January 2013

  • Regional Cooperation Crucial against Transnational Threats, Ugandan & U.S. Officials Say at East Africa Workshop

    Opening Day SpeakersView Photos from the Event. By the Africa Center for Strategic Studies KAMPALA, Uganda – Increased regional cooperation is crucial for addressing the myriad of irregular security threats facing Eastern Africa, senior officials from the United States and Uganda told participants at the January 28, 2013, launch of a workshop on Improving Regional Responses to Transnational and Irregular Threats in Eastern Africa. Co-hosted by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies and the government of Uganda in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the five-day workshop brought together 35 officials from eastern African governments, regional and international organizations, and international partner nations.

    “In the Eastern Africa region, transnational and  irregular threats like maritime piracy, terrorism, cybercrime and identity theft, counterfeiting, money laundering, trafficking in arms, drugs and humans continue to pose serious challenges to regional security dynamics,” Hon. Justice Steven B.K. Kavuma, a Justice in the Constitutional Court of Uganda, said in his keynote address.

    “These challenges are not confined to individual countries,” added Asuman Kiyingi, State Minister for Regional Cooperation in the Ugandan Cabinet. “They are spread across the region and therefore require some level of integrated defense/security system in order to effectively contain them.” East-Africa-Workshop-Participants “The long history of conflicts experienced by the region has weakened the capacity of individual states to address transnational and irregular threats,” noted Justice Kavuma, adding that eastern African states could compensate for insufficient capacity by working through regional and sub-regional institutions. Security cooperation, he said, is already a top priority for numerous regional and sub-regional organizations in eastern Africa. “Regional and sub-regional bodies…including the Africa Union (AU), the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), The East Africa Community, (EAC) and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) have recognized that peace-and-security is a prerequisite to meaningful and effective collaboration in combating transnational and irregular threats,”  he said. “Enhancing security or reducing insecurity in the eastern Africa Region is, therefore, a high priority for all these organizations and other stakeholders in the region.” U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Scott DeLisi lauded the progress that regional organizations have made towards improving security cooperation but warned that the tools developed to combat insecurity, if incorrectly employed, can threaten peace and stability.

    “These regional African communities have made great efforts and strides toward peace and security cooperation in recent years.” Ambassador DeLisi said. “Progress such as this is commendable, and we applaud it. However, it is also fragile.” “As nations move forward to address threats to peace and stability, they must also ensure that the tools they use to combat these threats do not become the threats themselves,” Ambassador DeLisi warned. “Strong, professional militaries are essential to regional security. … If, however, those militaries threaten that prosperity, if they do not support the democratic institutions they are meant to uphold, then the foundation of our efforts crumbles, and East Africa risks falling back into the bloody cycle of revolution and counter-revolution.” Download Written Speeches from the Event: Opening Remarks by Hon. Asumani Kiyingi [PDF] Opening Remarks by Ambassador Scott DeLisi [PDF] Keynote by Hon. Justice Steven Kavuma [PDF] The Africa Center for Strategic Studies is one of five Department of Defense regional centers for research and academic outreach and supports U.S. policy by bringing civilian and military leaders together for informed debate on current security challenges facing Africa and the international community. Since 1999, more than 6,000 African and international leaders have participated in ACSS programs.
  • As Obama Inaugurated for 2nd Term, Many Nations in Africa also Marking Peaceful Transitions of Political Power

    Peaceful Transitions - Democracy LeadersAs the world watched President Obama take the oath of office for his second term January 20 and 21, 2013 – the 57th presidential inauguration in U.S. history — numerous nations in Africa also marked peaceful transitions of power over the past year, including Lesotho, Malawi, Senegal, and Somalia, as well as historic elections in Egypt and Libya. Several more African nations, including Kenya, are preparing for landmark elections in 2013. President Obama’s inauguration remarks focused mainly on U.S. domestic issues. But he emphasized the continued role of the United States in supporting democracy around the globe, including in Africa. “We will support democracy from Asia to Africa, from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom,” President Obama said after taking the Oath of Office on the steps of the U.S. Capitol before an estimated crowd of close to 1 million onlookers. “And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice—not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity, human dignity and justice.” However, the United States is not alone in the world in marking peaceful transitions of power, and a growing number of African nations also have undertaken historic and successful elections. Speaking at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars January 16, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson highlighted electoral progress in Somalia. He noted that just four years ago, al Shabaab controlled much of south and central Somalia. “Now,” Carson continued, “for the first time in more than two decades, Somalia has a representative government with a new President, a new Parliament, a new Prime Minister, and a new Constitution, and the Somali people have reason to hope for a better future.” In Malawi, members of the international community have lauded transition of power by President Joyce Banda. In April 2012, the sudden heart attack and death of former President Wa Mutharika led to a temporary constitutional crisis until, in accordance with the constitution of Malawi, President Joyce Banda, who was serving as vice president, was sworn in as the nation’s first female president. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a July statement marking Malawi’s national day, said that “over recent months, Malawi has demonstrated an impressive commitment to the rule of law and democracy.” Several other African countries continued to demonstrate their commitment to consolidating democracy. A general election in Lesotho in May was widely lauded as successful and peaceful. “These successful elections demonstrate a commitment to multiparty democracy,” Secretary of State Clinton said in a statement after the election, “and represent a historic moment for the people of Lesotho as the country forms its first coalition government.” Protests by opposition parties notwithstanding, 2012 presidential elections in Sierra Leone and Ghana were also generally regarded as free and fair by international observers. Although there were some logistical challenges and reports of minor irregularities, observers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) deemed Sierra Leone’s elections to have been efficiently and effectively administered. “Despite the challenges, voters exhibited maximum patience and perseverance in their determination to exercise their civic rights and responsibilities,” ECOWAS said after the November 2012 poll. In Senegal, many did not anticipate that former President Abdoulaye Wade would graciously concede defeat in the country’s March 2012 presidential election. Pro-democracy activists and opposition party members in Senegal became anxious when President Wade announced his intention to run for a third term despite the existence of a constitutional provision introduced during his tenure that limits presidents to two terms in office. President Wade contended, and a Senegalese court ultimately agreed, that his first term should not count toward the limit because the provision had been introduced afterward. Given this anxiety about his perceived intention to cling onto power, many observers were relieved when he called his competitor, current Senegalese President Macky Sall, to congratulate him on his victory.  “The big winner tonight is the Senegalese people,” then-President-Elect Sall told supporters after the announcement of the results.  “We have shown to the world our democracy is mature. I will be the president of all the Senegalese.” Many hope that historic elections in Libya and Egypt that provided citizens with the opportunity to select their leaders for the first time in decades could be the first step towards building more efficient and accountable governments in each country. Freedom House, a U.S.-based watchdog group, noted the progress made by Egypt, for example, elevating the country’s rating from “Not Free” to “Partly Free” in Freedom in the World 2013, the group’s annual survey of political rights and civil liberties around the world. “The 2012 electoral victories of Islamist groups like the previously banned Muslim Brotherhood, and the formation of several new parties from across the political spectrum, represented a clear departure from the Mubarak era, in which the legal and electoral framework was designed to ensure solid majorities for the ruling NDP at all levels of government,” Freedom House noted in the report. However, the group warned that numerous serious challenges remain, including restrictions on press and assembly as well as corruption and oppression of women and minorities. Elsewhere, a pair of coups d’état in West Africa show that progress towards democracy is still not universal. A March 2012 coup in Mali was a major setback in a country once considered a beacon of democracy. Complicating matters, a militant Islamist insurgency began to gain momentum and seized control over large swathes of territory shortly after the coup. Meanwhile, an April 2012 coup in nearby Guinea-Bissau has not broken the pattern of the country’s violent past that has included a 2009 presidential assassination and military takeovers in 1998 and 2003. Looking ahead to 2013, analysts and activists alike will be closely monitoring upcoming presidential elections in Kenya and Zimbabwe, for example, as each country seeks to improve upon respective elections in 2007 and 2008, both of which were marred by violence and reports of misconduct. At least 20 African nations plus the Somaliland region of Somalia plan elections in 2013, according to the nonprofit Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA), based in South Africa. These include planned presidential elections in Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe. Constitutional referendums also are scheduled for Libya and Zimbabwe. The Africa Center for Strategic Studies is one of five Department of Defense regional centers for research and academic outreach and supports U.S. policy by bringing civilian and military leaders together for informed debate on current security challenges facing Africa and the international community. Since 1999, more than 6,000 African and international leaders have participated in ACSS programs.
  • (Français) ACSS Dr Houngnikpo invité de La voix de l’Amérique, s’exprime sur la crise au Mali

    (Français) Mathurin HoungnikpoLe 17 Janvier 2013, Le Pr Mathurin Houngnikpo, titulaire de la chaire de relations civilo-militaires au Centre d’études stratégiques de l’Afrique (CESA) à Washington D.C. est intervenu sur les ondes de la Voix de l’Amérique-TV.  Le Pr Houngnikpo était  l’invité du Washington Forum, l’émission hebdomadaire d’information sur l’Afrique, où il a donné son avis d’expert sur les derniers développements de la crise au Mali.  Pour Le Pr Houngnikpo, la crise malienne appelle a opérer plusieurs lectures : d’une part, l’intervention militaire française en cours et  la recentre prise d’otages sur le site gazier en Algérie ont accru la dimension internationale de la crise malienne. D’autre part de nombreuses questions restent en suspens, notamment la taille de la force multinationale Africaine, sa mise effective en opération,  et surtout, la capacité la classe politique malienne à gérer l’après-conflit, notamment la question Touarègue. « Il va falloir décanter et régler les problèmes que les Touaregs posent depuis l’indépendance,» a notamment dit le chercheur.
  • Africa Center Experts Discuss Mali Crisis With Reporters

    Dempsey Interview 2013 Several Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) experts conducted interviews with international media to provide background and perspective in the days following France’s decision to take military action in Mali beginning January 11, 2013. Professor Thomas Dempsey, Dr. Mathurin Houngnikpo, and Dr. Joseph Siegle were interviewed by Al-Jazeera English, the BBC and BBC World Service, France 24, National Public Radio, the Voice of America (English language and French services), and other news outlets. In a January 15 interview [pictured] with VOA’s Jim Randle, Professor Dempsey, the ACSS Chair for Strategic Studies, said ensuring that a legitimate and elected government comes to power Bamako is critical for resolving the Mali crisis in the long term. He also stressed that alienating citizens in northern Mali could empower the extremists in the region. “We need to take care not to drive the people of the north into the arms of the violent extremists,” he said. 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 6,000 African and international leaders have participated in ACSS programs.
  • The Lessons and Limits of DDR in Africa

    By Prosper Nzekani Zena, Africa Center for Strategic Studies | January 2013 Ammunition Collected From Militias in Côte d'Ivoire - UN Photo/Ky Chung With organized DDR initiatives 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.

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  • Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2013

    ghana_busy_street02The Africa Growth Initiative - The Brookings Institution, January 2013 Africa starts 2013 with hope and optimism. Africa has dropped its mantle as a “doomed continent” and has weathered several global economic crises fairly well. Today, the continent is a land of opportunity both for Africans and international investors. Many now see the region as “emerging Africa” because of the positive changes that have taken place and continue to take place across the continent. Since 2010, the Brookings Africa Growth Initiative (AGI) has asked its scholars to assess the top priorities for Africa in the coming year. This year, AGI experts and colleagues have identified what they consider to be the key issues for 2013 and ways to leverage opportunities so that Africa can continue its “emerging” momentum. The following briefs in the Foresight Africa collection are meant to create a dialogue on what matters in Africa for 2013, and it is our hope that this dialogue will continue through the year. Download the full 2013 Foresight Africa report »
  • ACSS Guinea Chapter Holds Symposium on Security Sector Reform, Anti-Corruption Efforts

    Dr. CISSEView Photos of the Event The Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) partnered with the ACSS Community Chapter in Guinea and the U.S. Embassy in Conakry to convene a Topical Outreach Program Series (TOPS) symposium on December 13, 2012 that examined anti-corruption efforts, civil military relations and security sector reform. Nearly 60 participants attended the event, to include ACSS community members, military personnel, officials from Guinea’s security and justice sectors, representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Conakry, as well as civil society and academia. “The different sub-themes of this symposium have a direct connection with the problems of governance and security that continue to plague our world today,” Guinean Minister of Security Dr. Moumany Cissé said at the symposium. “It is with the aim to address these challenges that the Government of Guinea has committed to an extensive program of state reform and modernization.” Minister Cissé insisted that security sector reform will be a major part of the reform process. “The government has high expectations for security sector reform,” he insisted, noting that Guinea’s SSR program will focus on strengthening the legal and judicial framework of the security sector, improving infrastructure, building operational capacity, and developing specialized training programs. Dr. Diéliman Ousmane Kouyaté, President of the Technical Commission on Service Sector Reform, stressed the need to integrate a wide array of entities—governmental and non-governmental—in the security sector reform process. ACSS Symposium on Security Sector Reform “Security sector reform is not just a reform of militaries. It is not just having a good army,” said Dr. Diéliman Ousmane Kouyaté, President of the Technical Commission on Service Sector Reform. “It is a multi-sectoral approach to reform, to include justice, police, parliament, and civil society.” Professor Mathurin Houngnikpo, Academic Chair in Civil-Military Relations at ACSS, believes that a priority of reform efforts should be to ensure that the country’s security forces can improve “human security.” “Human security refers to both the rights of citizens to live in a safe environment and the ability to engage in political, social, religious and economic activities free from organized violence,” Professor Houngnikpo said during a presentation at the symposium. “The ultimate goal of the security policy should be the well-being of populations.” Another major objective of Guinea’s reform program, according to Minister Cissé, “is to strengthen the fight against corruption in the government which, in the recent past, has become almost institutionalized.” “Corruption is the number one threat to Africa. Corruption is so widespread, that it has become the culture, a part of the society,” said Mr. François Falcone, Executive Director, National Agency on Anti-Corruption and Good Governance. “To address corruption, the solution must be cultural—a cultural change. Anti-corruption is a process, as cultural change is also a process.” Significant attention should be paid to reforming government procurement processes, according to Dr. Houngnikpo. “Contracts for public works projects and materials are the breeding ground of corruption,” he said during his presentation. “Corruption in public procurement is a structural phenomenon so that the term ‘procurement’ seems synonymous with ‘corruption.’” However, Dr. Houngnikpo stressed that governments must also strengthen the transparency of public administration and the financial system and establish trust in the relationship between government and citizens. Additionally, he said, reform-minded governments must develop the institutional framework for the prevention of corruption and promote compliance with ethical values inherent in good governance.
  • Professor Nickels Examines Morocco’s Engagement with the Sahel Community

    marrakech_security_forum“The Arab Spring opened up new partnership opportunities for Morocco,” according to Dr. Benjamin P. Nickels, Associate Professor of Transnational Threats and Counter-terrorism at the Africa Center.

    “The Arab Spring’s echoes in sub-Saharan Africa are more complex than initially imagined” Professor Nickels wrote in Sada, an online publication by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace that publishes bilingual analyses of political change and reform trends in the Arab world. “The transitions in North Africa may set the stage for new forms of security cooperation in the Sahel,” he wrote. “A prime example is the upcoming January 2013 meeting of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) in N’djamena, Chad, where Morocco will likely continue its steps to take command of the organization.”

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