Opposition politician Victoire Ingabire speaks to the media outside the High Court in Kigali on March 13. Guillem Sartorio / AFP

This July, Rwanda will conduct its presidential election—an event that should represent a celebration of democratic principles. Instead, it already promises to entrench the persistent suppression of opposition voices by the current government in Rwanda. As a victim of this suppression, I find myself once again barred from participating in an electoral process that I, as a Rwandan, have a right to take part in.

In January 2010, after 16 years in exile, I returned to Rwanda, hopeful and determined to contribute to the country’s political landscape through peaceful and democratic change. My intention was to register my political party and run for president in the elections scheduled for later that year.…  Seguir leyendo »

Members of the Sudanese Armed Forces parading in Karima city, Northern State, in May 2024. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The war in Sudan has become one of the worst ongoing humanitarian crises in the world. In a little over a year of fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), there have been 6.8 million people internally displaced, 2 million fleeing the country, and 24.8 million, almost half the population, in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

The United Arab Emirates is the foreign player most invested in the war. In fact, without its direct and all-around support, the RSF would not have been able to wage war to the same extent.

Sudan is key to the UAE’s strategy in Africa and the Middle East, aimed at achieving political and economic hegemony while curbing democratic aspirations.…  Seguir leyendo »

Los líderes del G7 pueden liberar fondos para África

El cambio climático sigue haciendo estragos en África, que soporta fenómenos meteorológicos extremos y desastres naturales en una escala nunca antes vista. Mi país (Kenia) acaba de salir de la sequía más larga de la que se tenga registro, sólo para entrar en un período de inundaciones devastadoras que mataron a 289 personas y afectaron a más de 800 000. En tanto, Malaui, Zambia y Zimbabue experimentaron hace poco una grave sequía que expuso a millones de personas al hambre; y la región del Sahel soportó una debilitante ola de calor que provocó más de cien muertes en Mali.

El cambio climático es en África causa creciente de sequías que ponen en riesgo la provisión de agua.…  Seguir leyendo »

Two women give their identity documents to Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) officials to be registered as voters ahead of the 2024 general elections at a voting station in Soweto on 18 November 2023. Photo by LUCA SOLA/AFP via Getty Images.

South Africa’s 29 May election has been tipped as the most important since the first democratic poll in 1994 and an important inflection point. Most polls have indicated that the ruling ANC will lose its majority but retain a leading role in national government and most of the provinces.

The results could be close. In particular, there could be marginal differences between smaller parties and independent candidates who are able to run for the first time in this election. Small margins could be the difference between getting access to political resources – and economic resources – or not. As with elections across the world, losers will look to blame the process.…  Seguir leyendo »

Displaced people taking shelter at a school wash their clothes in Nairobi on April 25. (Daniel Irungu/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

If you’ve donated clothing to a local charity or tossed your stained shirts in a drop-off bin, chances are your discarded items will be dumped in Africa, winding up in landfills, water and eventually breaking down into microplastics. Your castoff T-shirt will be among millions of items harming human health, marine life and local economies. In 2021, the United States was the leading exporter of secondhand clothing, according to United Nations data, and Africa was one of the main destinations for these goods. The intention is for vendors to sell at African markets, but the quality of the used clothing — referred to as mitumba — is often so poor and soiled that the items are dumped or burned as fuel.…  Seguir leyendo »

Kenyan President William Ruto gives an address at the State House in Nairobi on 9 May (Photo by TONY KARUMBA/AFP via Getty Images)

Kenyan President William Ruto’s arrival in Washington on 22 May ends a historic drought. No African leader has made a state visit to the US since John Kufuor of Ghana in 2008 – three times longer than the previous record gap, but a period that has also seen three US Africa Strategies (2012, 2018 and 2022) and two US–Africa Leaders’ Summits (2014 and 2022).

The latest of these strategic resets in 2022 encouraged a somewhat more engaged US administration, reflected in an uptick of visits by officials to the continent.

Yet competing international priorities and the looming US elections risk Washington slipping back into a status quo of complacency on Africa – illustrated by Joe Biden’s failure to make a promised trip to the continent in 2023.…  Seguir leyendo »

Libyan security forces take part in a military parade in the northwestern city of Misrata, on February 28, 2024. (Photo by MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP via Getty Images)

With global attention focused on Gaza and the attacks on Israel by Iran, to the south, nearby Sudan passed a grim milestone largely unnoticed last month. It is now over a year since the outbreak of civil war between the army and its rebellious offshoot, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Thousands have been killed and millions displaced in a vicious conflict that has seen widespread rape, looting and ethnic cleansing.

With the international community’s bandwidth limited, a somewhat myopic focus on the immediate crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean is understandable, but perhaps not wise.

Sudan has been labelled by the UN, ‘ one of the worst human rights disasters in recent memory,’ and has the potential to destabilize its already fragile neighbours in the Sahel, Horn of Africa and Red Sea.…  Seguir leyendo »

A vendor at an open-air market in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last month. (Tiksa Negeri/Reuters)

The United States, Mexico and Canada trade with one another under a pact that replaced the long-standing North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. The Europeans have their single market and common currency. Southeast Asian countries have a free-trade agreement. And 11 Pacific Rim countries have formed their own free-trade group with the unwieldy acronym CPTPP.

But what stands to be the behemoth of global trade pacts is one you’ve probably not heard of: the African Continental Free Trade Area, or AfCFTA.

Its scope is enormous, comprising 54 countries, 1.3 billion people and a combined gross domestic product of $3.4 trillion.…  Seguir leyendo »

Los herederos de Mandela enfrentan su mayor prueba electoral

Hace poco Sudáfrica celebró el 30.º aniversario de su primera elección democrática, que llevó al poder al Premio Nobel de la Paz Nelson Mandela. «Padre fundador» de la Sudáfrica post‑apartheid y sumo sacerdote de la reconciliación, a Mandela se lo reverencia en todo el mundo como a un santo secular. Pero también se lo acusa, cada vez más, de haber exonerado a la rica minoría blanca de 350 años de crímenes de tiempos coloniales y del apartheid sin obtener una compensación adecuada para las víctimas, mayoritariamente negras.

Cuando el 29 de mayo los sudafricanos vayan a las urnas, el legado de Mandela (y el de sus herederos políticos) enfrentará su más difícil prueba.…  Seguir leyendo »

Los fertilizantes no resolverán la crisis alimentaria de África

El mundo se enfrenta a una crisis alimentaria inédita, agravada por la pandemia de COVID‑19, la guerra de Rusia contra Ucrania y el empeoramiento de las condiciones climáticas. Pero el problema es peor en África, donde en 2022 el 61% de la población enfrentó inseguridad alimentaria moderada o grave. Y cuando más se necesitan soluciones eficaces, las autoridades vuelven a converger en la errada idea de que la clave para aumentar la productividad agrícola y poner fin al hambre en el continente es incrementar el uso de fertilizantes minerales y sintéticos.

Esta propuesta se remonta a la Declaración de Abuya sobre Fertilizantes para una Revolución Verde Africana que los líderes de la Unión Africana aprobaron en 2006.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protesters displayed Russia’s and Niger’s flags at a march for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Niger. Issifou Djibo/EPA, via Shutterstock

The forced withdrawal, announced last month, of more than 1,000 U.S. Special Operations troops and drone operators in Niger and Chad should raise the alarm for Washington. In Africa, our policy of strengthening security partnerships rather than supporting democracy has not worked. The United States needs a new approach.

The troops had been dispatched there as a key part of America’s effort to confront terrorism, and the pullout follows the governments’ demands for new rules and regulations on U.S. military operations.

Russia, and increasingly Iran and other countries, are already stepping in to exploit a growing power vacuum in the region.…  Seguir leyendo »

Abdoulaye Bathily, UN Special Representative for Libya and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), gives a press conference in Tripoli on 11 March 2023. Photo by MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP via Getty Images.

UN Special Representative to Libya Abdoulaye Bathily has resigned after 18 months in post, leaving behind a political process best described as moribund.

Most international policymakers seem to believe Libyan rivals must initiate the deal to break the current impasse. The UN has taken the view that progress is not possible without the approval of key powerbrokers and their international backers.

On the other hand, many Libyan actors believe the only realistic chance of breaking the status quo is through an internationally mandated process. After all, the last two ‘unity’ governments have been created through UN mediation – in 2015-16 and 2020-21 respectively – while an attempt to produce a government through Libyan institutions alone has served only to produce a parallel government and reintroduce administrative division.…  Seguir leyendo »

Le coup d’Etat du 26 juillet 2023 au Niger, avec la séquestration du président Mohamed Bazoum et de son épouse, a interrompu une séquence démocratique qui était sans doute perfectible, mais fonctionnait bien par rapport aux standards internationaux et mieux que jamais auparavant dans l’histoire récente du pays. Le régime respectait les libertés fondamentales, notamment la liberté d’expression et l’habeas corpus aujourd’hui disparus. Les programmes de développement produisaient des résultats tangibles.

La diffusion d’une photo récente de l’ancien président Mahamadou Issoufou venant saluer le chef de la junte au pouvoir, s’ajoutant aux propos de l’ambassadeur de France Sylvian Itté devant l’Assemblée nationale française, alimente les soupçons d’une large partie de la population sur ses responsabilités dans le coup d’Etat.…  Seguir leyendo »

Nelson Mandela Square at Sandton City in Johannesburg. (Gulshan Khan for The Washington Post)

At a time when the world seems sorely lacking in global statesmen — larger than life figures who manage to shape world events, transcend national borders and become universally admired — I always hark back to Nelson Mandela.

The South African anti-apartheid stalwart emerged from 27 years in prison eschewing bitterness and counseling a policy of reconciliation and racial unity. He used his moral suasion to build a “rainbow nation” in a country then teetering on the brink of an all-out civil war. He was elected South Africa’s first Black president in 1994 and served just one term — a rare example of humility on a continent where “Big Man” leaders are often loath to relinquish power.…  Seguir leyendo »

Children play near tents at a camp in southern Gedaref, Sudan, on March 20. AFP via Getty Images

This week marks exactly one year since Sudan descended into war.

Over the last year, the world’s most influential organizations, leaders, and publications have characterized Sudan’s ongoing war as catastrophic and beyond a point of no return. On paper, these terms seem reasonable in describing the dire circumstances on the ground. More than 15,000 people have been killed in war-related violence, over 8 million people have been displaced, and widespread hunger is increasing.

Though this language is attention-grabbing—and quotable—it has restricted the international community’s response to the conflict. This style of language—which effectively dismisses many conflict zones as lost causes—is a constant in humanitarian crises.…  Seguir leyendo »

La clave de la transformación sanitaria en África

A pesar del flujo incesante de malas noticias venidas de todo el mundo, quedan razones para el optimismo. Un ejemplo notable procede de África, donde hay un renovado impulso hacia la producción farmacéutica local. Esto da pruebas de que incluso acontecimientos catastróficos, como una pandemia, pueden llevar a resultados positivos imprevistos.

El shock de la COVID‑19, que puso de manifiesto la urgencia de financiar los sistemas de salud pública y ampliar el acceso a tecnologías esenciales y a fármacos preventivos y terapéuticos, tendría que haber sido un llamado de atención para los gobiernos y las personas de todo el mundo. Pero en cuanto el virus estuvo bajo control, los países ricos volvieron a las mismas políticas y prácticas por las que la respuesta inicial a la pandemia fue tan desigual.…  Seguir leyendo »

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg in June 2023. (Evgeny Biyatov/AP)

On a recent trip to South Africa, I traveled to Sharpeville, site of the infamous 1960 massacre of 69 Black protesters that became an early catalyst for the anti-apartheid movement. President Cyril Ramaphosa was reminding an audience that the country’s fight for full equality remains incomplete.

I was surprised when Ramaphosa intoned, “If we are to build a society of equals, a South Africa that belongs to all who live in it, we must end the discrimination and intolerance directed at people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“We must resist the efforts of those who want to take us backwards”, he said, “who express reactionary and hateful views directed at members of the LGBTQI+ community”.…  Seguir leyendo »

Una familia de refugiados de la región sudanesa de Darfur en la frontera entre Sudán y Chad, en julio de 2023.Zohra Bensemra (REUTERS)

Según la Oficina de Coordinación de Asuntos Humanitarios de las Naciones Unidas, se está sufriendo en Sudán “la peor crisis del mundo, además de la más compleja y cruel”, sin que dé lugar a ningún titular de prensa. Con casi nueve millones de desplazados dentro del país (la mitad de ellos niños) y casi dos millones de refugiados en el extranjero, Sudán es, de hecho, el escenario de la mayor crisis de desplazados por la fuerza del mundo. Además, lo peor está por llegar: los combates han perturbado las siembras en las regiones más fértiles de Sudán. Casi 20 millones de personas, casi uno de cada dos sudaneses, se enfrentan a una grave inseguridad alimentari a en un país que solía ser un importante productor de alimentos.…  Seguir leyendo »

Des fumées s’échappent de Khartoum après des bombardements aériens, le 1er mai 2023. MOHAMED NURELDIN ABDALLAH / REUTERS

Les enjeux de la conférence humanitaire sur le Soudan qui se tiendra lundi 15 avril à Paris, un an exactement après le début du conflit, sont immenses : l’avenir du troisième plus grand pays d’Afrique est compromis ; la survie de millions d’enfants, de femmes et d’hommes est en jeu alors qu’une éventuelle famine et la période de soudure se profilent ; la stabilité de toute une région, qui accueille déjà des centaines de milliers de réfugiés, est menacée. Et que dire de l’intégrité morale du monde entier, ici remise en question, avec en toile de fond les atrocités que nous n’avons pas réussi à arrêter il y a deux décennies de cela au Darfour ?…  Seguir leyendo »

Cómo poner fin a la interminable guerra del Congo

La violencia ha vuelto a crecer vertiginosamente en la volátil región de los Grandes Lagos de África, a 30 años —este mes— del genocidio de Ruanda, donde murieron 800 000 personas y 2 millones más se vieron obligadas a desplazarse —los refugiados huyeron hacia la zona occidental de la República Democrática del Congo (RDC), que se convirtió en el epicentro de un conflicto cuya solución resulta cada vez más difícil, lo que algunos ahora llaman la «guerra africana de los 30 años»—.

Desde el derrocamiento del dictador cleptocrático Mobutu Sese Seko en 1997, los sucesivos gobiernos de la RDC han sido incapaces de garantizar la seguridad fronteriza y gobernar grandes áreas al este del país, donde aproximadamente 6 millones de personas fueron asesinadas y otros 7 millones se vieron obligadas a desplazarse a otros sitios de la República.…  Seguir leyendo »