Of Oil and Kalashnikovs: At the First Russia-Africa Summit, Putin Makes Power Plays

Vladimir Putin At First Russia Africa Summit in Sochi

SOCHI, Russia — As the Turkish presidential plane carried President Recep Tayyip Erdogan across the Black Sea from Sochi, Russia, back to Ankara last week, dozens of African heads of state arrived in this resort city for the inaugural Russia-Africa Summit the next morning. During two days at a convention center in the Olympic Village … Read more Of Oil and Kalashnikovs: At the First Russia-Africa Summit, Putin Makes Power Plays

Why We Canceled an Event in the US Featuring West African Journalists

A resident returned to his home in the Mopti region of Mali after attacks in February 2019

Over the past eight months, we at the Mali-based independent news website Sahelien.com have been working on a documentary film called “The Forgotten Ones,” about the urgent security crisis in Mali’s Mopti region, where civilians, soldiers and United Nations peacekeepers are being increasingly killed. As part of our efforts to engage more directly with audiences … Read more Why We Canceled an Event in the US Featuring West African Journalists

The G5 Sahel Force, Failing the Region and Failing Itself

BAMAKO, Mali — The G5 Sahel Force was conceived to enable greater coordination among five countries in the Sahel region of West Africa in fighting jihadist groups and to strengthen regional administration and development while relieving the United Nations mission in Mali of those burdens. Yet ever since the group — Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, … Read more The G5 Sahel Force, Failing the Region and Failing Itself

The Future of the French Language Resides in Francophone Africa

BOBIGNY, France — On March 20, French President Emmanuel Macron stood before a crowd at the prestigious Académie Française in central Paris. With his trademark confidence and fastidious affect, he made his case for French as a global, 21st-century language unburdened by the oppression associated with colonialism. “By making the language of the colonizers their own language, … Read more The Future of the French Language Resides in Francophone Africa

A New Peace-Building Podcast Series Delves Into East Africa’s Complexities

A new series called “Peacebuilders,” offering a weekly podcast of interviews with a diverse array of African and other professionals on vital issues they confront in their work in East Africa, has been introduced by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The nine-part series debuted on May 1, with the first one focused on the … Read more A New Peace-Building Podcast Series Delves Into East Africa’s Complexities

Timbuktu’s Ancient Manuscripts Are Being Saved but Not Translated

TIMBUKTU — Down the road from the 700-year-old iconic Djinguereber mosque in this north-central Malian city lies the Al Qadi library, a private, family-owned collection holding hundreds of manuscripts from nearly a millennium ago. The manuscripts are priceless treasures of African history that experts say cover a range of topics, from minute religious law disputes to … Read more Timbuktu’s Ancient Manuscripts Are Being Saved but Not Translated

A Sobering Conflict in an Unforgiving Desert

Interim president Dioncounda Traore of Mali

BAMAKO, Mali — At the bus station here in the capital this spring, tales of trepidation from besieged northern towns like Gao and Timbuktu, where Tuareg and Islamist rebels took power after a coup d’état in late March, were commonplace. “There’s no life there because there is no law,” one man said after arriving from … Read more A Sobering Conflict in an Unforgiving Desert

A Tenuous Life for Malian Refugees in the Desert

UN refugee camp Mauritania

MBERA REFUGEE CAMP, Mauritania — One major fallout from the eruptions that began between Tuareg rebels in northern Mali and government troops last winter— spurred by NATO’s war in Libya, which sent thousands of Tuaregs back home to Mali with Libyan military weapons — was not only a coup d’état but also an influx of … Read more A Tenuous Life for Malian Refugees in the Desert

A West African Coup’s Potential Ripple Effects

Guinea-Bissau army

DAKAR, Senegal — The fate of Guinea-Bissau hangs on precariously as regional and international bodies involved in resolving the country’s post-coup crisis, which forestalled a presidential run-off vote, disagree about pace and tactics. The complications from the coup and another recent government overthrow, in Mali, have created unease throughout West Africa, possibly the last place … Read more A West African Coup’s Potential Ripple Effects

A Transition in Sight for Mali

mali

BAMAKO, Mali — The junta that upended the country here on March 22 has agreed to hand over power to Dioncounda Traore, the president of the National Assembly, in the next few days. Mali was set to hold a presidential election on April 29 before a junior military officer and his entourage ousted the president, … Read more A Transition in Sight for Mali

In Tiny Guinea-Bissau, Ruthless Politics and Cool Refrain

Bissau port

BISSAU, Guinea-Bissau — Guinea-Bissau’s presidential election on March 18 and the shooting of the country’s former military intelligence that evening caught the world’s attention briefly, as rumors of a coup festered. So far, that has not happened. Since then, more prominent West African nations have snagged international attention: the presidential election run-off in Senegal, in … Read more In Tiny Guinea-Bissau, Ruthless Politics and Cool Refrain

Tensions in Senegal Raise the Heat in the Region

DAKAR, Senegal — Senegal has always been praised as the most secure country in West Africa since its independence in 1960 from France. Its capital, Dakar, perched on the western edge of the Atlantic coastline, is a city of very rich and very poor, mosques and outdoor athletic fields, hawkers and cultural aficionados. A highway … Read more Tensions in Senegal Raise the Heat in the Region

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