West Africa

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Ricardo Soares De Oliveira

The countries of East Africa are in the early throes of an oil boom, with an unprecedented opportunity for economic development. Unless they avoid the mistakes of those before them, though, the region's governments could easily squander it.

Interview, 2014
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Nigeria's finance minister speaks with Foreign Affairs about the developing world's role in international financial institutions, the fight against corruption, and her mother's politically motivated kidnapping.

Letter From,
Andrew Lebovich

The shifting focus on Niger as a Western partner for counterterrorism should not blind the European Union, France, and the United States to the West African nation's governance and reform deficits. Internal militant unrest, trafficking and other criminal enterprises, and weak, corrupt rule all threaten Niger’s tenuous stability.

Jean-Philippe Dedieu

Mali held a presidential runoff election this weekend. Here's why the vote of the country's diaspora will determine the next government's political legitimacy.

Interview, Sept/Oct 2013
Macky Sall

In this exclusive interview, Senegal's president speaks candidly about democracy, development, regional security, and Obama.

Leonard S. Rubenstein

For the second time in less than six months, polio vaccine workers in Pakistan have come under fire. For the gunmen, killing health care workers has been seen as a legitimate response to a nefarious extension of Western power. And, for the CIA, faux vaccine campaigns have sometimes been justified as part of the war on terror. Both sides are wrong: denying or providing health care should never be an instrument of statecraft.

Essay, May/June 2013
Shantayanan Devarajan and Wolfgang Fengler

Sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP has grown five percent a year since 2000 and is expected to grow even faster in the future. Although pessimists are quick to point out that this growth has followed increases in commodities prices, the success of recent political reforms and the increased openness of African societies give the region a good chance of sustaining its boom for years to come.

Etienne de Durand

France's intervention in Mali has so far succeeded, but expelling Islamist militants was the easy part. Now Paris must turn its tactical achievements into a lasting victory -- which will require a light but enduring presence in the country.

Sebastian Elischer

Although France quickly achieved its goals in Mali, the Islamist and Tuareg militants it fought are still at large, having swiftly retreated into the northeastern part of the country. The most likely outcome of the French operation, therefore, is not an end to West Africa's problems but their spread into neighboring Niger.

Susanna Wing

Recent reports have oversimplified the conflict in Mali, hinting that the country hosts a coherent Tuareg separatist bloc and a popular radical Islamist movement. In fact, mainstream Malians love neither. Most of them just want a return to democracy with broader participation and more freedoms -- the precise opposite of what they fear the separatists and Islamists would bring. As long as French assistance helps hold those groups off, it will be welcome.

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