The China-Africa Convergence: Can America Catch Up?

By Howard W. French

Howard French, a leading American journalist on Africa for four decades, returned to the continent after stints as New York Times correspondent in Tokyo and Shanghai. He discovered a resurgent continent increasingly wedded to Chinese growth and expansion. The deep penetration of Africa by Chinese firms and citizens has coincided with an era of sustained African economic growth. On the eve of President Obama’s visit to three democratic nations – Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania – French’s essay initiates an Africa Demos series on the China-Africa Convergence and their implications for the United States and other countries.
 
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Forum for African Democracy: Africa Demos Forum in the News

By Storer Rowley

EVANSTON, Ill. — Confronting a continent beset with challenges, Northwestern University has launched the Africa Demos Forum, an online network of democracy and policy analysts devoted to the promotion of growth, democracy and security in Africa.

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Claiming Democracy: Are Voters Becoming Citizens in Africa?

By Carolyn Logan and Michael Bratton

The political transitions that allowed many Africans to experience a degree of citizenship have been major achievements of the past quarter-century. But power corrupts, no less than before, and new democratic governments can corrode from the inside out. Advances in political accountability depend on Africans claiming democracy, a powerful notion articulated by Carolyn Logan and Michael Bratton. Afrobarometer survey data enable them to evaluate the progress or regress of this vital dimension of African states.
 
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“The Power is in the Street”: The Context of State Failure in Mali

By Bruce Whitehouse

In his essay on Mali, Bruce Whitehouse of Lehigh University shows how failures of elected leaders, state institutions, and external donors can shift power to the streets and an uncertain contest among armed forces.
 
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The Democratic Awakening in Africa, 1990-1995

In the first essay of the Africa Demos Forum, Dr. Richard Joseph introduces the Forum and recalls its inspiration, the Africa Demos bulletin of the Carter Center of Emory University. In reflecting on the pioneering work of Africa Demos, Dr. Joseph sets the stage for the Forum’s essays on key topics and specific country experiences in democracy-building. The Forum will promote an active exchange of information and ideas.
 
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President Barack Obama and Africa’s Uncompleted Journey, Part II

With a second term secured, and decades of authority and influence ahead in his post-presidency, President Obama can become a transformative leader in Africa.[i] On March 7, 2013, Senator Chris Coons, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, issued a report that echoed the increasing call for the United States to enhance its economic engagement with Africa. Now is also the time, he said, “to ensure that America’s economic engagement policy toward Sub-Saharan Africa is coordinated, comprehensive and effective.” [ii]  The six recommendations in his report coincide with the points made in this essay. The moment is opportune for the Obama Administration to put forward an American Agenda for Africa that is bold, innovative, and inspiring. The Agenda responds to the question posed in the first part of this essay: “How should President Obama most usefully invest his authority and talents and marshal Americans to engage with the positive trends and opportunities?”
 

By: Richard Joseph

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President Barack Obama and Africa’s Uncompleted Journey, Part I

A public meeting of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs on February 28 will consider the question, “President Obama and Sub-Saharan Africa: Just Right or Not Enough?”  Several commentaries which demonstrate the increasing demand for enhancing American engagement with Africa are provided on the Council’s website.[i] 
 
Africa is an ineluctable part of Mr. Obama’s legacy and he brings to African affairs a unique understanding of its constraints. “With better governance,” he declared in Ghana in July 2009, “Africa holds the promise of a broader base of prosperity”. Millions of Africans today are constructing the pillars of that prosperity. How President Obama can engage the United States in deepening this process, in ways that are mutually beneficial, should summon forth ideas that are feasible and also consonant with his philosophy of government. In the first of a two-part essay, I will show how this debate relates to ideas for bolstering a liberal international order. In the second part, I will elaborate on specific policy priorities.[ii]
 

By: Richard Joseph

 
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