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Coup predictions: Africa doesn't look as volatile as you might think

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To be sure, there could well be more coups this year. It's just that it would take at least a half a dozen to push Africa out of its recent statistical range.

I first came across Ulfelder's blog when someone posted his January article "Assessing Coup Risk in 2012." He made the calculation that runs a algorithm with four "risk factors": infant mortality rate, degree of democracy, recent coup activity, and the stability of a country since the end of the cold war.

Of his top ten most at risk countries (he provides a chart of the 40 most "at risk" countries, in his estimation) eight are in Africa, with Guinea-Bissau at No. 2, and Mali at 10. Niger, which has some similarities with Mali (a restive Tuareg population and a history of entanglement with Muammar Qaddafi's Libya) is number one. Rounding out the list in order are Chad, Guinea, Madagascar, Congo, Mauritania, Bangladesh, and the Central African Republic. Sudan is No. 11, with practically the same score as Mali.

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