?

The CFA franc has long been cited as the representation of France’s economic “grip” on Africa and forms a central pillar of Françafrique – France’s relationship with its former African colonies. However, in an effort to move away from the controversial aspects of the region’s common currency, France and the CFA countries have initiated a number of reforms – with the former also pushing for the adoption of the “Eco” by the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). This move would help remove the most visible elements of French influence; however, it is unlikely to assuage the allegations of French neo-colonialism that hamper Paris’ foreign policy objectives. 

Africa Covid-19

Internet and Social Media Shutdowns on the African Continent

Internet and social media shutdowns have become an increasingly popular method employed by African leaders to stop the flow of information and repress political opinions and information available online. Commonly used during periods of civil unrest and elections, more often than not, the shutdowns do not have the desired effects. Internet and social media shutdowns rather lead to higher levels of unrest, human rights violations, lack of election credibility and great economic loss.

Africa Insights

Russia: How the Kremlin is Gradually Overtaking Africa

From private military companies supporting local governments to Russian state-linked corporations exploiting the resource-rich continent, Moscow has launched an active campaign to regain its sphere of influence in Africa. Russia’s use of greyzone military capabilities, and its position as a critical security provider for the conflict-ridden and politically unstable continent, strengthen the Kremlin’s leverage to contest Chinese and American interests in Africa.

Europe Security

Ethiopia – What next for Abiy Ahmed?

The apparent culmination of the Ethiopian government’s ‘law enforcement operation’ in Tigray poses a number of new questions for the future of Africa’s second-most populous country. The crisis in Ethiopia, which erupted at the start of November, is the culmination of a period of rising tensions between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). 

Africa Politics

Burkina Faso’s Elections to Proceed Without the People

A change to the electoral code for impending elections in Burkina Faso raises concerns over the country’s future, in a region that is seeing a growing trend of incumbent politicians engineering political systems to remain in power.