Eruptions of joy across the Somali-speaking Horn of Africa greeted the election of President Mohammed Abdullahi Farmajo, but to deliver a cure for Somalia’s chronic ills he will need to counter distrust in neighbouring Ethiopia and Kenya and win support from the African Union.
CrisisWatch is a monthly early warning bulletin designed to provide a regular update on the state of the most significant situations of conflict around the world.
President Salva Kiir has played a weak hand well since his main rival was forced out of Juba in July. To avoid new flare-ups in South Sudan’s three-year-old civil war, Kiir and regional states should step up their work on a more inclusive transitional government and peace deals with local rebel groups.
Women have suffered violence and abuse by Boko Haram, but they are not only victims: some joined the jihadists voluntarily, others fight the insurgency, or work in relief and reconciliation. Women’s experiences should inform policies to tackle the insurgency, and facilitate their contribution to peace.
Cameroon’s military campaign against the Boko Haram insurgency started late but has met with partial success. To consolidate gains and bring lasting peace to the Far North, the government must now shift to long-term socio-economic development, countering religious radicalism and reinforcing public services.
Angry demonstrations hit Kinshasa in September as President Kabila’s aim to stay in power beyond a 19 December constitutional deadline became clearer. Regional and international actors must use diplomatic and financial levers to bring about credible democratic elections and to reverse the DRC's worsening spiral of violence.
To reverse Burundi’s slide toward a devastating social and humanitarian emergency – as ethnically-charged rhetoric worsens and refugees flee to neighbouring countries – the African Union needs to overcome its internal divisions, fix a so far incoherent response and facilitate a negotiated settlement between the government and the opposition.
In a troubled region, Burkina Faso is a rare example of religious diversity and tolerance. But a perceived discrepancy between a significant number of Muslims and their low level of public representation has created tensions. To safeguard Burkina’s model of peaceful coexistence, the government must address this sensitive issue through careful reforms, particularly in the education system.
If [Somalia's new president Mohamed Abdullahi] wants to re-adjust the relationship between Somalia and Ethiopia, he has to be very careful. If he uses the old anti-Ethiopia rhetoric, he is going to quickly run into trouble.
Despite the rise of new security structures in [Africa] the last few years, [they] haven't done much to change the [political] dynamic on the ground.
The problem with the army [in Côte d'Ivoire] is structural disorder that can’t be sorted out with the punctual signing of cheques, even if the cheques are big.
If I were to advise [the new Somali president], I will tell him to go slow in relation with [Ethiopia and Kenya] and to build new bridges.They ultimately have collective, strategic interest working together to stabilize Somalia.
[Cameroon's] victory in the Africa Cup of Nations will have little impact in the long run. It neither addresses the structural grievances nor on the Anglophone resentment of marginalisation and appeal for federalism.
[President Trump's] travel restrictions will complicate U.S. security cooperation in the Horn of Africa. It will be a big boon for al-Shabab recruiting efforts.
The plight of refugees and the internally displaced from the Boko Haram conflict in Cameroon’s Far North is adding to the many burdens of an already impoverished population.
Originally published in Africa Research Institute
The ruling ZANU-PF is exploiting the many weaknesses of Zimbabwe’s electoral system to outpace the country’s divided opposition. Yet without a real change of policy, the country seems doomed to steeper decline.
The death of the veteran politician deprives the opposition of a well-known rallying figure. Without him, uncertainty and growing popular anger are likely to lead to more instability.
Originally published in African Arguments
Addis Ababa can win economic and security gains if it perseveres with its impressive commitment to peace efforts in South Sudan. With its new two-year membership on the UN Security Council, Addis Ababa has the opportunity to better connect regionally-led political processes to UN action.