Southern Africa

Plunder and The Perils of Mugabe’s Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is expiring, again. More banks are failing, beer sales – a key indicator – have slumped dramatically since 2013, tourist arrivals are down, and the business confidence index is at lowest ebb since the wildly inflationary days of 2008. Most tellingly, President Robert Gabriel Mugabe in January told civil servants to be patient - he “hoped” that they would soon be paid their monthly wages on a regular basis (something which had not happened often in 2014).

Food Security & Population Dynamics in the Sahel

Africa’s Sahel region is one of the most harsh environments on the planet with one of the highest birth rates as well. Food security, particularly when combined with population dynamics and the impact of climate change, is a monumental challenge. The Wilson Center’s Roger-Mark De Souza just returned from Niger, where he met with experts from a variety of countries for the purpose of identifying what works and what doesn’t. We discuss what he learned in this edition of Wilson Center NOW.

An African Misstep in Looking to Mugabe?

On the eve of his 91st birthday, Robert Mugabe has been selected to head the African Union, the 54-nation organization designed to promote unity, economic cooperation, and social development across the world’s poorest continent.

Zimbabwe’s autocratic president is a dreadful role model. His party has been charged with intimidation, vote-rigging, or other forms of fraud in every election since it first won in 1980. He never intended to share power, as he indicated when I interviewed him the day after that vote.

Underplayed Conflicts of 2014

I have spent my life covering wars, revolutions, and uprisings—more than forty years’ worth of them now. As I looked through annual rundowns of the Big Stories of 2014, I found three types of conflicts that were not on many lists but should be. Each, for different reasons, represents a trend worth paying attention to.

1. The Soft Conflicts.

The White Sun of Angola

As Former USSR Deputy Foreign Minister with responsibility for Africa, Ambassador Anatoly Adamishin’s memoirs offer unique insights into Soviet policy during Gorbachev’s perestroika. Its principal focus is Soviet involvement in the long-running conflict in Southern Africa: the Angolan theater. This account highlights the role of personal diplomacy and the relative autonomy of the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs vs the Party.

Advance Warning: Reagan and South Africa's Nuclear Testing Promise

Interview with former South African Foreign Minister R.F. “Pik” Botha, conducted by Or Rabinowitz (PhD), in Pretoria, November 2010, regarding South Africa’s nuclear history

Africa's Stalled Fertility Transition: Causes, Cures, and Consequences?

“Sub-Saharan Africa’s young people are in effect the global labor force of the future,” said Jack Goldstone at the Wilson Center on October 15. “Whether they are productive, how large that cohort turns out to be, whether they find work or not, is going to have a bearing, I think, on all of us.”

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