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Articles in Sub-Saharan Africa

Third Africa-India Forum Summit: Meeting of the Lions

By Martin W. Lewis | October 30, 2015 |

Although I will continue writing on Scolbert08’s map of world religion next week, I can’t resist taking a brief detour to consider the Third Africa-India Forum Summit, which is coming to an end today in New Delhi. Regarded as India’s largest diplomatic endeavor in its history, the summit was attended by 40 leaders of African states. I am particularly struck …

GeoCurrents Editorial: Recognition for Iraqi Kurdistan and Somaliland

By Martin W. Lewis | September 16, 2015 | 13 Comments

(Note: GeoCurrents is a non-partisan blog devoted to providing geographical information, particularly in reference to current global events. On rare occasions, however, opinion pieces are posted on the site. This is one of those occasions. As I regard this issue as extremely important, this post will remain at the top of the GeoCurrents page for at least the next week.)
Now …

Mapping the Unlikely Break-Up of Nigeria

By Martin W. Lewis | June 17, 2015 | 5 Comments

As the previous post argued, electoral geography indicates that Nigeria has a problem with national unity, as the winning candidate in the 2015 presidential election received extremely few votes in the southeastern corner of the country. Such evidence, however, should not be unduly emphasized, as a sense of national identity is well established across most of the country. As a …

Echoes of Biafra: Geographical Patterns in Nigeria’s 2015 Election

By Martin W. Lewis | June 15, 2015 |

(Note to Readers: GeoCurrents is now on its summer schedule, which should entail 3 posts per week.)
Nigeria’s 2015 election has been widely regarded as marking a milestone in the country’s democratic transition. For the first time, an incumbent president lost a bid for reelection. Goodluck Jonathan, the outgoing leader, conceded defeat readily, graciously passing power to his challenger Muhammadu Buhari, …

Nigeria Slides

By Martin W. Lewis | June 11, 2015 | One Comment

Dear Readers,
My final lecture on the history and geography of current global events focused on Nigeria; the slides from this lecture are available at the link below.
Next week I will resume regular GeoCurrents posts. The first of these will look at issues related to Nigeria’s recent election, reflecting some of these lecture slides. Subsequently, I hope to examine Turkey’s recent …

Final Maps on “Geopolitical Anomalies”

By Martin W. Lewis | April 5, 2015 | One Comment

This post merely contains some of the additional maps that I prepared for my March 31 lecture on the history and geography of current global events. These maps, like those in the two preceding posts, focus on geopolitical irregularities and anomalies in a region of the world that might be called the “Greater Middle East” (for lack of a better …

Geopolitical Anomalies in the “Greater Middle East,” Part 2

By Martin W. Lewis | April 4, 2015 | 3 Comments

(note: The introduction to this post is found in the post of April 1)
Thus far we have examined a number of geopolitical anomalies in a sizable region of the world centered on Saudi Arabia. We have not yet looked at the most serious challenge to the standard model, however, that of state collapse. Other important issues remain to be considered …

Geopolitical Anomalies in the “Greater Middle East,” Part I

By Martin W. Lewis | April 2, 2015 | 9 Comments

(Note: The introduction to this post is found in the previous post, that of April 1))
A detail from the Wikipedia map of United Nations members, discussed in the previous post, shows only one non-member in the region that we might crudely dub the “greater Middle East,” which is the focus of today’s post. That non-member is the Palestinian territory, composed …

GeoCurrents Summer Vacation

By Martin W. Lewis | June 10, 2014 | 3 Comments

Dear Readers,
I am sorry to say that GeoCurrents will be taking its annual summer vacation for the next five or six weeks. During this time, several guest posts may be run, but I will not be contributing any posts myself. For the next two weeks, my attention will be focused on grading papers and examinations and on finishing the book manuscript …

Does the Boko Haram Insurgency Stem from Environmental Degradation and Climate Change?

By Martin W. Lewis | June 5, 2014 | 9 Comments

Several attempts to explain the extreme violence of Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria focus on resource scarcity, overpopulation, environmental degradation, and especially climate change. A recent article in The Guardian, for example, claims that:
Instability in Nigeria … has been growing steadily over the last decade — and one reason is climate change. In 2009, a UK Department for International Development …

Is Poverty the Root Cause of Boko Haram Violence?

By Martin W. Lewis | June 2, 2014 | 14 Comments

The notion that poverty is the main cause of terrorism and insurgency is one of the most contentious ideas in global security studies. Those on the left tend to emphasize the connection between violence and the lack of development, while those on the right tend to deny or at least minimize it.
In recent weeks, this debate has turned to the …

Dark Areas on the Earth at Night Map

By Martin W. Lewis | May 17, 2014 | 8 Comments

As is well known, North Korea is a dark land when viewed from space at night, quite in contrast to well-illuminated South Korea. In the Google EarthBuilder detail posted here, the discrepancy between the two countries is extreme. In the North, Pyongyang is the only sizable bright spot, and it is dwarfed by many regional South Korean, Chinese, and Japanese …

Casamance – harmonious name, discordant reality

By Claire Negiar | February 26, 2014 | One Comment

The Casamance has long been a region in limbo, caught between worlds: today trapped between Senegal and The Gambia, it was subject to both French and Portuguese colonial efforts before the border was negotiated in 1888 between the French colony of Senegal and Portuguese Guinea (now Guinea-Bissau) to the south. The settlement resulted in Portugal losing possession of the Casamance, which was at the time the commercial hub of its colony.

Religious Change and Tension in Ethiopia

By Martin W. Lewis | June 21, 2013 | 9 Comments

Ethiopia is currently undergoing a religious transformation that could be of major significance for the rapidly growing country of 91 million people. For centuries the territory that now constitutes the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was divided between an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian core (with a Jewish minority), a Sunni Muslim zone in the east, and an animist/indigenous-faith area in the …

The Paradoxes of Ethiopia’s Dam-Building Boom

By Martin W. Lewis | June 6, 2013 | Comments Off on The Paradoxes of Ethiopia’s Dam-Building Boom

The Wikipedia article on Dams and Hydropower in Ethiopia claims that “Ethiopia considers itself the powerhouse of Africa due to its high hydropower potential.” But while Ethiopia’s hydropower resources are indeed impressive, they are dwarfed by those of DR Congo, as the Congo River alone is said to account for as much as 13 percent of total global hydroelectric potential. …

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