This category contains 67 posts

South Africa’s Looming Crisis: the End of Zuma?

South Africa’s economic, social and political outcomes drive sub-Saharan Africa. At least it did for a few years at the end of the last century and the beginning of this one. After all, South Africa for many years harboured sub- Saharan Africa’s most dynamic economy, its most vibrant political system, its most advanced infrastructure and … Continue reading

Sub-Saharan Africa: 2035 and Beyond

As emerging economies in the Sub-Saharan Africa region continue to develop, what trends should governments across the region, and international donors and the region’s development partners, like Canada, look out for in the medium to long term? The important rise of a significantly-sized middle class in large sections of sub-Saharan Africa now propels, and for … Continue reading

The Little Understood Connection between Terror and Drug Profits

Terrorists are in it as much for the loot as for the ideology. The Islamic State, or ISIS, could hardly exist, whatever its Islamist fervor, without hard cash from sales of pilfered petroleum, taxes on its subject population and kidnappings for ransom. Likewise ISIS- and al-Qaida-linked groups in Africa prosper by trafficking drugs across the … Continue reading

Confronting Drugs, Crime, and Warfare in Africa

Drug smuggling and its profits help significantly to fuel Africa’s wars as criminal enterprises. Terrorists frequently build drug-driven hybrid organizations to finance their operations and to reap illicit rents. In Mali, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Somalia, conflict is strongly tied to drug trafficking by syndicates allied to al-Qaeda–associated insurgents. The … Continue reading

Ameliorating Africa’s Energy Shortfall

China is helping significantly to reduce sub-Saharan Africa’s crippling energy shortages. By constructing myriad hydroelectric production facilities across Africa, by building high-tension transmission lines from north to south, and by helping at least one country to convert sunshine into power, China is playing a major role in relieving a major developmental weakness. All of sub-Saharan … Continue reading

Measuring ‘Governance’ to Improve Lives

Botswana does more for its people than Kenya; India delivers more quality services than Pakistan; Barbados is better at these things than Haiti or Jamaica; and Singapore offers the kinds of public goods that Malaysia does not yet provide. All kinds of officials and citizens, at home and abroad, want to know why and how … Continue reading

Why Not Back the Houthi in Yemen?

  Let the Houthis slug it out with al-Qaeda. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Why does the United States want to be fighting both the Houthis and al-Qaeda when the Houthis, now a major force in Yemen, are strongly opposed to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula? With help from us (or at … Continue reading


  People do prevail against autocrats. That is exactly what happened in Sri Lanka last week when voters unexpectedly but decisively voted to replace the hard-fisted regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa with a new coalition led by Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickramasinghe. It was a potent victory for democracy and good governance in a country that … Continue reading

Africa’s Growing Dependence on China

  Africa’s survival depends on China . At the very least, sub-Saharan Africa’s rapid GDP growth rates — an estimated 6 .3 percent this year and 5 .1 percent last — rely on continued strong demand from China (growing this year at about 7 .6 percent) for the vast commodity resources of the continent . … Continue reading

Greed and Corruption Kill Elephants

  Chinese merchants and diplomats, and the African officials whom they easily manage to corrupt, are helping to destroy sub-Saharan Africa’s remaining elephants. Already, Africa’s once massive herds of savannah elephants have been reduced from several million to 400,000, with 30,000 being poached annually – for their tusks. In Tanzania alone, where elephants were once … Continue reading