rrotberg has written 168 posts for Africa and Asia: The Key Issues

Oman Offers a Lesson of Stability to the Arab World

Oman works. Despite its perilous location adjacent to desperately beleaguered Yemen and between bitter rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, it is among the few Arab majority nations that are stable and not riven by conflict. Its relations with its several mutually antagonistic neighbours and their troubled allies are harmonious, as are its relations with the … Continue reading

Africa: Unable to Feed Itself

Africa no longer feeds itself.Forty years ago, sub-Saharan Africa’s then 500 million people could grow enough staples — maize, wheat, rice, yams, cassava, sorghum, millet and the ancient grain known as teff — to keep most inhabitants free from hunger.But now there are about 1 billion sub-Saharan Africans and soon there will be 2 billion … Continue reading

Zimbabwe’s Economy is Collapsing: Why Mnangagwa Doesn’t Have the Answers

When President Emmerson Mnangagwa campaigned in July for Zimbabwe’s presidency, he promised to be a business friendly leader, and to return his country’s economy to twentieth century times of plenty and prosperity. But Mnangagwa has already shown himself incapable of jettisoning the state centrist, rent-seeking predilections of his predecessor. A “big-bang” sharp break with Zimbabwe’s recent past … Continue reading

Zimbabwe’s Cholera Epidemic a Sign of State Failure

Dictators kill, and do so mercilessly. The hundreds of Zimbabweans dying this month from easily preventable bouts of cholera can blame the past 20 years of ex-president Robert Mugabe’s reign for their fatal misfortune. By the middle of September, more than 5,000 people had been infected and 30 killed in the outbreak. Typhoid, another disease … Continue reading

Can Ramaphosa Save South Africa?

Cyril Ramaphosa is South Africa’s last best hope. Its new president inherits a series of complex and dangerous crises, and must rapidly rescue sub-Saharan Africa’s most advanced and modern country from two decades of wanton despoilment and depravity or fail and see his nation fall fully into a yawning chasm of underdevelopment and despair. Despite his love of long-horned cattle … Continue reading

Zimbabwe’s Contested Election: Mnangagwa’s Big Challenge

Zimbabwe is “open for business,” according to president-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa. Whether the new president can deliver a much-touted economic revival of long-impoverished, long underperforming Zimbabwe remains to be seen. If his electoral win is declared tainted by outside observers, and if opposition street protests continue, investors will not come and the country’s weak economic management … Continue reading

Eritrea and Ethiopia Finally Give Peace a Chance

After 20 painful years, Ethiopia and Eritrea have finally decided to create a meaningful peace. The side-by-side new polities that went to war in 1998 – largely because of the narcissistic needs of their ethnically aligned leaders – have finally resolved the relatively minor issues that separated them. Ethiopian Airlines resumed flying from Addis Ababa … Continue reading

Beating Back Terror in Africa

Africans are containing terror and terrorists, but declaring victory against the forces of revolution and insurrection in 2018 is premature . It is still a massive work in progress . In addition to the swirl of repetitive civil conflict in such disparate African countries as Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, … Continue reading

Corruption Causes Government Overthrows

An unexpected and path-breaking electoral-regime change in Malaysia last week signifies a global shift against corrupt politicians and corrupt governments. Malaysian voters overwhelmingly ousted the never-before-defeated United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and replaced it with a fresh coalition led by Mahathir Mohamad, a 92-year old former prime minister (and former head of the UMNO) who … Continue reading

The End of Impunity: What Lula’s Jailing Means

Brazil’s jailing of its beloved former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Saturday sent a strong signal to all of Latin America that the era of political impunity was over. Some presidents in Brazil and other South American countries have been impeached, but very few politicians have previously been sent to prison, and none … Continue reading