Political scientist talks peace, turmoil in West Africa

Jean-Germain Gros, associate professor of political science at UMSL, discusses peaceful elections in Senegal and the coup in Mali on Al Jazeera's "NewsHour" program.

People celebrated in streets throughout Senegal last week after Macky Sall was announced as the clear winner of a presidential run-off election pitting him against incumbent Abdoulaye Wade.

The peaceful and quick election that ended Wade’s 12-year reign is rare in West Africa, a region accustomed to turmoil. Senegal remains the region’s lone country to avoid experiencing a military coup. Mali, Senegal’s larger neighbor to the east, had undergone a coup not long before Senegal’s presidential election.

Jean-Germain Gros, associate professor of political science at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, discussed the recent developments in Senegal and Mali on Al Jazeera’s “NewsHour” program. He pointed out that Senegal is a poor country with a young population that has placed its hopes of an economic turnaround on Sall as the next president.

“He’s perceived to be honest and competent. Hope is penned down on him,” Gros told Al Jazeera. “But I’m afraid the resources may not be there for him to satisfy everyone to their liking.”

Gros is an expert in African politics, particularly involving French-speaking African countries. Francophone Africa encompasses the western region of the continent. A native of Haiti, Gros has also written extensively about the Caribbean nation including his book “State Failure, Underdevelopment and Foreign Intervention in Haiti.” He was recently quoted in a Time magazine article about Jean-Claude Duvalier, the president of Haiti from 1971 to 1986.


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