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July 11, 2019

West Africa
West African Governments Lack Commitment to Reduce Soaring Inequality

Oxfam and Development Finance International (DFI) have developed the Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index (CRI). The index ranks 157 countries by their commitment to reducing inequality through increased spending on health and education, taxing the rich more than the poor, and paying a living wage.

A slum with a bridge, electric transmission lines, and a high-rises in the background.

July 9, 2019

Zimbabwe
Wildlife Conservation in Africa, Outrage in the West, and Cecil the Lion

Four years ago, on July 2, 2015, a Minneapolis Dentists killed a well-known Lion, Cecil, in a Zimbabwe trophy hunt with a bow and arrow. Cecil was something of a star in the developed world.

A man dressed as Cecil the Lion on a subway platform in New York.

May 24, 2019

Islamic State
Where Exactly is the Islamic State in West Africa?

The Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) claimed a May 16 attack near Tongo Tongo, Niger, killing more than 20 soldiers not far from the Malian border. In March it issued a photo of its members in Burkina Faso and in April it claimed an attack on a militia in Mali. But, it is not clear that the ISWA group based primarily in Nigeria is behind those attacks. 

Cameroon-Boko-Haram-Islamic-State-Terrorism-West-Africa

July 16, 2019

Nigeria
The Post-Presidential Legacy of Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan

Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s international reputation has improved since conceding the presidency in 2015. What does that say about democracy in the country?

Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan speaks to the media as part of the National Democratic Institute's election monitoring delegation in Liberia on December 26, 2017.

July 10, 2019

Nigeria
More Trouble Between Nigeria’s Shia Minority and the Police

The principal Shiite movement in Nigeria, the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), “stormed” the National Assembly in Abuja on July 7. In the resulting melee, two people may have been killed and eight injured. As is so often the case, there are few details, with claims and counter-claims.

A woman walks by police at a barricade in Abuja, Nigeria.

July 2, 2019

Oil and Petroleum Products
OPEC in a Changing World

Western leaders have long criticized OPEC’s power to raise oil prices, but the bloc’s influence is on the wane as U.S. oil production has soared and alternative energies have come to the fore.

OPEC

June 13, 2019

Democratic Republic of Congo
The Escalating Ebola Crisis in the DRC

An outbreak in the DRC has spread to neighboring Uganda, and conflict and mistrust of health workers is impeding international efforts to contain the disease.

A health worker puts on personal protective equipment before entering the red zone of an Ebola treatment center, where he will check up on patients in Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo.

June 13, 2019

Boko Haram
New Audio Offers Potential Window Into ISWA Decision-Making

Abdulbasit Kassim, leading Boko Haram scholar, recently discovered a thirty-eight-minute recording of a purported Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) communique. I translated it from the original Kanuri. It provides a particular version and explanation of ISWA's immediate history, and sheds light on why the group executed Mamman Nur, one of the Boko Haram’s founding fathers and an influential ideologue, its internal decision-making, and ISWA’s relationship with the Islamic State (IS). It is not clear, however, the extent to which what is described in the audio is true to what actually happened. 

Islamic-State-Al-Baghdadi-West-Africa-ISWA

June 13, 2019

Public Health Threats and Pandemics
The Ebola Virus

Endemic to the African tropics, the Ebola virus has killed thousands in recent years, putting the World Health Organization and major donor countries in the limelight as they’ve grappled with how to …

A health-care worker stands next to a cross during the funeral of a person suspected of dying of Ebola in Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo.

June 12, 2019

Nigeria
Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: June 1–7

This update represents violence in Nigeria and related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger from June 1 to 7, 2019.

Map of Nigeria shaded to reflect NST-documented deaths per state.