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This Week in Africa (July 6-12)

In my view, Africa doesn’t get the attention it deserves, even within the sphere of foreign affairs coverage. My aim with a post like this is to call attention to the challenges Africa faces – climate change, terrorism, struggles over resources, war, refugees, tensions over democratization and constitutionalism, and others – and also to highlight the success stories happening there. Feel free to post your own links and thoughts on current African events in the comments section.

The biggest news item concerning Africa this week was probably President Obama’s visit to Ghana, where he "told Africans on Saturday that Western aid must be matched by good governance and urged them to take greater responsibility for stamping out war, corruption and disease plaguing the continent."

Reuters and the New York Times have further perspectives on why the President chose Ghana.

Meanwhile, some observers fear a renewed outbreak of civil war between North and South Sudan.

The FBI is conducting a major investigation of young Somali-Americans who return to their homeland to fight for al-Shabab, an Islamist rebel movement that some analysts believe is affiliated with Al Qaeda. Very few American citizens have actually joined al-Shabab, but the possibility that some might return to America and participate in terrorist activity here is frightening on several levels.

The Nigerian government is brokering an amnesty agreement with rebels in the oil-rich Niger Delta, but many analysts are skeptical that peace will result.

In West and Central Africa, twenty countries’ militaries are coordinating an effort to fight the spread of HIV.

A number of studies on HIV prevalence rates among sub-Saharan Africa’s armed forces have shown higher rates than in civilian populations, with the notable exception of Ethiopia’s forces.

The three-day conference to launch the Regional HIV Network of Military Forces in West and Central Africa, ending on 9 July, presented armed forces’ efforts to fight HIV in the region, best practices in fighting AIDS in Africa and a panel discussion on HIV and security.

And finally, I ask whether the International Criminal Court’s indictment of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is helping or hurting the chances for peace in Sudan.

What are you reading about/in Africa today?

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Alex Thurston

Alex Thurston