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  • Author: Stephen Commins
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The growing share of Africa’s urban residents living in slums is creating a further source of fragility. In response, some cities are implementing integrated urban development strategies that link local government, police, the private sector, and youth to strengthen social cohesion and enhance stability.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Urbanization, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: André Standing
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Conflicts of interest within Africa’s fisheries sector enable unsustainable exploitation by foreign fishing firms and undercut the political will needed to build more robust surveillance and prosecutorial capacity.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Security, Food Security
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Abdisaid Ali
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The growth of Salafist ideology in East Africa has challenged long established norms of tolerance and interfaith cooperation in the region. This is an outcome of a combination of external and internal factors. This includes a decades-long effort by religious foundations in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to promulgate ultraconservative interpretations of Islam throughout East Africa’s mosques, madrassas, and Muslim youth and cultural centers. Rooted within a particular Arab cultural identity, this ideology has fostered more exclusive and polarizing religious relations in the region, which has contributed to an increase in violent attacks. These tensions have been amplified by socioeconomic differences and often heavy-handed government responses that are perceived to punish entire communities for the actions of a few. Redressing these challenges will require sustained strategies to rebuild tolerance and solidarity domestically as well as curb the external influence of extremist ideology and actors.
  • Topic: Islam, Religion, Violent Extremism, Global Security
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Daniel Hampton
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Over 60,000 African troops from 39 different nations serve in peace operations worldwide. Maintaining African peacekeeping capability requires an ongoing training process to sustain the skill proficiency of troop contingents for rapid deployment and crisis response. Continued reliance on international trainers undercuts the institutionalization of African peacekeeping capability. An African-led training model would not only be more sustainable but would draw on the relevant, practical experience that African peacekeepers have gained over the years.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Regional Cooperation, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Bradley Anderson, Johan Jooste
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Spikes in the prices of ivory and rhino horn have propelled an escalation in killings of African elephants and rhinoceroses. Without urgent corrective measures, extinction of these populations is likely. This is not just a wildlife poaching problem but part of a global illicit trafficking network that is empowering violent groups and co-opting some elements of Africa's security sector. An immediate bolstering of Africa's wildlife ranger network is needed to slow the pace of elephant and rhino killings and buy time. Addressing this threat over the longer term will require dramatically reducing the demand for these animal parts, especially within Asian markets.
  • Topic: Security, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Law Enforcement
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia
  • Author: Nicole Ball
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Progress made by Burundi's Security Sector Development (SSD) program in advancing democratic security sector governance is noteworthy given that there have been relatively few successful security sector reform cases from which to draw. Political will for security sector reform was expanded over time by supporting tangible priorities of the Burundian security sector that established the trust enabling broader engagement on governance issues. The relative success of the SSD program—and particularly its governance pillar—depended heavily on its ability to address politically sensitive issues. SSD's 8-year timeframe provided the time to adapt the program to evolving circumstances, facilitate increasing Burundian ownership of the reform process, and realize the incremental gains from which substantive change was possible.
  • Topic: Security, Reform
  • Political Geography: Africa, Burundi
  • Author: Bradley Anderson, Johan Jooste
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Surging demand for ivory and rhino horn, mainly in Asia, has put wild African elephants and rhinoceroses on the path to extinction. More than an environmental tragedy, however, wildlife poaching and trafficking has exacerbated other security threats and led to the co-option of certain African security units. African states need to develop a broad range of law enforcement capabilities to tackle what is effectively a transnational organized crime challenge. Asian and other international partners, meanwhile, must take action to reduce runaway demand for wildlife products.
  • Topic: Environment, International Political Economy, Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Daniel Hampton
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Nearly half of all uniformed peacekeepers are African and countries like Ghana, Rwanda, Senegal, and South Africa have provided troops to UN and AU missions almost continuously over the past decade. Despite such vast experience, African peacekeepers are often reliant on international partners for training before they can deploy on these missions. Institutionalizing a capacity-building model within African defense forces is a more sustainable approach that maintains a higher level of readiness to respond to emerging crises and contingencies on the continent.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Michael Olufemi Sodipo
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Northern Nigeria has been the locus of an upsurge in youth radicalization and virulent militant Islamist groups in Nigeria since 2009. Nigeria's ranking on the Global Terrorism Index rose from 16 th out of 158 countries in 2008 to 6 th (tied with Somalia) by the end of 2011. There were 168 officially recorded terrorist attacks in 2011 alone. Bombings across the northeast prompted President Goodluck Jonathan in May 2013 to declare a state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe States. Many Nigerians have come to question whether the country is on the brink of a civil war.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Economics, Islam, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria, Somalia, Yobe State, Borno State, Adamawa State
  • Author: Paul D. Williams
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Violent conflict and the power of armed nonstate actors remain defining priorities in 21 st century Africa. Organized violence has killed millions and displaced many more, leaving them to run the gauntlet of violence, disease, and malnutrition. Such violence has also traumatized a generation of children and young adults, broken bonds of trust and authority structures among and across local communities, shattered education and healthcare systems, disrupted transportation routes and infrastructure, and done untold damage to the continent's ecology from its land and waterways to its flora and fauna. In financial terms, the direct and indirect cost of conflicts in Africa since 2000 has been estimated to be nearly $900 billion. The twin policy challenges are to promote conflict resolution processes and to identify who can stand up to armed nonstate actors when the host government's security forces prove inadequate.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, Fragile/Failed State, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Paul D. Williams
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: More than 50 peace operations have deployed in Africa since 2000, including multiple African-led or hybrid African Union/United Nations initiatives. The frequency of these deployments underscores the ongoing importance of these operations in the playbook of regional and multilateral bodies to prevent conflict, protect civilians, and enforce ceasefires and peace agreements. Recent operations have featured increasingly ambitious goals and complex institutional partnerships. The achievements and shortcomings of these operations offer vital lessons for optimizing this increasingly central but still evolving tool for addressing conflict and instability.
  • Topic: Security, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Prosper Nzekani Zena
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: With organized initiatives for demobilization, disarmament, and reintegration (DDR) in 10 African states, there is widespread recognition of the importance of these programs to advancing stability on the continent. Even so, these initiatives are often under-prioritized and -conceptualized, contributing to the high rates of conflict relapse observed in Africa. DDR efforts across Africa over the past decade indicate that DDR cannot substitute for measures that address core conflict drivers and is often hobbled by expedient but fragile efforts to integrate nonstate militias with a national defense force.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Mathurin C. Houngnikpo
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A spate of military coups from 2008 to 2010 in Mauritania, Guinea, Niger, and Madagascar raised the specter of a return to military rule in Africa. While the subsequent resumption of civilian government in Guinea and Niger has reduced these concerns, evidence of military influence in politics remains widespread across the continent. This is prominently in view in Egypt where, in the midst of political transition, the military is attempting to maintain a privileged role for itself despite the widespread demands for genuine democratic reform.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Politics, Armed Forces
  • Political Geography: Africa, Egypt, Guinea, Mauritania
  • Author: J. Peter Pham
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The Nigerian militant Islamist group Boko Haram has grown increasingly virulent since late 2010, reflecting a major transformation in its capacity, tactics, and ideology. There are indications of expanding links between Boko Haram and international Islamist terrorist organizations. Support for Boko Haram among some of northern Nigeria's marginalized Muslim communities suggests that security actions alone will be insufficient to quell the instability.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Rigobert Minani Bihuzo
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Landmark peace agreements signed in 2002 by 11 African governments and various nonstate armed groups were meant to end 7 years of war that had ravaged Africa's Great Lakes region. A decade later, instability, tightly intertwined with regional geopolitics, persists. Recurring conflict has killed tens of thousands, mostly civilians, and displaced millions of others. The extended instability has also led to a collapse of basic social services and economic activity in parts of the DRC, resulting in manifold more deaths due to malnutrition, lack of access to basic healthcare, and scarce livelihood opportunities.Amid this breakdown, barbaric forms of violence have emerged. During one 4-day period in the summer of 2011, nearly 400 women, men, and children were raped by militia fighters. Since 1996, there have reportedly been more than 200,000 rapes, which are mostly attributed to armed militias.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Peace Studies, Political Economy, Treaties and Agreements, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Birame Diop, David M. Peyton, Gene McConville
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In April 2012, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) declared its readiness to deploy 3,000 troops to northern Mali in response to seizures of territory by Tuareg separatists and Islamist militias. Left unanswered was the question of how ECOWAS would transport these troops and their equipment to Mali. Only airlift resources would be able to deliver personnel and heavy equipment into the area of operations (AO) in a timely manner, provide operational mobility within the AO against dispersed and heavily armed irregular forces, monitor a geographic area larger than France, and sustain operations for months or years. The inability to respond to these challenges to territorial control, in turn, further emboldens such separatists and other spoilers.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Islam, Insurgency, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Africa, France
  • Author: Terje Østebø
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The rise of Islamic militancy in parts of the Sahel and Horn of Africa poses growing threats to regional stability. The appeal of these militants stems from their ability to tap into and persuade marginalized communities, particularly youth, that their grievances can be rectified by the establishment of a more pure Islamist culture. Despite breakthroughs, Islamic militants in Africa typically do not possess great military power and may not seek to govern at the state level. Rather, they tend to be homegrown phenomena, focused on local concerns. Islamic militant organizations in Africa generally only command the support of small minorities within Muslim communities. However, ill-considered interventions, especially those involving Western forces, can reinforce the militants' narrative, thereby strengthening their credibility and recruitment.
  • Topic: Islam, Armed Struggle, Insurgency, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Hussein Solomon
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: South Africa has come to occupy a central node in global terror networks in recent years. Despite growing evidence of the risks posed, South Africa has been slow to adopt and implement a more robust counterterrorism policy. Creating the political will to address this threat will require independent oversight of national intelligence efforts and an objective assessment of the terrorism risk in order to make counterterrorism a national priority.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa, London, Zambia
  • Author: Augustus Vogel
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The African maritime security challenge is defined by the need to monitor wide geographic expanses with limited resources. Science and technology are invaluable maritime security force multipliers. Investment in “technology” without support for “science” is unsustainable. Complementary investments in African research institutions are needed to create collaborative “anchors” to sustain the effectiveness of maritime security efforts.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, Science and Technology, Maritime Commerce, Piracy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Caribbean, Nigeria
  • Author: Stephen Commins
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Unprecedented rates of urban migration over the past decade have contributed to a dramatic expansion in the size of urban slums and higher levels of poverty, violence, and instability in Africa's cities. The drivers of violence associated with urban fragility are primarily related to weak and illegitimate governance, inequitable development, limited livelihood opportunities, and legal structures that inhibit land tenure and new business start-up. Solutions to Africa's urban fragility cannot be addressed solely through security structures but must be part of a broader development strategy.
  • Topic: Security, Demographics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Helmoed Heitman
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: There is much happening in Africa that is positive— economically, socially, and politically. But a large share of the continent remains fragile, putting those gains at risk. The most pressing challenges facing many African states are paramilitary threats— threats that are beyond the ability of most police forces and frequently transcend national borders. Organized crime, rural banditry, piracy, local warlords, guerrillas, ethnic and religious violence, and extremist Islamist groups are just a few of an array of such threats.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Crime, Ethnic Conflict, Poverty, Insurgency, Piracy
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Chris Kwaja
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Communal clashes across ethnic and religious faultlines in and around the city of Jos in central Nigeria have claimed thousands of lives, displaced hundreds of thousands of others, and fostered a climate of instability throughout the surrounding region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Religion
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Cédric Jourde
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Until recently, the Sahel (as-Sahil), literally the “shore” of the Saharan “sea,” rarely made headlines. Nevertheless, the expanding nexus of illicit trafficking and transnational Islamist terrorism—and the increasingly serious risk this poses to stability in the region and to international security—is attracting growing attention. These concerns will likely mount as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) attempts to use the window of opportunity presented by the Arab Spring to reestablish itself in North Africa while transitional governments there devote much of their energy to rebuilding state institutions. In turn, an unstable North Africa, especially Libya, could further exacerbate insecurity in the Sahel as unsecured weapons and trained mercenaries filter their way into the region.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya, Arabia, Mauritania
  • Author: Ernest Uwazie
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Backlogged court dockets in Africa, often requiring claimants to wait years, are common. The resulting perception that justice cannot be attained through official channels is a potential catalyst for intergroup violence and political instability. Alternative Dispute Resolution is an increasingly popular complement to official legal channels to resolve less serious disputes in a timely manner through mediation while enhancing claimants' sense of justice. Establishing legislation supporting Alternative Dispute Resolution as well as broadening the number and caliber of mediators can expedite the adoption of this mechanism.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Law
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Clement Mweyang Aapengnuo
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Ethnicity is typically not the driving force of African conflicts but a lever used by political leaders to mobilize supporters in pursuit of power, wealth, and resources. Recognizing that ethnicity is a tool and not the driver of intergroup conflict should refocus our conflict mitigation efforts to the political triggers of conflict. Ethnic thinking and mobilization generally emerge from inequitable access to power and resources and not from an intrinsic hatred. Over the medium to long term, defusing the potency of ethnicity for political ends requires a systematic civic education strategy that helps build a common national identity, which so many African countries still lack.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Ethnic Conflict, Nationalism, Ethnic Government
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Paul D. Williams
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: There have been 40 peace operations deployed to 14 African states since 2000. To be successful, peace operations must be part of an effective political strategy and peace process, not a substitute for them. Policymakers need to move beyond a preoccupation with the number of personnel deployed for each mission and focus on what capabilities are needed to generate the desired political effects. Maintaining legitimacy is a crucial part of achieving success.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Affairs, Military Strategy, Peacekeeping, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Davin O'Regan
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The dollar value of cocaine trafficked through West Africa has risen rapidly and surpassed all other illicit commodities smuggled in the subregion. Experience from Latin America and the Caribbean demonstrates that cocaine traffic contributes to dra¬matically higher levels of violence and instability. Co-opting key government officials is the preferred modus operandi of Latin American cocaine traf¬fickers. African governments need to act urgently to protect the integrity of their counternarcotics institutions to prevent this threat from developing deeper roots on the continent.
  • Topic: Crime, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Africa, Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Zachary Devlin-Foltz
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Africa's fragile states create political and security environments that enhance the leverage of Islamist extremists in their ongoing struggle with moderates for influence. Countering extremism in Africa, therefore, cannot be separated from building stronger, more legitimate states. Robust state security operations can neutralize extremists in the short term. However, they are an insufficient long-term counterextremism strategy unless coupled with opportunities for moderates to engage in the political process. In fragile states, maintaining moderate Islamist support for the state should be a central stabilization objective.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Terrorism, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa, Washington
  • Author: Bruce Baker
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Violent crime in Africa's cities is endemic and in many places worsening. Africa as a whole has a homicide rate of 20 per 100,000 (in Europe it is 5.4, in North America 6.5, and in South America 25.9). The problem is particularly severe in some urban areas. Kinshasa's homicide rate is estimated to be as high as 112 homicides per 100,000. The Nigerian police have recorded consistently rising rates of murder and at - tempted murder over the last 20 years. Rates of armed robbery in Africa are also very high. In Nairobi, 37 percent of residents reported being victims. The rate is 27 percent in some Mozambican cities and 21 percent in the Democratic Republic of the Congo(DRC).
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Civil Society, Crime
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Nairobi
  • Author: Dominique Djindjéré
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Africa's senior defense and security officials must adopt higher standards of leadership to reshape Africa's security forces into professional bodies capable of handling contemporary security threats and earning the respect of civilian populations. Politicians' adherence to constitutional limits on power will avoid placing military officers in the untenable position of choosing between respecting civilian authority and upholding democracy. Security cooperation and assistance from international partners should favor African states with a track record of responsible governance within the security sector.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Augustus Vogel
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Maritime security challenges in Africa are growing rapidly and represent an increasingly central component of the threat matrix facing the continent. African states struggle to meet these threats because their maritime security structures are misaligned with the challenges posed. Redressing this misalignment will require valuing the coast guard capacity demanded by these threats and constructing the array of intragovernmental partnerships needed to be effective in combating these threats.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: William M. Bellamy
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Despite significant recent gains, Africa's security environment remains fragile with a wide array of ongoing and emerging threats placing great strains on already overburdened governments. United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa have realized some success in recent years, especially when they have involved direct support from members of the Security Council. Much more cohesive interagency coordination under strong White House direction is required if the United States is to contribute to Africa's sustained stability given the region's persistent conditions of poverty, inequality, and weak governance.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, International Security, International Affairs, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Nations