Development aid

Expert Voices

Global powers accelerate plays for influence in Africa

Putin, Kagame and fellow Russian and Rwandan officials seated across a conference table
Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Sochi summit. Photo: Alexander Ryumin/TASS via Getty Images

Russia's late October summit with African leaders in Sochi took place amid a renewed global scramble among foreign powers for influence on the continent.

Why it matters: Increased competition holds promise for Africa. Not only will foreign investment — which rebounded last year after a recent downturn — rise, but African countries can be more selective about deal terms while diversifying their partnerships beyond currently dominant powers such as China.

Expert Voices

U.S. exit from Syria leaves civilians and Kurdish fighters at risk

Syrians gather around a U.S. armored car
Syrian Kurds around a U.S. armored vehicle during a demonstration against Turkish threats, Oct. 6. Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP via Getty Images

The withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria, announced by President Trump on Sunday evening, gives Turkey a green light to sweep into the region and threatens the U.S.-allied Syrian Kurdish forces who helped combat the Islamic State.

Why it matters: The move could open new fronts of conflict and displace hundreds of thousands of civilians across an area already in the grip of a humanitarian crisis. It also risks ceding more territory to the control of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.