This climate-fragility risk assessment identifies the key drivers for future conflict drawing on hydrological data, satellite observations, and interviews across Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger. Dramatic changes in temperature and growing population density have added strain to the areas surrounding Lake Chad. Clearer land rights that allow farmers, fishermen, and pastoralists to use the same land would improve efficiency and reduce the risk of exacerbating conflict.
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The absence of state administration, both during the colonial period and since independence, defines this region. But when limited administration has existed, whether from the formal state or from various armed groups that operate there, it has been marked by continued competition over natural resources and land use between traditional chiefs, cross border traders, and rebel leaders. Inhabitants themselves have also played various roles in civil and proxy wars here. While a large economic development project failed to bring much needed assistance to the region, the recent discovery of gold has led both to conflicts and to newfound wealth.
Reversing the escalating violence of militant Islamist groups in the Sahel will require an enhanced security presence coupled with more sustained outreach to local communities.
The population movement caused by political and structural drivers is creating a spectrum of security threats for Africa.
Tanzania and Zambia’s slide toward authoritarianism reveals the weaknesses of existing checks and balances and undermines their reputation as models of democratic development.
Burkina Faso’s first militant Islamist group, Ansaroul Islam, has faced setbacks, pointing to the weaknesses of violent extremist organizations lacking deep local support and facing sustained pressure.
Program materials for the Africa Center's 2019 program, “National Security Strategy Development Workshop: Central and Southern Africa.” Click here for syllabus, readings, and presentation slides.
A surge of attacks in the Sahel coupled with declines in activity by Boko Haram, ISIS, and al Shabaab reflect the constantly shifting threats posed by militant Islamist groups in Africa.
The violent extremist threat in northern Mozambique exploits underlying societal vulnerabilities of inequity, insecure land rights, and distrust of authorities.
African governments increasingly use internet disruptions as a tool to prevent information sharing and popular mobilization during elections or periods of conflict. In the first three weeks of 2019 alone, the governments of Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Sudan, and Zimbabwe blocked citizens’ access to the internet and social media. Over the last three years, governments in Africa that are less democratic or have been in power for the longest are more likely to order internet disruptions. All the African countries that have disrupted internet access in 2019 are authoritarian. Internet blackouts threaten election freedom and human rights and cause serious economic disruptions.
Increased attacks from militant Islamist groups in the Sahel coupled with cross-border challenges such as trafficking, migration, and displacement have prompted a series of regional and international security responses.