For poorer countries like Burundi, sending soldiers to join a UN or African Union peacekeeping mission offers financial and political benefits, as well as better arms and training.
In the first visit of a UN Secretary General since 1993, Ban Ki-moon promised aid and military support, but warned Somali leaders they must stick to reform pledges.
A Famine Early Warning System – which accurately predicted the 2011 drought in the Horn of Africa – warns that millions of West Africans may face a food crisis in 2012.
Criticism has been widespread since the Kenyan High Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's President Bashir, who is also the subject of an international arrest warrant.
Somalia's Islamist insurgency banned Western aid agencies from its territory, raising concerns that famine could return to parts of the northeast African nation.
Kenya's military is having battlefield success against Somali militants Al Shabab, but it is hindering access for humanitarian aid groups in the midst of worst famine in 30 years, aid groups say.
In spite of conflicts and humanitarian crises, there's change afoot in Africa. Seven of the ten fastest-growing economies during the next five years will be in sub-Saharan Africa. To support them, global consumers can use the Internet to gain direct access to the goods of African artisans.
Pakistan's envoy to the US, Ambassador Husain Haqqani, explains why Pakistan cannot simply clear out militants from its mountainous regions, while Kenya marches into Somalia to try a similar task.
As much as half of Al Shabab's income comes from businesses in the Somali port city of Kismayo. Kenya and Somalia have requested international support for a naval blockade on the town.