Africa Security Challenges

  • Africa's International Borders as Potential Sources of Conflict and Future Threats to Peace and Security

    By Francis Nguendi Ikome, Institute for Security Studies | May 2012 east africa mapAlthough Africa's current security challenges are predominantly governance-related or intra-state conflicts, the continent's ill-defined national borders remain a potent source of instability. In fact, more than half of all African countries have engaged in boundary-related conflicts, and border disputes are a strong undercurrent affecting ongoing regional crises in the Great Lakes and the Horn of Africa. Africa's regional bodies needs to develop stronger mechanisms to manage the disputes and threats that arise across the continent's many uncertain boundaries.

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  • Sifting Through the Layers of Insecurity in the Sahel: The Case of Mauritania

    By Cédric Jourde, Africa Center for Strategic Studies

    mauritania_armyIncreasing narcotraffic and a more active AQIM are elevating concerns over instability in the Sahel. However, the region’s threats are more complex than what is observable on the surface. Rather, security concerns are typically characterized by multiple, competing, and fluctuating interests at the local, national, and regional levels. Effectively responding to these threats requires in-depth understanding of the multiple contextual layers in which illicit actors operate.

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  • African Futures 2050: The Next Forty Years

    By Jakkie Cilliers, Barry Hughes, and Jonathan Moyer, Institute for Security Studies

    map_africaMajor transitions are rapidly reshaping Africa. Economic growth has accelerated, longstanding conflicts are being addressed, and support for democracy is widespread. However, rapid urbanization and changing economic structures are amplifying sociopolitical disruption and crime and domestic militancy are growing. These challenges are typically complex and intertwined. Reversing them will ultimately require building more effective and accountable state institutions.

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  • West Africa: Governance and Security in a Changing Region

    By Abdel Fatau Musah, International Peace Institute

    rebelle-touareg2Militant and terrorist groups are a prime source of insecurity in West Africa, but the management of natural resources, market for illicit goods, border administration, and other factors drive and shape the sub-region’s threats. To more effectively confront them, governments and civil society within the ECOWAS subregional bloc must collaborate to ensure both national ownership and the strengthening of collective security.

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  • Security and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa—Looking to the Future

    Speech delivered by Moeletsi Mbeki at Commander's Speaker Program at the U.S. Africa Command, January 2010.


    Africa’s intrastate conflicts and their cross-border consequences continue to hobble development of social anchors that are critical to state stability. These social and development hurdles are hindering Africa's ability to establish secure, democratic, and economically prosperous states. At bottom, "the challenge facing sub-Saharan Africa is not state building as many analysts believe. The immediate challenge most of Africa faces is society building." more

  • U.S. Security Engagement in Africa

    By William M. Bellamy, Africa Center for Strategic Studies

    usarmyafricaA significant development in Africa over the past decade has been the generalized lessening of violent conflict. Revitalized, expanded international peacekeeping, bolstered by a newly launched African Union (AU) determination to tackle security challenges, has reinforced this trend. But, 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.

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    For additional reading see Africa Security Challenges
  • Africa: Confronting Complex Threats

    By Kwesi Aning, International Peace Institute (Courtesy  International Peace Institute  2009)Africa’s security challenges are increasingly defined by fragmentation of political authority, mounting political influence of armed sub-state actors, and increased vigilantism. The reliance of non-state combatants on external sources of funding and logistical support, meanwhile, underscores that peace and security on the continent is closely linked to the cooperation of contiguous countries.

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    For additional reading see Africa Security Challenges
  • Conflict Trends in Africa, 1946–2004

    By Monty Marshall, Center for Systemic Peace, Africa Conflict Prevention Pool

    Evidence-based analysis of Africa's conflict trends over the past 60 years. Captures overall decline and shifts in types of conflict facing Africa over this time. Highlights the challenges of state formation instability and the politics of ethnic exclusion.

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