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China and Africa’s Vanishing Mammals: Part One

China has banned the import of ivory and barred the trading of ivory, but still the poaching of elephants for their tusks and the trafficking of other mammal parts continues, with Chinese entrepreneurs paying African people to kill iconic big species. More can surely be done by the authorities in China, Hong Kong, and Vietnam … Continue reading

China’s Belt and Road in Africa

China’s Belt and Road Initiative reaches to the coasts of northeastern Africa and to Djibouti and Ethiopia, echoing China’s voyages during the Ming imperial times. It holds strategic promise for China and positive developmental potential for parts of Africa that today have limited resources and, were it not for the Belt and Road Initiative, particularly … Continue reading

Grace Mugabe May Spark a Deadly Presidential Succession

When the scheming spouse attempts to take power and prominence away from a long-time heir-apparent, victory is rarely guaranteed in family or corporate struggles. Nor is such a triumph certain in politics. In today’s Zimbabwe, however, Grace Mugabe, President Robert Mugabe’s wife, has prevailed upon her husband to oust his veritable presumed successor, vice-president (until … 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

Making Africa Less Corrupt

In many African countries, petty corruption provides daily payoffs to policemen, nurses, border guards, and bureaucrats. Then there is venal corruption: the big-ticket items. In South Africa, President Jacob Zuma and his cronies received cash for favoring the state purchase of frigates and fighter aircraft from France and Sweden. Nigeria is the home of almost … 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

Failed and Weak States Defined

A failed state is a country with a government that cannot or will not deliver essential political goods (public services) to its citizens. The state, usually not yet a nation-state, may hold a seat in the United Nations and function as a sovereign entity in regional and world politics, but as far as most of … Continue reading

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