Foreign Policy Blogs

Sub-Saharan Africa

Crisis in Lesotho

Drought has exacerbated a food shortage which in turn has been exacerbating an HIV/AIDS-fueled health crisis in the tiny Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. Maseru has declared a state of emergency. And things are probably going to get worse before they get better.

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Yes We Are Confident! No We Are Not! Oh Yes, We Are! I Think.

According to Business Report, South African consumer confidence, which has been ongoing for some time,  either continues apace or it does not. What this somewhat frustrating contradiction tells us, I think, is that the dismal science is more dismal than science and that consumer confidence is probably a pretty vague matrix to gauge the health […]

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Defending Mandela

For whatever reason, Blake Hounshell at Foreign Policy's “Passport” decided that on Mandela's birthday he needed to write a blog post declaring that “Nelson Mandela is No Saint.” Let's leave aside the fact that no one has actually argued that Mandela is a saint, and so Hounshell is heroically creating a straw man to beat him […]

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Happy Birthday Madiba!

Happy Birthday Madiba!

Nelson Mandela turned 89 today, birthday gifts pile up, and South Africa celebrates. The still vibrant liberation hero and South Africa's first legitimate president still inspires hope, and continues to grow in popularity, whether dealing with his beloved South Africa, advising African leaders, or drawing the support of global football stars at a ceremony on […]

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A British Invasion of Zimbabwe?

Over at The New Republic James Kirchick (whose work, frankly, I have little use for most of the time) wonders, based on idle comments from Bulawayo's Archbishop Pius Ncube, whether Great Britain should invade Zimbabwe and remove Mugabe. While Kirchick makes some fundamentally (if somewhat obvious) decent points, I’m not certain that an invasion of […]

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The Transfer of Human Capital

IRIN has two stories about the movement of human capital in Southern Africa that reveal a region in flux. The first shows how South Africa is trying to stanch the brain drain of skilled and highly educated workers and professionals, particularly in the healthcare profession. The second reveals beleaguered white former Zimbabwean farmers who had lost […]

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The 2010 World Cup: South Africa’s “Sweet 16″ Party to the World

Cape Town has a perception as a racist city, according to Danny Jordaan, South Africa's Local Organizing Committee CEO for the 2010 World Cup. And he believes that the city (and the country in general) will have to shed that image if the 2010 event is to be a success. As a step in that […]

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When It Doesn’t Rain It Pours

It doesn't take much to tip the scales toward economic catastrophe for the people southern Africa. A poor harvest followed by a bitterly cold winter means that Swaziland is experiencing some of its worst economic conditions in recent years. Food and medical scarcities, inadequate shelter, and general economic vulnerability have created conditions for a miserable winter for South […]

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The Zimbabwe Crisis (Cont.)

Not at all surprisingly, the Mugabe government's unilateral price cutting, and crackdown on those who would defy it, has proven to be a short-term palliative and not a long-term solution. Store shelves are empty. Shortages reign. Prices may be low, but no one can buy goods. Producers have stopped producing, store owners have stopped purchasing […]

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West Africa Update

West Africa Update

A couple of items from West Africa caught my eye this morning: Ghana recently discovered oil off of its coast. But oil has usually proven to be a mixed blessing in Africa, bringing with it what has come to be known as the “petro-curse”: Fueling kleptocracy and division, exploiting poor workers for the benefit of […]

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The AU and the United States of Africa

The Foreign Policy Association's own Robert Nolan has been reporting on the African Union Summit in Accra. His recent FPA piece on early steps to establish a United States of Africa can also be found at allAfrica.

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Peer Review in African Government

The African Union's (AU)  predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), established a process called the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) as part of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD). The AU has moved forward with APRM, which, whatever its shortcomings, holds great promise to help African nations spur one another toward good governance, best practices, and accountability. So far […]

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Housing in Swaziland

In South Africa's tiny neighbor, Swaziland, recent reports indicate that more people live in informal settlements than in formal neighborhoods, which has spurred the country to push to improve living conditions in urban areas. Officials have decided to upgrade the informal settlements (often called townships) rather than build new housing.

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Asian Eyes on Africa?

China's increasing presence in Africa has become clear in the past couple of years. (For my own writing on this — with links — see here, here, here, here and here.) The Asian continent's other giant, India has been watching, and has designs on increasing its presence in Africa. China's role at best represents a dual-edged sword, and in the […]

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Tyranny and Catastrophe: Zimbabwe’s Great Equalizer?

The crisis in Zimbabwe, and especially the economic catastrophe, has proven to have a levelling effect in the country. This is, of course, a levelling in which a draining pool has lowered all inner tubes, and not one in which a rising tide has lifted all boats, and so it is probably of slim solace […]

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