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Ethiopia: Ethnic Federalism and its Discontents

Excerpt: "The Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), led by its chairman and prime minister, Meles Zenawi, has radically reformed Ethiopia’s political system. The regime transformed the hitherto centralized state into the Fed...

Somalia: To Move Beyond the Failed State

Excerpt: "Since 1991 Somalia has been the archetypal failed state. Several attempts to create a transitional set-up have failed, and the current one is on the brink of collapse, overtaken yet again by an Islamist insurgency, despite the support of...

Guinea-Bissau: In Need of a State

Excerpt: "Guinea-Bissau needs a state. Its political and administrative structures are insufficient to guarantee control of its territory, assure minimum public services or counter-balance the army’s dominance. This core weakness has been at the r...

Guinea: Ensuring Democratic Reforms

Excerpt: "The political and economic change Guineans demanded in 2007 at the cost of nearly 200 lives is in jeopardy. Dismissal on 20 May 2008 of Prime Minister Lansana Kouyaté and his replacement by Tidiane Souaré, a close ally of President Lansa...

Zimbabwe: Political and Security Challenges to the Transition

"As Zimbabwe enters its second year under a unity government, the challenges to democratic transformation have come into sharp focus. Despite reasonable progress in restoring political and social stability, ending widespread repression and stabili...

Nigeria’s Elections: Reversing the Degeneration?

"The April 2011 general elections – if credible and peaceful – would reverse the degeneration of the franchise since Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999, yield more representative and legitimate institutions and restore faith in a democrati...

Somalia: The Transitional Government on Life Support

"Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has squandered the goodwill and support it received and achieved little of significance in the two years it has been in office. It is inept, increasingly corrupt and hobbled by President Sharif’s w...

Popular Protest in North Africa and the Middle East (I): Egypt Victorious?

"It is early days, and the true measure of what the Egyptian people have accomplished has yet to fully sink in. Some achievements are as clear as they are stunning. Over a period of less than three weeks, they challenged conventional chestnuts ab...

Negotiating Sudan’s North-South Future

"Sudan’s fragile Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) is entering its final phase, and a critical vote on Southern self-determination looms, but foundations for a constructive post-referendum relationship are yet to be laid. In addition to a hand...

Popular Protest in North Africa and the Middle East (V): Making Sense of Libya

"The character of the Libyan crisis today arises from the complex but so far evidently indecisive impact of the UN-authorised military intervention, now formally led by NATO, in what had already become a civil war. NATO’s intervention saved the a...

Congo: The Electoral Dilemma

"After four years of electoral inertia and in a stalled democratic process, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is preparing its second set of democratic elections in a hurry and on a rolling calendar. Opposition parties are trying to unite, ...

Divisions in Sudan's Ruling Party and the Threat to the Country's Future Stability

"When the South officially secedes, on 9 July 2011, the North’s problems will change little. The National Congress Party (NCP) has not addressed the root causes of Sudan’s chronic conflicts and has exacerbated ethnic and regional divisions. Facin...

Zimbabwe: The Road to Reform or Another Dead End?

"Intensified violence against those deemed to be ZANUPF enemies has exposed the limitations of Zimbabwe’s much delayed reform process and threatens to derail the Global Political Agreement (GPA). President Mugabe’s call for early elections has in...

Politics and Transition in the New South Sudan

"South Sudan’s political and security landscape has evolved considerably since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, but the most notable domestic changes may unfold now that the January 2011 self-determination referend...

Dangerous Little Stones: Diamonds in the Central African Republic

"In the diamond mines of the Central African Republic (CAR), extreme poverty and armed conflict put thousands of lives in danger. President François Bozizé keeps tight control of the diamond sector to enrich and empower his own ethnic group but do...

Northern Nigeria: Background to Conflict

"Violence in northern Nigeria has flared up periodically over the last 30 years. Mainly in the form of urban riots, it has pitted Muslims against Christians and has seen confrontations between different Islamic sects. Although there have been some...

A Cosmetic End to Madagascar's Crisis?

"Madagascar is a divided, impoverished, broken democracy that has suffered a “cyclical pattern from crisis to crisis, but the period in between each appears to be getting shorter”. Its latest crisis has proven particularly intense, drawn-out and d...

South Sudan: A Civil War by Any Other Name

"The conflict that broke out on 15 December 2013 was decades in the making. The speed with which the SPLM and SPLA collapsed reveals the ephemeral nature of the “big tent” policy. The transition to more broadly representative political and militar...

Côte d’Ivoire’s Great West: Key to Reconciliation

"Western Côte d’Ivoire’s land, security and identity problems make this vast border territory the country’s most unstable area. Reconciliation has yet to begin there and communal tensions remain acute. Two administrative regions are especially p...

Mali: Reform or Relapse

"This report is based on several dozen interviews conducted in Bamako, Gao, Niamey, Dakar and Paris with Malian political and military actors, their foreign partners and Malian civil society representatives in both the north and south of the cou...

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