Lessons for Africa from Colombia’s Counterinsurgency Experience

Over the past two decades, Colombia has managed a dramatic turnaround in governance and security conditions. Fifteen years ago, Colombia was the most violent country in the world, suffering from widespread drug smuggling and criminality. Today, as the country works to secure a peace deal ending a half century of conflict, security has improved dramatically, and Colombia has become a nation with a dynamic economy and progressive social agenda.

Many African countries face similar challenges to those of Colombia in the late 1990s—persistent insurgencies fueled by criminal trafficking, limited governance presence, and socio-economic inequality. On the occasion of the release of A Great Perhaps? Colombia: Conflict and Convergence, the Africa Center for Strategic Studies hosted a discussion that assessed lessons from the Colombian experience relevant for Africa.