Africa’s long-time, largest oil producer is wavering. For six months in a row (March-August), Nigeria landed in the number two spot of the continent’s largest producers of crude, falling behind Angola, according to OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) data. Oil production levels provide insight into the stability – ...

Nigeria remains one of Africa’s largest oil producers, but for the past six months, it has been surpassed by the continent’s other major producer, Angola. Insecurity in the Niger Delta is largely to blame. The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder spoke with Director of the CSIS Africa Program Jennifer Cooke about ...

Europe’s migration crisis is often framed in terms of the influx of refugees coming from Syria, Afghanistan, and other conflict countries in the Middle East. However, there is also a large number of African migrants that travel across the Mediterranean Sea to Lampedusa, an Italian island, and then onto Europe. ...

Downward growth revisions for Sub-Saharan Africa over the past year have tended to highlight the continued impact of external stimuli on the sub-region. The IMF’s latest revision cut growth estimates by 1.3 percent to just 3 percent for 2016 – well below the global average in a region which arguably ...

With coalition forces concentrating efforts against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the militant group continues to fester in Libya with the government struggling to battle its continued presence. This week, Western powers aimed to shift that balance. At the request of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), the United States ...

Around 60,000 people have fled South Sudan in just a few weeks – since renewed violence broke out in the capital Juba on July 7 and 8 – the United Nations refugee agency reported on Tuesday. The agency said this brings the number of South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries ...

At the heart of South Sudan’s descent into chaos is a failed effort at security sector reform. When Sudan’s long civil war ended in 2005, the U.S. – along with other donors – poured money and expertise in trying to transform the guerrilla Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) into a ...

The devastating clashes that took place in South Sudan’s capital Juba between July 7 and 11 left hundreds dead and forced thousands to flee their homes. It has also left a city on edge, as security continues to be fragile and livelihoods shattered. It has worsened the economic situation of ...

Today, the Gulf of Guinea region is simultaneously the major source of revenue for the development of the states of the region and a big source of economic opportunity for the partners conducting industrial activities. The region covers an extension of more than six thousand kilometers, starting from the Senegal ...

Although piracy in the Gulf of Aden attracted global attention and efforts to combat the threat, a similar and growing problem in the Gulf of Guinea—off the coast of West Africa—is being largely ignored.  Dr. Assis Malaquias, the Academic Chair for Defense Economics at the National Defense University’s Africa Center ...

Gerry Northwood OBE is applying his experience as a Captain in the Royal Navy to his new role as the Chief Operating Officer of Maritime Asset Security & Training Ltd to ensure his client’s safety when operating in the maritime realm.  Northwood told The Cipher Brief that private companies, like ...

The sea lanes of the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) are endowed with valuable resources and are an important artery of global trade. It connects maritime traffic from multiple continents due to its central location, particularly its proximity to Europe and America. Historically, the geostrategic importance of the GoG made it ...

“I’m sorry, but I don’t care if Dumbo takes one to the head,” said one senior European law enforcement official to a colleague at an international meeting on transnational organized crime earlier this year. Clearly, not everyone cares about the perils of one of the world’s most iconic creatures, but ...

Nir Kalron, a former Israeli commando and the Chief Executive of Maisha Consulting Ltd., voiced concern over the poaching problem and explained that terrorist organizations play a role in committing these environmental crimes. Furthermore, Kalron told The Cipher Brief that there is room for the private sector to become involved ...

Much has been written about the connection between the illegal ivory trade and the Somali al-Qaeda franchise, al-Shabaab. Some experts claim that a substantial amount of al-Shabaab’s funding is derived from the slaughter of East Africa’s elephants, while others say conservationists are hyping up such claims in order to raise ...

Last month, al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda affiliate based in the Horn of Africa, released a recruitment video showcasing its appetite for poaching. In the video, al-Shabaab members boasted that they don't need hunting permits, proclaimed that jihad is the “tourism of the ummah (nation),” and then proceeded to kill and mutilate ...

At the November 2015 meeting of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, China’s “open door” and “going out” policy, first declared in the late 1970s, was reaffirmed. Since its introduction and implementation, the policy has had a significant impact for China and the world. Today, China has become ...

As Director of the China Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University SAIS, Deborah Bräutigam has written extensively about the Chinese-African relationship.   Bräutigam tells The Cipher Brief why she thinks China’s involvement in Africa has had a positive economic impact. The Cipher Brief: We want to begin by setting the ...

One concern about the increased Chinese business presence in Africa is that it is forcing opportunities away from U.S. businesses.  Stephen Hayes, President and CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa, explained to The Cipher Brief that there are opportunities for both, but that U.S. businesses have a lot to ...

Chinese and Western interests in Africa—in other words, what these countries want from Africa rather than what they can do for Africa—are surprisingly similar.  They all want access to African raw materials, the political support in international fora of as many as possible of Africa’s 54 countries, and the ability ...

Last month, The Cipher Brief explored the rise of mobile technology in Africa.  To continue the conversation, TCB spoke with Tomi Ahonen, a leading consultant in mobile and former Nokia executive, to discuss his impressions of the African mobile industry.  The Cipher Brief: How would you assess the growth of ...

As the military campaign to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIS continues to dominate U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, there is also an effort to disrupt and eliminate the terrorist group’s financial capacity. Terrorist financing networks are complex and intricate. Groups pull together funds from a variety of sources ...

In mid-October, the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea published its latest report confirming that despite years of effort and the recent territorial gains that AMISOM (the African Union’s mission in Somalia) and the Somali government have made against al-Shabaab, the group continues to garner the finances it needs ...

The Somalia based terror group al-Shabaab has “diversified its economy” to ensure a constant income, from kidnapping for ransom and confiscating food and aid sent to rural populations, to forcing households to have expatriate family members send remittances from abroad to al-Shabaab’s coffers.  Some of the group’s most notable financial ...

For decades, belligerent groups have financed their operations by tapping into a variety of locally available economies, including illegal ones. The Shining Path in Peru was among the first groups to tax drug cultivation and smuggling. The Khmer Rouge in Cambodia prolonged its life by being heavily involved in logging. ...

The Cipher Brief interviewed Robin Miller, who advises firms on strategy and policy dedicated to global innovation as an Associate Partner at Dalberg Global Development Advisors.  Miller explained what conditions in Sub-Saharan Africa have allowed for the rapid growth in information and communications technology, and what the outlook is for ...

Africa faces some unique challenges pertaining to the security of mobile communications. A common misconception is that African networks and Africans themselves are not high value targets, and that they’re not on the radar of any of the major Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) or crime rings.   This is unfortunately not ...

The Cipher Brief spoke with Laurent Elder, leader of the Information and Networks program at the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC), about opportunities and challenges for Western businesses looking to enter the mobile technology industry in Africa.  Elder advises harnessing and scaling the already existing creativity and skills in ...

If we begin with the idea that African societies themselves are mobile, it is not a real surprise that mobile communications technologies have been easily adopted. The question is not if Africans can afford a telephone, but why everyone does not have one. Communication is of crucial importance in societies ...

Ebola may be out of most news headlines, but it has not completely vanished from West Africa.  Although the health situation has dramatically improved, there were four cases of Ebola reported in Guinea last week, and Sierra Leone reported five new cases in mid-September. The Special Representative on Ebola Response ...

A year after West Africa’s Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak, the global health community has begun to evaluate national and international responses. Experts are starting to ask difficult questions about the epidemic—predominantly, “what could we have done differently?” As public health leaders, we’ve asked ourselves this many times, particularly within ...

In an interview with The Cipher Brief, Dr. Josh Michaud, an expert on global health policy for the Kaiser Family Foundation, discussed the lessons learned from how the Ebola outbreak has been managed – and mismanaged.  He said there is an “effective prevention tool” for combatting future pandemics. The Cipher ...

The Cipher Brief interviewed Pia Wanek, Director of Humanitarian Assistance at Global Communities, to assess how West African countries responded to, and are being affected by, the Ebola crisis.  She explained why community engagement is the best avenue for strengthening West Africa’s capacity to combat diseases in the future. The ...