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The Ethnic Army and the State: Explaining Coup Traps and the Difficulties of Democratization in Africa

Recommended research   published by Kristen Harkness, Journal of Conflict Resolution on August 31, 2016

Since the independence era of the 1960s, there have been more than 215 coup attempts in 43 of the 54 countries of Africa. Though the numbers were mostly concentrated in the early years, coups attempts are still a feature on the continent. Where early leaders tended to form militaries based on ethnicity, coups attempts were four times as likely to happen. Likewise, because of the patronage system in place in many fragile states, when elections bring in a leader that is not of the same ethnicity as the army, coup risk spikes dramatically.

Burkina Faso: The Challenge of Incomplete Democratization

Spotlight   published by Paul Nantulya on March 10, 2015

Struggles over the trajectory of Burkina Faso’s transition highlight four underlying issues that have fueled the crisis and which will shape the course of democratization in the country.

Five Issues to Watch as Zimbabwe’s Transition Unfolds

Spotlight   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on November 16, 2017

With the resignation of President Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe enters a new political era—one without the only leader the country has known since independence in 1980. Here are five strategic considerations to follow.

Q&A: Lessons in Preventing Genocide in Africa since Rwanda

Spotlight   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on April 7, 2017

As mass atrocities increase in Africa, scholar Samantha Lakin reflects on lessons learned in the 23 years since Rwanda’s genocide that could help prevent future atrocities.

The DRC’s Oversight Institutions: How Independent?

Spotlight   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on October 5, 2016

Part 2. The DRC’s oversight institutions have been actively undermined by the ruling party, dimming prospects for a genuine democratic transition.

Different Recipes, One Dish: Evading Term Limits in Africa

Spotlight   published by Paul Nantulya on July 28, 2016

Term-limit advocates are not framing their struggles within the context of Western norms. Rather, it is seen as an African normative framework that is being violated by the continent’s leaders.

Dr. Joseph Siegle

Director of Research
Areas of Expertise: Democratization, Stabilization of Fragile States, Africa Security Trends, Security & Development, Countering Violent Extremism.

Dr. Benjamin Nickels

Associate Professor and Academic Chair, Transnational Threats & Counterterrorism
Areas of Expertise: Counterterrorism, Countering Extremism, Irregular Warfare, Identity Conflict, Democratization, Regional and International Security Cooperation, Sahel, North Africa, Horn of Africa, Algeria

Uganda’s Complicated Elections: Six Underlying Issues to Watch

Spotlight   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on February 21, 2016

Beyond the vote totals of Uganda’s competing presidential candidates, Uganda’s democratic progress is ultimately dependent on shoring up the institutions on which not only elections but day-to-day democratic governance relies. This review reveals a mixed record.

An Interview with Ms Kate Almquist Knopf, Director of the Africa Center

Spotlight   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on October 8, 2015

(This article was originally published on ISN) This month, we talk with Kate Almquist Knopf, who heads the Africa Center for Strategic Studies at the US National Defense University (NDU), Washington, DC. In our interview, Ms Knopf (1) describes ACSS’ mission and areas of activity; (2) highlights the African trends and developments that the Center... Continue Reading

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Africa’s security environment is characterized by great diversity. To help readers keep pace with these often fluid issues, the Africa Center curates a regularly updated list of “must-read” analyses. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent an endorsement by the Africa Center.