West Africa

  • Protesters outside Nigeria's parliament demand security forces search harder for the 200 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram

    Commentary

    The Risks of Rescue

    As appealing as a successful mission to rescue the 200 school girls held hostage by Boko Haram in Nigeria might appear, the use of U.S. military assets to mount a rescue attempt would be a mistake.

    Jun 13, 2014

  • A child receives polio vaccination during an anti-polio campaign on the outskirts of Jalalabad, Afghanistan

    Commentary

    An Outbreak of Outbreaks

    Lately, stories about outbreaks seem to be spreading faster than the diseases themselves. An outbreak of measles in Ohio is just part of an 18-year high of U.S. cases. Meanwhile, polio continues to circulate in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria, while spreading to other countries.

    Jun 11, 2014

  • Woman attends a health education session in northern Nigeria

    Commentary

    Insurance and Incentives: A Dual Approach to Try to Improve Maternal Health in Nigeria

    Less than 5% of Nigerians have insurance; two-thirds of all health care costs are paid out of pocket. When people must pay out of pocket for health care at the point of service, this restricts access, excludes the poorest and most vulnerable, and leads to delays in patients seeking help.

    Jun 10, 2014

  • Protesters march in support of the girls kidnapped by members of Boko Haram in front of the Nigerian Embassy in Washington

    Commentary

    Nigeria, Boko Haram, and the Difficulty of Rescuing the Kidnapped Girls

    The historical record suggests that when many hostages are involved, rescues are bloody affairs. Early RAND research on hostage situations showed that of all the ways hostages may be killed—during the initial abduction, trying to escape, murdered by their captors or during the rescue—79 percent died during the rescue.

    May 19, 2014

  • A U.S. Navy boat patrols the waters of Nigeria's Lagos harbor, March 24, 2009

    Commentary

    Why the Dangerous New Turn for Piracy Matters

    Off the western coast of Africa, just north of the equator, the Gulf of Guinea has endured piracy for decades. But recent spikes in new, more dangerous forms of piracy imply a troubling sense of invincibility in the minds of the perpetrators.

    Apr 29, 2014

  • African mother and baby

    Commentary

    Maternal Deaths: Turning the Tide in a Nigerian State

    Bold and innovative approaches are being developed in different parts of the African continent in the quest to reduce maternal mortality. A noteworthy example of this is the Abiye Safe Motherhood program in Ondo State, Nigeria.

    Apr 16, 2014

  • French soldiers take up positions outside Markala, Mali, January 19, 2013

    Commentary

    NATO Needs a Southern Strategy

    If NATO wants to avoid strategic irrelevance, it needs to give increasing attention to the threats from the Middle East and North Africa region. A southern strategy should draw on recent experience, such as NATO's intervention in Libya and the successful operation in Mali.

    Feb 26, 2014

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Does Stewardship Make a Difference in the Quality of Care? Evidence from Clinics and Pharmacies in Kenya and Ghana

    Government stewardship appears to have some cumulative association with quality for clinics, suggesting that comprehensive engagement with providers may influence quality. However, our research indicates that continued medical education (CME) by itself is not associated with improved care.

    Jan 1, 2014

  • maritime training in the Gulf of Guinea

    Blog

    Using Air Power Against Pirates Off West Africa

    A U.S. Official has confirmed that two mariners thought to be U.S. Citizens were kidnapped from an American ship in a pirate attack off of the West African coast — the 40th such attack reported in the Gulf of Guinea in 2013. The current security situation in the Gulf has affected petroleum and natural gas production.

    Oct 25, 2013

  • Malians attending a concert for their upcoming elections

    Commentary

    Remembering What Mali Needs

    Free and fair elections are important, to be sure, but what Mali really needs is a leader who is dedicated to democracy, unity and reform of Mali's politics and institutions, write Stephanie Pezard and Michael Shurkin.

    Jul 26, 2013

  • Report

    Report

    Toward a Secure and Stable Mali: Approaches to Engaging Local Actors

    Discusses how lasting security and stability can be established in northern Mali after the 2012 conflict there, with an emphasis on understanding the region's complex dynamics and engaging northerners in security solutions.

    Jul 2, 2013

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Collective Action in Diverse Sierra Leone Communities

    Scholars have identified ethnic divisions as a leading cause of underdevelopment, due partially to their adverse effects on public goods. We investigate this issue in post-war Sierra Leone, one of the world's poorest and most ethnically diverse countries.

    May 1, 2013

  • Nigerian troops march toward an Air Force C-130 Hercules

    Commentary

    The Benefits of U.S. Drones in West Africa

    The establishment of a U.S. base in Niger is intended to facilitate intelligence collection and will provide a more complete picture of militant movements in Niger, Mali, and other countries in the Sahel, writes Seth Jones. The United States will share this intelligence with Malian and French forces.

    Apr 5, 2013

  • Cambodian garment factory workers travel home from work in Kampong Chhnang province, north of Phnom Penh

    Report

    The Benefits of Nation-Building Interventions Have Exceeded the Costs

    Most interventions in the past 25 years have been followed by improved security, some degree of democratization, and significant economic growth—with only a modest commitment of international military and civilian manpower and economic assistance.

    Feb 4, 2013

  • USARAF commander meets with Mauritanian senior leaders

    Commentary

    What Does the Amenas Attack Mean for U.S. Policy in Africa?

    Coinciding with continuing, contentious hearings on the U.S. response to last September's terrorist attack in Benghazi, the attack on the Amenas natural gas facility in Algeria has elevated a more general debate about the war on terrorism and U.S. policy in Africa, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Jan 31, 2013

  • Armed Islamist fighters race near the Mauritania-Mali border

    Commentary

    The Motivations Behind the Amenas Terrorist Attack

    An attack of this complexity would have required months of reconnaissance, planning, recruiting of inside confederates, and training of participants. France's intervention in Mali was used to “justify” an attack that would likely have taken place anyway, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Jan 29, 2013

  • French soldiers prepare for their departure for Mali on January 25, 2013

    Commentary

    Foreign Intervention in Mali Is Libya in Reverse

    France is in Mali not just to prop up a failing state in French Africa, but because Mali was becoming a magnet for jihadis from around the world and Paris rightly feared the country could become the next Afghanistan—only much closer to Europe, writes Christopher Chivvis.

    Jan 25, 2013

  • Touareg rebels in Mali hoist a flag

    Q&A

    The al Qaeda Threat in North Africa

    Last week's terrorist attack at the In Amenas gas complex in Algeria, along with the recent success of the militant groups fighting government forces in Mali, indicate al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are gaining influence in North Africa. RAND experts weigh in on the latest developments.

    Jan 24, 2013

  • A Tuareg rebel in Mali poses with an assault rifle.

    Commentary

    Hostage Taking Exposes Terror Threat in Africa

    There is a danger in viewing Mali through the prism of counter-terrorism, since the rebel element there is tangled up in movements and groups with a wide variety of interests and motives, ranging from sincere religious conviction to local political rivalries to base economic opportunism, writes Michael Shurkin.

    Jan 18, 2013

  • Malian refugees

    Commentary

    The French Intervention in Mali Is Necessary, but Risky

    No solution is likely to offer more than a short-term reprise if it is not accompanied by real progress toward resolving Mali's political crisis and strengthening the Malian state and Malian democracy, write Stephanie Pezard and Michael Shurkin.

    Jan 17, 2013