A Quick Look at Gabon’s Electoral Crisis

Carte_gabon-2016-09-6-21-36.png
By CIA – CIA World Factbook, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=610267

For the past week, Gabon has been facing a major political crisis, sparked by disputed poll results. According to Reuters, incumbent President Ali Bongo was reported to have won with 49.80 percent of the vote. Challenger Jean Ping, in those official polls, had just missed the mark with 48.23 percent. Ping and his allies immediately began to protest the results, and Ping declared himself President last Friday (Reuters). They argue the result was rigged (Frontera News). The European Union’s election observers also have noted anomalies (La Jeune Afrique). Bongo has served as President since 2009, when he came into power following the death of his father, the previous President. The opposition candidate, Ping, once represented Gabon as a diplomat, including service as Chair of the African Union Commission (an interesting piece on his background is online at The Star). The week’s protests have been violent, resulting in a number of deaths (estimates vary widely, but most are well under 100) and over 1000 arrests (Reuters). The National Assembly building was set on fire last week (BBC) and there were reports of looting (Reuters). Global Voices has a useful roundup of some of these events and early reactions.

The seriousness of the crisis has attracted the attention of the international community. The US, EU, France (which has economic interests in this former colony) and others have urged transparency with the election results (Reuters). Today (September 6), the African Union announced its intention to act as mediator. Chad’s President Idriss Deby is expected to lead talks (Reuters).

My new book, now available in Hardback AND Kindle.

African Coalitions and Global Economic Governance

Cambridge University Press, 2016

[Cambridge] [Amazon] [Barnes and Noble]

African Coalitions and Global Economic Governance

Abstract:

The proliferation of international institutions with overlapping scope and authority over issue areas creates strategic dilemmas for all states. While African states are often considered marginalised in world politics and global markets, Michael Byron Nelson shows how coalitions can form a crucial part of African strategies to influence international institutions and achieve results. Building a bottom-up analysis of global governance, through legal analysis, content analysis, and in-depth interviews, Nelson illuminates institutional and coalition dynamics through case studies of three key areas – food safety, intellectual property, and agricultural trade. He highlights the difficulties encountered by coalitions attempting to navigate institutional systems, emerging from institutional thickness (increasing the number of institutions involved) and integration (increasing the formal linkages between those institutions). Finally, Nelson shows how increasing the hierarchy of an institutional system, by creating a focal point on a single institution, can make coordination easier for coalitions

Fall 2015 Notes

Classes are about to start!

This semester, you can find out more about my courses via the following websites (which are in the process of being updated this week).

International Law: http://internationallaw.site.wesleyan.edu/

Africa in World Politics: http://africanworldpolitics.site.wesleyan.edu/

My office hours are tentatively scheduled for Tuesdays, 11 am – 12 noon, and by appointment. I will add more hours as the rest of the semester’s schedule gets nailed down.

– Prof N.

Submitting essays: The jeopardy of just-in-time | Which MBA? | The Economist

Submitting essays: The jeopardy of just-in-time | Which MBA? | The Economist.

Those who handed in their work at least a day ahead of the deadline could expect a mean mark of around 64% (it didn’t make much difference if students submitted essays even earlier than that). Those who waited until the very last minute, however, saw their mean mark fall to 59%—which took them to a lower grade.

How Academia Resembles a Drug Gang | Alexandre Afonso

From: How Academia Resembles a Drug Gang | Alexandre Afonso.

With a constant supply of new low-level drug sellers entering the market and ready to be exploited, drug lords can become increasingly rich without needing to distribute their wealth towards the bottom. You have an expanding mass of rank-and-file “outsiders” ready to forego income for future wealth, and a small core of “insiders”  securing incomes largely at the expense of the mass. We can call it a winner-take-all market.

 

The academic job market is structured in many respects like a drug gang, with an expanding mass of outsiders and a shrinking core  of insiders. Even if the probability that you might get shot in academia is relatively small (unless you mark student papers very harshly), one can observe similar dynamics.

Richard A. Elphick (History) Nominated for the Herskovits Award

Our very own Professor of History, Richard A. Elphick, has been nominated for the African Studies Association’s Melville J. Herskovits Award for his book, The Equality of Believers: Protestant Missionaries and the Racial Politics of South Africa (Charlottesville, and London: University of Virginia Press, 2012). The Award honors the most outstanding book published in African Studies in the previous year. The winner will be announced at the annual conference this weekend.

For more information: http://www.africanstudies.org/publications/asa-news/november-2013-56th-annual-meeting/276-2013-melville-j-herskovits-award-finalists

Campus Event: Africa in China

Colloquium – Su Zheng, Li Yinbei, Ma Chengcheng, Sun Yan

Exploring Music in China’s New African Diaspora—An Innovative U.S.-China Team Research Project

This Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Location: Freeman Center for East Asian Studies

Time: 4:15 p.m.

Since the 1990s, African traders and investors have made their way to China as a result of the rapid surge of China-Africa trade. There are now somewhere between 30,000 and 200,000 African migrants living in Guangzhou. Su Zheng led a research team of threegraduate students from Shanghai Conservatory to explore music in Guangzhou’s African communities. They will present their research on various African diasporic music scenes in Guangzhou and discuss the theoretical and methodological issues that arose in this innovative cross-cultural, cross-national team research process.

Su Zheng is associate professor of Music at Wesleyan University. LI Yinbei, MA Chengcheng, SUN Yan are graduate students in ethnomusicology from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, China.