Africa Blog Roundup: African Footballers in Europe, Partitioning Nigeria, Kenya and the ICC, Ethiopia on the Move, and More

Sean Jacobs questions the construction of a map that tries “to show where footballers playing in the top five European leagues come from.”

The trouble with their map is that while it claims to show players by country of origin (an elastic category), in fact it shows them according to national affiliation, and this is why it feels like these numbers don’t quite do justice to African involvement.

So Kevin Prince-Boateng (b. Berlin) shows up as Ghanaian, but his brother Jerome, who plays for Germany, doesn’t. Mario Balotelli and Danny Wellbeck, strikers on either half of Manchester, were both born to Ghanaian parents before opting to represent Italy and England respectively. Are these players African?

DR Congo is shown as contributing only a single player to the top leagues (which must be nonsense even by the methods applied), but a player like Vincent Kompany, the current captain of Belgium and Manche$ter City, could easily have represented the DRC instead, as could Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku.

A more interesting map might look at how players representing European national teams have roots all over the world.

Amb. David Shinn flags two new reports, one on the Sudans and their neighbors, one on conflict in the Horn of Africa.

G. Paschal Zachary asks, “Should the World Help Break Up Nigeria in Order to Save it?” Daniel Solomon says no. “Zachary’s partition,” he writes, “does little to address the present state of Nigerian political development.”

Nigerians will also get a say in what happens to their country, I hope.

Asch Harwood, Ken Opalo, Voice of America, and The Nairobi Star on the International Criminal Court’s recent decision to pursue charges against four of Kenya’s “Ocampo Six.”

The Economist‘s Baobab writes,

Acceleration is the word for Africa in 2012. The continent is moving forward at speed. No matter whether it is in control or veering out of control, Africa stands in marked contrast to slowing down and decomposition in the West. The acceleration is especially true in Ethiopia which is in the first stages of industrialisation.

Last but not least, an interesting read on Zanzibar and Andalus (h/t zunguzungu).

What are you reading today?


3 thoughts on “Africa Blog Roundup: African Footballers in Europe, Partitioning Nigeria, Kenya and the ICC, Ethiopia on the Move, and More

  1. The truth is that Nigeria is too big for the international community to have any meaningful impact on its future, anyway. All the speculation about Nigeria’s disintegration or unity is merely academic as there is the real possibility of events spiraling out of control.

    Nigeria’s Christian community has shown remarkable restraint in the face of persistent provocation and government incompetence. That is about the only thing holding Nigeria together as a united entity.

    If the Nigerian government does not get a handle on this crisis within the next couple of months and Boko Haram ups its game – all bets are off.

    How do you deal with a problem like Boko Haram? Each attack leads to a violent retaliation by the Army and Police, leading to further radicalisation of masses of poor, angry young men. Each attack on a Church makes the possibility of Christian retaliation more, not less likely. Inserting the US Military in the fray does not guarantee success – if the experience of Iraq and Afghanistan is anything to go by, the US Military doesn’t to counter-insurgency in Muslim lands very well.

    The Nigerian security services are not fit for purpose.

    The only thing I guess we can do is pray. We seem to be on the road to Sierra Leone – all out sectarian war.

    And a sectarian war is not going result in a united Nigeria. No force on earth will be strong enough to enforce the unity of a Christian dominated South with a largely Muslim North (living under Sharia law) in the aftermath of a sectarian war.

    Especially when the bulk of the resources and industry in located in the South. A few French helicopters won’t do the trick here (like Ivory Coast). And the US will rather build a colony on the Moon than commit its troops to military operations in W. Africa.

    • Conflicts like this take time and can easily backslide over and over again, especially if it has a geographic/cultural element that divides elites instead of uniting them. Still Nigeria isn’t necessarily doomed to split*. Plenty of nations in Africa have had separatist conflicts going on since achieving independence. Boko Haram might be one of the organizations that survive to establish itself as an opposing organization to the government or this might be the height of its success before arrests and boosted military action cripples it. It could be at least another two or three years before we know.

      *And I’m opposed to partitioning nations unless genocide and ethnic cleansing were part of government policy or it’s done through a peaceful vote.

      • In case you weren’t paying attention, 10-15,000 people have lost their lives in sectarian violence (mainly in Northern Nigeria) since 1999. This doesn’t tend to be reported in Western media, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

        As I said earlier, it is not all about Boko Haram. The REACTION to Boko Haram will determine the future of Nigeria. Within six months we will be able to fully assess the REACTION of the Christian community to Boko Haram. Already senior Church leaders are telling their followers to DEFEND THEMSELVES. Guns are being bought.

        As a Nigerian, I need to tell you that there is not one single unifying idea keeping Nigeria together. Nigerians hate each other. The only thing that can be said to keep Nigeria together is the presence of crude oil – and that is not a sound basis for national unity.

        Finally, your views on this matter don’t really count. We are in uncharted territory right now. The future of Nigeria lies in the hands of Nigerians. If they don’t want Nigeria, then Nigeria is finished as a nation.

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