- Simon Allison
It’s been over four months since the kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in Borno state. Very little concrete information is available about their whereabouts, and in the propaganda war over who is in control in northern Nigeria, Islamist group Boko Haram seems to be one step ahead of Nigerian security forces. By LIESL LOUW-VAUDRAN for ISS TODAY.
Africa, defined by outside, has been viewed in the bipolar narratives of good and evil. Lately, the “rise of the middle class” dominates, calling for investment and telling foreigners the bad times are over. GREG NICOLSON looks at a new report that grounds the issue and should offer South Africa its own opportunities while leaving the Hollywood narratives for Hollywood.
It’s been nearly six months since the first reported case of Ebola in West Africa. Despite everyone’s best efforts, we’re still no closer to containing the lethal virus. In fact, the opposite is true. Now that it’s spread across four African countries, it’s going to be even harder to stop – and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. By SIMON ALLISON.
Who will succeed Robert Mugabe? With the nomination of Grace Mugabe to a senior Zanu-PF position, the great succession debate is dominating headlines once again. But is it still too soon to contemplate the future? By all accounts, there’s life in the old dog yet – and maybe even a new trick or two. By SIMON ALLISON.
For centuries, international politics has been defined by the twin pillars of sovereignty and the nation state. These ephemeral conceits are the foundation of diplomacy, the building blocks of the world order as we know it. But not everyone’s buying into the hype any more – and if we don’t believe in them, then these ideas lose their potency. By SIMON ALLISON.
Boko Haram has long wanted to carve out its own country in north-eastern Nigeria. It’s always been an improbable goal – until now. Emboldened by the successes in Iraq and Syria of the Islamic State, Boko Haram has changed its tactics and is closer than ever before to realising an Islamic state of its own. By SIMON ALLISON.
In the Central African Republic, where an ongoing civil conflict has killed scores and displaced hundreds of thousands, no two narratives converge. There have been repeated attempts at reconciliation, but the culture of blame and finger-pointing appears to be endemic. From the streets of Africa’s most contested capital, KEVIN BLOOM tries to make sense of it all.
It’s not always easy to point to an African country that’s getting it all right, with one notable exception – Ghana, the thriving West African democracy that has also been developing at a phenomenal pace. But with the Ghanaian economy in freefall, even this role model must now come with big caveats. By SIMON ALLISON.
Yes, we should be scared of Ebola. It’s a nasty way to die. But it’s not that contagious, and we can’t really blame the disease for the fact that it is spreading like wildfire in West Africa. Instead, as usual, there’s a more obvious scapegoat: corrupt, incompetent governments and their repeated failure to protect their citizens. By SIMON ALLISON.
Thousands of people leave Eritrea every month, desperate to escape that country’s oppressive regime. But braving trigger-happy border guards is just the first hurdle. Incredibly vulnerable, Eritrean refugees are prime targets for trafficking and extortion rings, a lucrative sideline that helps fuel organised crime and political instability as far away as Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. By SIMON ALLISON for ISS TODAY.
Rio Tinto is one of the biggest companies on the planet. These guys don’t make mistakes, surely, especially ones that cost in the region of US$3.7 billion. Except sometimes they do. SIMON ALLISON examines why the mining giant is exiting Mozambique with a massive hole in its balance sheet – and its tail between its legs.
If the Kenyan government is to be believed, tourist arrivals are down a little bit on last year. Hotel operators tell a different story, speaking of a crisis rather than a decline. It’s a potentially devastating blow for Kenya’s economy. For this, Kenyan has got Al Shabaab and an increasingly misguided invasion of Somalia to thank. By SIMON ALLISON.
Africa is second only to Asia in its number of city dwellers, and its cities are growing at an unprecedented rate. Yet understanding of African cities is lagging behind their development. Locally, it’s a massive challenge to build a knowledge base that will support the building of more equitable African cities, making them livable, accessible, and sustainable for all. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
There are few health-related phrases which are capable of inducing as much fear and paranoia as “Ebola outbreak”. The current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is the worst in recorded history: it has killed more than 670 people and involves the most deadly strain of the virus. It is fatal in 90% of cases, a quick and brutal death. In these circumstances fear mongering is rarely helpful, but there’s a question on many minds: At the far end of the continent, are we safe? By REBECCA DAVIS.
Proving, once again, that borders in this part of the world are little more than an inconvenience, Boko Haram militants launched another attack in Cameroon on Sunday. This one was even scarier than those that have come before, because it wasn’t just ordinary, innocent civilians who paid the price. The militants made off with the wife of one of Cameroon’s top politicians – and if she’s not safe, then who is? By SIMON ALLISON.
News that warring parties in the Central African Republic have agreed on a ceasefire is encouraging – but not too encouraging. A few crucial oversights in the peace deal, coupled with the structural realities of the conflict, mean that it’s going to be very difficult to enforce. Still, it’s a start. By SIMON ALLISON.
We don’t get to say this often, but yes, here’s a good news story from Zimbabwe! Two journalists managed to convince the country’s highest court that it really made no sense to make defamation a criminal act, and had the offending law struck off the statute books. This should offer a little more protection for journalists working in the country – not that it comes close to solving all their problems. By SIMON ALLISON.