April 2012

  • Burkina Faso Community President Visits Africa Center Headquarters

    [caption id="attachment_18138" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Left to Right: Mr. Mike Garrison, Colonel U.S. Army (ret.) (Deputy Director), Mrs. Fatimata Myriam Vicens (President of the ACSS Burkina Faso Community Chapter), Ms. Amélia J. S. de Carvalho (Community Affairs Specialist), Mrs. Danielle Buchanan (Chief of Staff), and Mr. Vincent Crawley (Deputy Director – Communications and Community Affairs)."]BurkinaFasoCommunityPresVisits[/caption]

    Mrs. Fatimata Myriam Vicens, President of the ACSS Burkina Faso Community Chapter, visited the Africa Center headquarters on Wednesday, April 25, 2012. The Burkina Faso Chapter was launched in 2004 and currently has 75 members including former Minister of Security, Colonel Emile Ouédraogo. The Chapter is very active and has organized four Topical Outreach Program Series (TOPS) symposium since 2007 and participated in Flintlock exercises in Burkina Faso and Senegal. The Burkina Faso Chapter also hosted fellow chapter leaders in the region for the ACSS Community Leadership Conference (CLC) in 2009. Mrs. Vicens currently serves as the Director of General Affairs and Heritage at the West African Monetary and Economic Union.

  • ACSS Expert Speaks at AU Maritime-Affairs Conference

    malaquias_033Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) scholar Dr. Assis Malaquias told an African Union (AU) maritime-affairs conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on April 19, 2012, that implementing a comprehensive maritime strategy across the continent is critical to achieving peace and prosperity.

    Malaquias, the ACSS academic chair for defense economics and an expert on piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, gave a keynote address at the start of the First Conference of African Ministers Responsible for Maritime-Related Affairs. Meeting attendees finalized the wording for the 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime (AIM) Strategy project, a long-term vision for how the continent can address oceanic challenges and opportunities. The strategy is expected to be adopted during the AU’s January 2013 Summit.

    The integrated maritime strategy is expected to be an important first step for Africa to secure its coastal and marine waters from illegal fishing, trafficking, piracy, and cargo and oil shipment thievery, Malaquias said. The Africa Center is committed to the AU’s efforts in developing the 2050 AIM Strategy.

    Based in Washington, D.C., the Africa Center is the pre-eminent U.S. Department of Defense institution for strategic security studies, research, and outreach in Africa. ACSS offers a range of academic symposiums, workshops, and programs throughout Africa, the United States, and Europe. Since 1999, more than 4,500 African and international leaders have participated in ACSS programs.

    Au_maritime_malaquias_2012

    For more on this story, go to: Dr. Assis Malaquias bio and research The African Union on the Web AU press release on the First Conference of African Ministers Responsible for Maritime-Related Affairs
  • Africa Center Director Discusses Africa’s Development and Security at George Washington University

    [caption id="attachment_18062" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Ambassador (ret.) William M. Bellamy, director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies. (Not photo of the Event)"]Ambassador (ret.) William M. Bellamy, director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies. (Not photo of the Event)[/caption]

    Continuing economic growth and stronger institutions are creating opportunities for Sub-Saharan Africa’s development, a panel of regional experts said during an event at George Washington University’s Elliot School of International and Public Affairs in Washington, D.C., on April 16, 2012.

    The group spoke about Africa’s development and security as part of the school’s annual David H. Miller Memorial Foundation lecture titled Prospect for Progress: Development, Security, and Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa. Panelists included Ambassador (ret.) William M. Bellamy, director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS), Mimi Alemayehou, executive vice president of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and Tebelelo Seretse, Botswana’s ambassador to the United States.

    Bellamy said Africa has been experiencing fewer conflicts in recent years while institutions have been strengthening—two factors that improve the chances for business and development to take root. Alemayehou, the leader of the U.S. agency supporting private-sector investment in emerging markets, provided data to back Bellamy’s assertion.

    “Thirty-four percent of OPIC’s investment has been in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2011,” said Alemayehou. “There is growing demand for investment in countries like Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa.”

    Estimates indicate that seven of the world’s 10 fastest growing countries will be in Africa over the next few decades, Alemayehou said. The African Diaspora, meanwhile, is increasingly investing on the continent, and Africans who studied abroad are going back to their native countries to create businesses, even with lingering security issues still plaguing their homeland.

    Bellamy said those security problems constitute the largest challenge for Africa. The threats can be categorized into two groups: those that are transnational and those that are structural. The former are a major concern to the United States; the latter threaten African citizens’ daily life.

    “When a government doesn’t have total control of the country because of corruption or the inefficiency of its security forces, it creates a power vacuum and brings in non-state armed groups that in turn generate more insecurity for citizens,” Bellamy said.

    The security trend has been positive since the 1990s, even with significant backslides such as those seen recently in Mali and Nigeria, Bellamy said. Democracies have also been growing stronger thanks to multinational organizations like the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union, which have strongly condemned the recent coups in Mali and Guinea-Bissau.

    Ambassador Seretse said a responsible government cannot operate outside of democratic rules. The rule of law, freedom of speech, and government accountability are integral to managing a healthy democracy, she said, but there is no one-size-fits-all model for Africa.

    ”Africa has 54 absolutely different countries,” she said. “What happens in country A would not happen in B the same way.”

    The panelists agreed that security and democracy are making strides in Africa. They recommended that, rather than implementing a single U.S. foreign policy for all of Africa, the U.S. government should manage its relations on the continent with each individual country and in regional clusters.

    The Africa Center is the pre-eminent Department of Defense institution for strategic security studies, research, and outreach in Africa. ACSS offers a range of academic symposiums, workshops, and programs throughout Africa, the United States, and Europe. Since 1999, more than 12,000 African and international leaders and security stakeholders have participated in ACSS programs.

  • African Security Sector Leaders Discuss Growing Roles of China, India

    india_china_africaScholars meeting with young African security leaders discussed some of the advantages and disadvantages of China and India’s strong and growing influence in Africa during a recent security sector conference sponsored by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS).

    Both nations seek access to energy and markets for their fast-growing economies, as well as political support and, in the case of India, an increasing role in African peacekeeping missions, according to two scholars who briefed participants in the Next Generation of African Security Sector Leaders Program on March 28, 2012. The three-week seminar was attended by 42 African security sector leaders in Fairfax, Virginia, in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. The annual event is sponsored by ACSS.

    At the event, U.S. Ambassador David Shinn, a Georgetown University Professor of International Affairs, spoke first about China’s involvement in Africa. He said the Asian country and Africa have been linked for centuries through exploration, trade, and the settlement of Chinese people on the continent. Trade and diplomatic relations have intensified following China’s economic surge and its accompanying need to secure more natural resources.

    Shinn said the quest for key resources in Africa targets areas such as Sudan, Angola, Nigeria, and South Africa that are rich in fossil fuels, minerals, timber, and cotton. One third of China’s oil imports come from Africa. He said China views many African countries as fast-growing markets and profitable outlets in which it can export cheap manufactured goods. As a result, China’s exports to Africa have grown eightfold since 2000.

    “China is looking for political support in Africa,” Shinn said. “The Chinese government wants to both loosen African support to Taiwan and secure its oil supply to sustain the growth of its economy. That’s why since 1991 every newly appointed foreign minister of China has made his first trip to Africa.”

    China continues to expand its influence in the region on diplomatic, cultural, and commercial fronts, he said, while it also works to secure and stabilize the region for its own long-term goals. He said the amount of Chinese aid to Africa is kept secret but could be 40 percent of its total international aid funds.

    “China’s aid is not tied to any imposed political condition, and that is what pleases most African governments. But civil society’s discontent is continuously growing and that could be a problem in the long run,” he said.

    Following Shinn on the dais, J. Peter Pham, Director of the Michael S. Ansari Africa Center at the Atlantic Council, said the international community has given little attention so far to the fact that India is fast becoming one of Africa's most important partners. The country’s influence is growing not just in the economic realm but also in the political and security sectors.

    India seeks to have a military presence proportional to its economic weight in Africa, he said. It also wants to gather support for its bid for a UN Security Council seat—a primary motivator for why the country has deployed 80 percent of its peacekeepers to Africa.

    Pham believes India’s reasons for deeper engagement with Africa are the same as China’s—energy resources, business opportunities, and diplomatic influence.

    “India imports 75 percent of its oil, a dependency that will reach 90 percent by 2020, when Indian national energy consumption is supposed to double,” said Pham. “Securing its oil supply is vital for India.”

    Pham said there are major differences in the way India and China conduct business in Africa.

    “India is willing to do more manufacturing jobs on the continent,” he said. “[The country] has also started to link top Indian universities with their counterparts in Africa. The sharing of knowledge is certainly beneficial to both parts.”

    Both scholars agreed during discussions that African countries are not taking full advantage of the new political paradigm created by foreign competition for their resources. Instead, many countries compete against each other for favors from the rapidly advancing Asian countries.

    “African countries need to consent on basic standards for foreign direct investment so India and China will not play one country against another,” said Shin. ”Africa must use the new political deal to its advantage,”

    Pham added that African countries could also learn from India’s experience of building a nation out of a territory the size of a continent that encompasses 22 official languages and almost 1,700 local languages.

    The discussions were part of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies’ (ACSS) Next Generation of African Security Sector Leaders Program. Course participants discussed Africa’s security environment and ways to improve stability, security, and democracy. They analyzed civil-military relations to determine the role and place of security sector professionals in advancing national security in democratizing states. The majority of ACSS academic programs are conducted on a non-attribution  basis to encourage candid discussions.

    The Africa Center is the pre-eminent Department of Defense institution for strategic security studies, research, and outreach in Africa. ACSS offers a range of academic symposiums, workshops, and programs throughout Africa, the United States, and Europe. Since 1999, more than 4,500 African and international leaders have participated in ACSS programs.

  • ACSS Holds Briefing for U.S. Commander Deploying To Horn of Africa

    US Army Major General Ralph BakerView Photos of this Event.

    The Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) hosted U.S. Army Major General Ralph Baker on April 10, 2012, for a briefing on African issues before he deploys to Djibouti in May as commander of the Combined Joint Task Force for the Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA). The meeting, led by ACSS Director Ambassador (Ret.) William M. Bellamy and ACSS experts, gave Baker an overview of the situation in the Horn of Africa region.

    ACSS’s Dr. Assis Malaquias and Thomas Dempsey, as well as Dr. Andre Le Sage of the National Defense University, briefed Baker on the range of economic, legal, religious and security sector issues in the region and on the academic work the Africa Center is doing on maritime safety and security.

    Deputy Director Michael Garrison provided and overview of the Africa Center.

    Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa conducts operations in East Africa to enhance partner nation capacity, promote regional security and stability, dissuade conflict, and protect U.S. and coalition interests, according to the CJTF-HOA website. The task force is based at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti.

  • Experts Discuss Hunt for LRA and Security-Sector Reform in Central African Republic

    Bozize_bellamy_april2012View Photos of this Event.

    The appearance of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the Central African Republic and the lingering presence of rebel groups have overwhelmed the country’s small military, regional officials said during an international roundtable discussion at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., on April 6, 2012.

    Continuing instability caused by the armed groups threaten any hope of creating security or development in the landlocked, poverty-ridden country, said Colonel Jean-Francis Bozizé, the CAR’s deputy minister of defense.

    Bozizé spoke during the meeting that included Central Africa specialists from the U.S. departments of State and Defense, Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) scholars, and high-level officials representing CAR, the UN, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Bozizé commented on the status of the LRA and security-sector reform in his country.

    “The operational capabilities of the LRA have been reduced by 75%,” he said. “But the group’s center of gravity remains in the CAR despite efforts to cooperate” by neighboring countries’ militaries and around 100 U.S. military advisors.

    “The LRA has become a permanent source of instability in the region,” he said.

    Joseph Kony’s LRA, originally from Uganda, is known for its brutal acts of terrorism and butchery in the region’s remote countryside. The group appeared in the CAR following offensives by the country’s neighbors to eradicate it from their lands. Kony and other LRA leaders are said to be in the country’s Zomongo forest. But a number of challenges—difficult terrain, low visibility, and complex resupply operations—face regional militaries as they continue to pursue the quick-moving LRA.

    The group’s impact in the CAR’s southeast has been significant. With virtually no government presence in the remote wilderness, local self-defense groups have organized defensive lines around towns. Villagers stuck in these strongholds, meanwhile, have grown frustrated at being unable to return to their farms and other work and stresses caused by the invading marauders are beginning to fray relationships between settled agrarian communities and their pastoralist neighbors.

    Alexis Arieff, an African affairs specialist with the Congressional Research Service, said the LRA’s appearance in the CAR became known in 2008 following incidents of looting and abduction of villagers.

    “There are significant challenges for the CAR: How does the country prioritize their problem with the LRA against the other major problems it faces?” Arieff said.

    The group joins at least five political-military rebel groups with a presence in the country.

    Margaret Vogt, the special representative and head of the UN’s Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the CAR, said the CAR’s security situation could influence the rest of the region.

    “If we don’t move quickly, possible linkages between the LRA and other politico-military groups in the CAR could become a reality,” Vogt said. “The country must become a firewall to prevent further degradation of security across the Sahel.”

    Indeed, Bozizé confirmed one rebel group, the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace, has provided information to the LRA and helped it attack the CAR army.

    Vogt said the CAR government is trying to contain the situation as best it can and focusing on an aggressive attempt to stabilize the country’s security. So far, it has signed security agreements with Chad and the Sudan that resulted in the deployment of a tripartite force and the return of significant numbers of refugees.

    “This seminar is an opportunity to talk about a country that is not very often at the center of public attention,” Vogt said. “The government has been unable to deploy the resources necessary to control its territory.”

    Bozizé acknowledged the CAR must develop a professional national security apparatus.

    “Peacebuilding must have an effective, capable security force to prevent conflict and enforce the peace,” the deputy defense minister said. “We need to disarm and demobilize all of the combatants in my country. Our momentum has stalled due to a lack of resources.”

    Ambassador (ret.) William M. Bellamy, the director of ACSS, which hosted the roundtable, said the CAR has been willing to try multiple approaches and paths to overcome the obstacles to its security.

    “What the CAR faces is daunting,” Bellamy said. “No other examples come to mind of such a beleaguered state experiencing so many security challenges. The question for its leaders becomes, ‘Where do you begin?’”

    The Africa Center is the pre-eminent Department of Defense institution for strategic security studies, research, and outreach in Africa. ACSS offers a range of academic symposiums, workshops, and programs throughout Africa, the United States, and Europe. Since 1999, more than 4,500 African and international leaders have participated in ACSS programs.

  • Africa Center’s Dempsey Discusses Mali Crisis on BBC

    Mr. Tom DempseyThomas Dempsey, assistant professor of security studies at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, analyses the crisis in northern Mali during an interview April 2, 2012, with World Today, a breakfast program of BBC World Service radio. Dempsey argued that beyond the Tuareg’s rebellion, the northern region exemplifies the total collapse of government services, and no one can predict what comes next. He was also reluctant to draw any strong relationship between the insurgency in the North and the recent coup in Bamako. The Africa Center is the pre-eminent Department of Defense institution for strategic security studies, research, and outreach in Africa. ACSS offers a range of academic symposiums, workshops, and programs throughout Africa, the United States, and Europe. Since 1999, more than 4,500 African and international leaders have participated in ACSS programs.

    Listen to Interview

  • Liberian Defense Minister Challenges African Security Professionals to Protect Civilians, Use ACSS Network for Good

    Brownie Samukai, Jr.View Photos of this Event. With Mali’s recent coup d’ etat still unfolding, military leaders across Africa must maintain professionalism and stay away from the lure of usurping executive power, a senior Liberian official told a gathering of the continent’s rising security sector leaders on March 30, 2012.

    Brownie Samukai, Jr., Liberia’s Minister of National Defense, offered insights gained while helping his country rebuild from its long civil war. He spoke at the conclusion of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies’ (ACSS) Next Generation of African Security Sector Leaders Program.

    “Please do not use the knowledge you’ve gained here to enter onto the political stage in your home countries,” Samukai told an audience of 42 military, police, and government officials representing 37 African countries. The participants took part in the three-week ACSS program in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

    “You, as senior officers, have been entrusted with enormous responsibility," Samukai said. "The military and civilian institutions must be accountable to the civilian population you are trained to protect.”

    Brownie Samukai, Jr., Liberia’s Minister of National Defense

    Over the course of the ACSS program, participants investigated Africa’s security environment and ways to improve stability, security, and democracy. They analyzed civil-military relations to determine the role and place of security sector professionals in advancing national security in democratizing states. Several discussion sessions, which included leading experts in their respective fields, focused on aspects of human security including public health, economics, and environmental challenges.

    To give participants a sense of how the United States shapes and implements foreign and security policies toward Africa, ACSS organized meetings with senior officials from the departments of State and Defense. They also met with United Nations officials to learn more about that organization.

    Mr. GarrisonACSS Deputy Director Michael Garrison congratulated the group on completing a rigorous course that examined ethics, leadership, governance, transnational threats, and other tough issues.

    “We challenged you to ask difficult and provocative questions,” he said. “You’ve been the most engaged, talkative leaders we’ve ever had in this course.”

    Liberia’s Samukai, a past Africa Center program participant and a longtime friend of the organization, helped his country’s military institute a thorough vetting process, better training programs, and higher standards for prospective service members. He told attendees that they would return to their countries with a bounty of useful information and, perhaps more important, new relationships with those tackling similar problems in neighboring countries.

    “The friendships you’ve developed should last you many, many years,” Samukai said. “You’ll be able to pick up the phone and call your friends in other countries and compare notes. I still do it today with my friends in Sierra Leone. The ACSS program allows you to network into the future.”

    The Africa Center is the pre-eminent Department of Defense institution for strategic security studies, research, and outreach in Africa. ACSS offers a range of academic symposiums, workshops, and programs throughout Africa, the United States, and Europe. Since 1999, more than 4,500 African and international leaders have participated in ACSS programs.

  • Boko Haram's Evolving Threat

    By J. Peter Pham, Africa Center for Strategic Studies | April 2012Photo Credit: George Osodi/IRIN

    A surge in large-scale attacks over the past year by Nigerian Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram presents a serious threat to stability in West Africa’s most populous state and the world’s sixth largest oil exporter. The group has successfully expanded its geographic reach, mastered new sophisticated tactics, and targeted symbols of international presence in Nigeria. In this Africa Security Brief, J. Peter Pham assesses the significance of this upsurge, examines the origins and goals of this opaque group, and puts forward priorities for responding to this threat.

    Download Security Brief #20 in: ENGLISH | FRANÇAIS | PORTUGUÊS

  • ACSS NextGen Participants Get Thorough Briefing on U.S. Foreign and Defense Policies Toward Africa

    Next Gen Group 2012View Photos of this Event.

    An outside observer could be forgiven for calling it a crash course on Washington’s policymaking brain.

    Forty-two leaders hailing from the militaries, police forces, and governments of 37 African countries discussed foreign and defense policies relating to the continent with senior U.S. State and Defense Department officials on March 26, 2012.

    The African security sector leaders were in the Washington, D.C., area for the three-week Africa Center for Strategic Studies’ Next Generation of African Security Sector Leaders Program. They examined the continent’s security environment and ways to improve stability, security, and democracy. They also analyzed civil-military relations in Africa to determine the role and place of professional security sector officers in advancing national security in democratizing states.

    While visiting the Department of State, the group sat for two roundtable discussions that focused on U.S. diplomatic programs and policies for Africa. Later in the day, group members talked about the Defense Department’s African programs and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) with a senior Pentagon official. U.S. and African officials participating in the program are traditionally not identified by name to encourage candid discussion and a free exchange of ideas.

    U.S. National security interests in Africa are varied and wide, the Pentagon official said. Defense Department programs in Africa are designed to foster democracy and democratic rule, promote stability in the region, mitigate crises, protect Americans living abroad, and meet global challenges.

    The Defense Department, the official said, looks to use low-cost, small footprint solutions wherever possible in Africa to help the United States be the security partner of choice for the region.

    Prompted by a participant’s question, the official listed the top African security concerns the Pentagon is watching: East African and Sahel terrorist organizations; North Africa’s political upheaval; weapons moving out of Libya into neighboring countries; upcoming elections around the continent; and the Lord’s Resistance Army.

    The program’s participants were selected by their countries to take the course because of their significant command experience or staff responsibilities as well as their recognized leadership potential. ACSS has hosted the course at least once a year since 2005 to provide a venue for the continent’s most talented young national security leaders to interact and learn from one another.

    They also got the chance on this day’s proceedings to hear from a senior leader of U.S. Army Africa about the high professional and moral standards that organization requires of its soldiers.

    The leader said U.S. Army Africa, based in Italy, serves under USAFRICOM, which is based in Germany. U.S. Army Africa has around 2,000 personnel on the continent at any time conducting training and exercises. It works with the continent’s land forces when invited and undertakes no unilateral actions, except in response to emergencies. Its mission is to strengthen the land-force capabilities of African states.

    The official said the American public has a great deal of trust in its military for good reason: Every member of the armed forces is ingrained with the idea that his or her job is to serve the civilian population and the U.S. Constitution.