Africa Blog Roundup: Malaria, Northern Kenya, Obama and Africa, and More

Owen Barder:

There was bad news in research published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine about the effectiveness of what had seemed to be the best prospect for a malaria vaccine. The vaccine is known by the unsexy name of ‘RTS,S’.

The study of the phase III trials finds that in babies (aged 6-12 weeks) the vaccine only reduces malaria by less than a third.  This is disappointing because this is less than half the effectiveness that  had been suggested by the phase II clinical trials.

Karen Kaya and Jason Warner: “Turkey’s Love Affair with Somalia.”

Somalia Newsroom: “Uganda’s Withdrawal Threat.”

Hassan Kochore:

The face of northern Kenya…is changing, and one might expect people’s opinions and loyalty to the Kenyan state to shift accordingly. However, while the government has set out to socially and economically integrate the northern populations into Kenya, the narratives on the ground seem to be painting a contrasting picture.

Laine Strutton: “Italian Colonization in Africa.”

Roving Bandit on mental illness in South Sudan.

Lesley Anne Warner on US Africa policy and President Barack Obama’s second term. And via Amb. David Shinn, Tadias looks at US-Ethiopian relations in light of President Obama’s re-election.

Africa Is A Country: “10 Films to Watch Out For.”


Africa Blog Roundup: Malaria, Diplomacy, Protests, and More

Before I get started with this week’s roundup, I wanted to plug the new African Arguments website. Check out their blogs on Sudan, Zimbabwe, Central Africa, Africa & Asia, and Politics.

Chris Blattman flags a study on weather, malaria, and infant mortality.

Daniel Drezner offers some thoughts on foreign policy blogging.

Ambassador John Campbell writes, “There seems to be a new flurry of Obama administration diplomatic engagement with Africa [which…] highlights the complexities of balancing our sometimes contradictory interests in Africa.”

Jason Stearns looks at efforts to integrate armed groups into the military in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Dibussi Tande continues his excellent “Memory Lane” series on the 1991 protests in Cameroon, reminding us that protests in West Africa have long historical roots.

At the State Department’s Dipnote blog, Anita McBride talks about the future of the Fulbright program.

J.L. at the Economist‘s Baobab blog comments on the death of Fazul Abdullah Muhammad in Somalia. He writes,

To me, Fazul’s death, together with the sinking of Osama bin Laden to watery depths, signals the beginning of the end of the epoch of the war on terror. The end will not be tidy. Iraq has not recovered; the Taliban and the drug runners of Afghanistan will outlast foreign intervention. In their weakness the jihadists in Somalia are even more likely to strike Kenya, Ethiopia or perhaps South Africa and Europe. Since Fazul’s death suicide bombers have already blown up the interior minister of Somalia. It is more a matter of drift: the narrative of jihad will no longer command the attention of foreign editors. It is spent. Other stories are taking over—China versus the rest, the anthropocene and climate change; a new epoch for today’s foreign correspondents.

The “war on terror” is, in US domestic politics, in some sense already over – the Obama administration has largely avoided that framing. As for the “narrative of jihad,” I have long thought that journalists and commentators have overemphasized the significance of ideology in conflicts that are driven not just by ideas but also by history, grievances, and politics. But J.L. may be right in his/her analysis of where media narratives are heading. What do you think?

Saturday Links: Nigeria, Cameroon, Sudan, Somalia

During Nigeria’s 50th anniversary celebrations yesterday, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta detonated a bomb in Abuja, killing at least eight people. Jeremy Weate gives a first-person account.

A raid by Cameroonian security forces has freed six hostages seized two weeks ago off Cameroon’s coast.

In Sudan, Al Jazeera English reports on the South’s preparations for the referendum. Meanwhile, the US prepares to participate in North-South negotiations over the Abyei border region, scheduled to take place tomorrow in Ethiopia.

The UN reports on Somalia’s refugees. The numbers are staggering:

An estimated 410,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Somalia’s violence-wracked capital, Mogadishu, have sought refuge in the Afgooye corridor, a 20-kilometre strip of land north-west of the city, up from 366,000 in September last year, the United Nations refugee agency reported today.

The rise in the number of people fleeing Mogadishu is a reflection of the deteriorating security in the city since 2007, according to the latest assessment by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

“We were able to identify and map every individual building and temporary shelter. Overall there are 91,397 temporary shelters and 15,495 permanent ones in the area,” UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming told reporters in Geneva.

In addition to the 410,000 IDPs living in Afgooye, there are another 55,000 displaced people in Dayniile, north of Mogadishu, 15,200 in the Bal’cad corridor in the northern periphery of city, and 7,260 others in Kax Shiiqaal in the western outskirts, according to the UNHCR survey. The agency also estimated that Mogadishu itself has an estimated 372,000 IDPs.

Malaria funding is down.

And finally, a little bit off-topic but relevant to readers here who study terrorism in Africa and elsewhere, is this op-ed by RAND Corporation’s Brian Jenkins:

It is highly likely that the United States will be the target of further terrorist attacks, abroad and at home. It is not an underestimation of this threat or evidence of substandard zeal in addressing it to say that these attacks will not bring down the republic. We have come through wars, depressions, natural and man-made disasters, indeed higher levels of domestic terrorist violence than that we face today. Our foes cannot destroy this nation. That capability is ours alone.

Have a good weekend. I’ll try to pop back in tomorrow with a blog roundup.