Catherine Samba-Panza is the new president of the Central African Republic, and it’s her job to get that country back on its feet after a year of near anarchy and vicious blood-letting. Has she got the necessary skills? Maybe. But she can’t do it on her own. By SIMON ALLISON.

Catherine Samba-Panza: Meet the woman tasked with saving the Central African Republic

Last year, Ethiopia wanted to get out of Somalia as quickly as possible. It didn’t. This year, it has renewed its commitment to the beleaguered country – although, as usual, Ethiopia has its own interests at heart. By SIMON ALLISON.

Last year, Ethiopia wanted to get out of Somalia as quickly as possible. This year, it has renewed its commitment to the beleaguered country – although, as usual, Ethiopia has its own interests at heart. By SIMON ALLISON.

You fail to take Nigeria seriously at your peril. The country’s economy is tipped to take over from South Africa as the continent’s largest in the near future, with its annual growth rate more than three times that of South Africa. Lagos, its biggest city, is said to be the seventh fastest-growing metropolis in the world. REBECCA DAVIS tried to wrap her head around it.

Cheap flight London to Harare, Accra, Lagos. Cheap flight London to any destination.

The beginning of the new school year in South Africa leads J. BROOKS SPECTOR to contemplate the country’s educational challenges in tandem with America’s – while reflecting on the writer’s family’s experiences with Japanese education for clues of how to fix things.

Teach your children well, or else: What Japan can teach us

In the past month, both Nigeria and Uganda have come under the spotlight for their passing of severe anti-gay legislation. On Monday, Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan signed a bill that carries a sentence of up to 14 years imprisonment for same-sex marriages or civil unions. By HALEY MCEWEN.

The bigger picture: understanding anti-gay laws in Africa

In South America, the war on drugs has failed, judging by the trail of dead bodies and countries destabilised by the drug syndicate wars, against each other and against the police. Yet, as drug smugglers expand their horizons, West Africa is being targeted with the same old rhetoric and policies – with potentially devastating consequences. By SIMON ALLISON.

West Africa and the War on Drugs: South American mistakes, repeated?

Only a few years ago Africa was labelled the hapless continent, a result of an era of colonial exploitation that was followed by decades of kleptocratic rule, civil wars and worse in many nations. Then, surprisingly, the popular narrative switched – it became a story of Africa rising. This catch phrase was everyone’s lips - and even on the covers of such usually-sober journals as The Economist.  J. BROOKS SPECTOR attended an African business futures conference.

The Demographic Dilemma – Africa’s economic growth under the microscope


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