Focused Series »

Indo-European Origins
Siberia
Northern California
The Caucasus
Imaginary Geography
Home » Archive by Category

Articles in Sub-Saharan Africa

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 |

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. …

Egyptian Protests, Ethiopian Dams, and the Hydropolitics of the Nile Basin

By Martin W. Lewis | June 4, 2013 | 13 Comments

Water struggles in the Nile Basin have recently intensified as Egyptian nationalists denounce Ethiopia’s building of the Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, the river’s largest tributary. Ethiopia is now diverting the river in preparation for construction, angering many Egyptians, whose country is heavily dependent on the Nile flow. Protestors gathered in front of the Ethiopian embassy in Cairo …

Intense Ethnic Divisions in the 2013 Kenyan Election

By Martin W. Lewis | March 14, 2013 | 2 Comments

Media reports of the recent Kenyan presidential election have generally focused on the facts that the contest was not as violent as many feared it would be, and that the winner, Uhuru Kenyatta, has been charged by the International Criminal Court with committing crimes against humanity in relation to the bloody presidential election of 2007. Some articles have also mentioned …

Ethnicity and Political Division in Ghana

By Martin W. Lewis | February 22, 2013 |

Ghana is often regarded as West Africa’s best-governed country, with a relatively well-established system of democratic rule. Although the Economist Intelligence Unit Democracy Index for 2011 rates Ghana as a “flawed democracy,” it is nonetheless only one of two democracies listed in the region. (Mali appears in the same category on the map, but it has recently lost its democratic …

Self-Rule and Environmental Crisis in Ogoniland

By Nicholas Baldo | September 18, 2012 | 2 Comments

In recent months, relations between the Ogoni people of Rivers State in southeastern Nigeria and the government have come under intense pressure. On August 2nd, a group of Ogoni led by Goodluck Diigbo of the pro-autonomy Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) declared their sovereignty in internal affairs while stopping short of secession.

A New Capital City for South Sudan

By Nicholas Baldo | September 10, 2012 | 3 Comments

Though South Sudan remains a predominantly rural country, its urban areas—particularly Juba—are growing rapidly. Juba, the country’s largest city and its current capital, is estimated to house nearly 400,000 people, twice as many as in 2005.

Malawi and Tanzania Spar over Lake Malawi (Nyasa)

By Martin W. Lewis | August 23, 2012 |

International boundaries in oceanic space are often complex and disputed, especially in areas that abound in hydrocarbons. Boundaries that extend across lakes are usually less contentious and convoluted, but that is not always the case. Consider, for example, Lake Malawi (also known as Lake Nyasa) in southern Africa, widely considered to be the world’s eighth largest lake. As can be seen on the map, the central portion of this lake is evenly divided between Malawi and Mozambique, yet Malawi controls two islands that are well within the territorial waters of its neighbor, Chizumulu and Likoma, which together constitute a Malawian exclave district, with a population of some 13,000.

Taiwanese Initiatives in The Gambia and Burkina Faso

By Martin W. Lewis | |

Recent African news reports often focus on investments and diplomatic initiatives undertaken by the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Yet when one scans the news from The Gambia, the PRC figures little, whereas the Republic of China (Taiwan) looms large. Recent stories in the Gambian press have focused on Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs awarding scholarship packages to 27 Gambian college students to study on the island country, …

In Unrecognized Somaliland, Berbera Comes to Life

By Nicholas Baldo | August 11, 2012 | One Comment

Today Berbera is a city of about 100,000 located on the coast of Somaliland, an unrecognized state occupying the northern portion of Somalia. As the only sheltered seaport on the South shore of the Gulf of Aden, Berbera’s economic fate is thoroughly entwined with that of Somaliland.

Kenya’s New Superhighway

By Nicholas Baldo | August 7, 2012 |

In recent years, the crippling traffic congestion around Nairobi has prompted calls for higher capacity roadways to knit the region together. Kenya’s first superhighway, which links Nariobi to the city of Thika 42 kilometers to the Northeast, was recently completed to much fanfare.

China Courts the Portuguese-Speaking World

By Martin W. Lewis | July 26, 2012 |

Representatives from China and seven Portuguese-speaking countries—Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal and East Timor—recently met in Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia (in China), to discuss trade and investment opportunities. The meeting took place under the auspices of the so-called Macau Forum (officially designated as the “Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries”), which has been meeting since 2003. The organization is widely regarded as a Chinese diplomatic success that has paid substantial economic dividends

Strife in Ethiopia over an Anti-Radical (or Is It Radical?) Muslim Sect

By Martin W. Lewis | July 23, 2012 |

The Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa has been recently shaken by violent clashes between the police and Muslim protestors. According to Shabelle News, “The protesters, some wearing masks, blocked the entrance of the Anwar Mosque in the west of the capital and hurled stones at riot police who had surrounded the compound after noon prayers.” The protestors were angered by the government’s alleged interference in the practice of their religion, claiming that it has been trying to foist the Al Ahbash sect on the Ethiopian Muslim community.

Potential Fishery Collapse in Lake Tanganyika

By Nicholas Baldo | July 6, 2012 |

Africa’s ancient Lake Tanganyika faces a potential collapse of its fishing industry.

?php get_sidebar(); ?>