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African heads of state at the 11th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union (Source: President Paul Kagame/Flicr)

On February 4th, the African Union (AU) held its 34th Annual Summit virtually from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Among the highlights of the Summit was President Joe Biden’s address to the attendees. In his address, President Biden reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to ”rebuilding partnerships across the world and reengaging with international institutions like the African Union.” The Annual Summit was held at a time when the continent is facing a wide range of political and economic challenges. As the institution marks fifty eight years since its inception, we look back on its history, its successes and the challenges that lie ahead.


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A French military helicopter over the Nigerien town Madama, which serves as a forward operating base for the French, Niger and Chad armies. (Photo: Thomas Goisque)

On February 15–16, a G5 Sahel Summit was held in N’Djamena, Chad. The Summit brought together leaders of 5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger) as well as the French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss the growing security issues in the region. The Summit comes at a time when the Sahel is experiencing a surge in violence from jihadist groups. In his remarks at the Summit, President Macron ruled out an immediate reduction in France’s 5,100 troops in the region, and noted that “other important operations” will be launched in the coming months against targeted groups in…


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A statue of King Leopold II in Brussels, Belgium, covered in red paint. (Source: EmDee/Wikimedia Commons)

For over a century, the United States has played a key role in shaping Congo’s destiny. From its support for the bloody colonial rule of Belgium’s King Leopold II, to its backing of the assassination of the Congo’s first democratically elected leader, the United States has long contributed to the suffering and exploitation of the mineral-rich nation.

As we celebrate Black History Month, we look back at the history of U.S. involvement in the Congo.

How the U.S. helped King Leopold II colonize the Congo

At the 1884–85 Berlin Conference, European powers convened to partition Africa among themselves, in a…


Over the past year, Africa has taken fast and targeted action against COVID-19 and the tremendous leadership of national governments and regional organizations like the African Union and the Africa Center for Disease Control. While the continent has achieved a degree of success in managing its COVID-19 cases despite its weak healthcare systems, it is currently facing a fierce second wave of COVID-19, with over 3.3 million cases and over 82,000 deaths. The continent now has a higher COVID death rate than the global level.

South Africa, the fifth most populous country in Africa, which accounts for 30% of the…


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Presidential hopeful at a campaign rally in Iganga (Source: @HEBobiwine/Twitter)

On Thursday January 14, Ugandans went to the polls to vote for president in an election widely condemned as unfree and unfair. President Museveni’s declared re-election for a sixth-term dealt a huge blow to democracy, crushing the hope that many Ugandans had for choosing a new leader.

The highly anticipated election betweenUganda’s president Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power for 35 years, and Bobi Wine, a musician turned politician who has garnered waves of support from the Ugandan youth and opposition, demonstrated the near impossibility of defeating such an autocrat through elections in that country .

Ahead of the…


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Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2012 (Source: World Economic Forum)

On Wednesday, October 28, the World Trade Organization picked Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former Finance Minister and a world-renowned economist and international development expert, as its next Director-General. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala amassed the broadest support among the 164 members of the WTO, making her the most likely candidate for this highly coveted position. As Dr. Okonjo-Iweala inched closer to making history as the first woman and the first African to be elected as the director of a global trade organization, the U.S. government is attempting to block her appointment. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative issued a statement saying it…


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#EndSARS protesters in Lagos on October 13 (Source: Kaizenify)

Over the past three weeks, the #EndSARS protests calling for an end to police brutality in Nigeria have taken the country by the storm. Last Tuesday, the protests turned deadly after Nigerian security forces opened fire on peaceful protesters at Lekki Toll Gate, an upscale suburb of Lagos, killing at least 12 people. An Instagram Live streamed by DJ Switch and watched by over 100,000 people showed viewers what was happening on the ground and videos taken during the incident immediately started flooding social media, with #LekkiMassacre trending on Twitter.

Nigerian youth galvanized social media to mobilize and spread awareness…


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Cartoon by Ndarama Assoumani

Africa currently has over 1.6 million COVID-19 cases and over 39,000 deaths. While these numbers are high, they do fall short of the grim predictions made by experts earlier this year when the pandemic began. Compared to the U.S. where there are currently over 8 million cases and over 218,000 deaths, Africa is doing much better. Africa has been praised for its fast and targeted action against COVID-19 and the tremendous leadership of national governments and regional organizations like the African Union and the Africa Center for Disease Control. …


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A boy and a woman struggle with the dusty wind looking for water in Wajir, Kenya. (Source: USAID)

Our world is experiencing crises like never before. Even ahead of the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, growing inequality, poverty, and conflict threatened peace and security worldwide. The rise of authoritarian regimes and the retreat of democracy in many countries created an environment for these threats to thrive. Perhaps the greatest danger to peace and security is climate change. This is not because climate change on its own does the most damage, but because it serves a threat-multiplier and a catalyst, exacerbating the pre-existing crises that already plague our world. …


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A U.S. Air Force Special aviator deployed in support of Combined Joint Task Force — Horn of Africa rides in an HH-60G pavehawk helicopter during training conducted in East Africa (Source: AFRICOM)

The U.S. military’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) is seeking authority to carry out drone strikes in Kenya, to target Al-Shabab fighters. This could permit AFRICOM “to expand the counterterrorism drone war” into Kenya. The latest news indicates that U.S. military operations are not likely to diminish anytime soon. While the U.S. military has claimed to have a “light” foot-print across the continent, its expansive counter-terrorism operations and the number of its military bases say otherwise. Currently, AFRICOM has 29 U.S. military bases across the continent and according to its website, it “counters transnational threats and malign actors, strengthens security forces” and…

Center for International Policy, Africa Program

The Center for International Policy Africa Program analyzes U.S. foreign policy toward the nations of Africa to promote greater positive U.S. engagement

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