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Russia’s Strategic Goals in Africa

(This article originally appeared as a chapter in "Russia Strategic Intentions White Paper," Strategic Multilayer Assessment (SMA) publication series, NSI, May 2019.)
Russia has significantly expanded its engagements in Africa in recent years. These engagements often take the form of propping up embattled and isolated autocratic leaders of countries that are rich in natural resources. The United States can draw a distinction with Russia’s destabilizing role by pursuing a positive engagement strategy in Africa. The United States must avoid the Cold War trap of competing with Russia for the affections of corrupt, autocratic leaders in Africa, however, as such a policy would be disastrous for Africa while not advancing US interests.

AMEP Reference Materials

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The Africa Military Education Program (AMEP) helps to strengthen professional military education institutions across the African continent through focused investments in faculty development and improved curriculum design and content.

Reshaping African Agency in China-Africa Relations

Spotlight   published by Paul Nantulya on March 2, 2021

The power imbalance between China and Africa poses a challenge for negotiating equitable investment deals. The interests of African citizens can be strengthened through agreements that are transparent, involve experts, and facilitate public engagement.

Food Insecurity Crisis Mounting in Africa

Infographic   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on February 16, 2021

Acute food insecurity in Africa has increased by over 60 percent in the past year and threatens to widen further as the effects of COVID-19 exacerbate other drivers such as conflict and political mismanagement.

Taking Stock of Africa’s 2021 Elections

Spotlight   published by Joseph Siegle and Candace Cook on January 12, 2021

Africa is slated to hold 13 national elections in 2021. Roughly half of these are in the Horn and the central Sahel. Reflective of the democratic backsliding observed on the continent in recent years, more than a third of these polls are little more than political theater – aimed at garnering a fig leaf of legitimacy for leaders who arguably lack a popular mandate. A fundamental question for this year’s elections, therefore, isn’t just about who will win, but how these leaders will be viewed afterward. Will the same level of legitimacy be conferred on leaders who stay in office via these stage-managed processes? Until these leaders bear a reputational cost for lowering the bar of electoral integrity, this trend can be expected to continue.

Lessons from the 1918-1919 Spanish Flu Pandemic in Africa

Spotlight   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on May 13, 2020

Despite important differences, colonial Africa’s experience confronting the Spanish flu a century ago provides historical lessons for the COVID-19 response today.

What the Coronavirus Means for Africa

Spotlight   published by Shannon Smith on February 4, 2020

Given its fragile public health systems and close ties to China, Africa is vulnerable to the spread of the coronavirus, highlighting the continent’s centrality to global health security.

Turkey and the New Scramble for Africa: Ottoman Designs or Unfounded Fears?

Recommended research   published by Zach Vertin on May 19, 2019

Turkey has become increasingly prominent in Africa affairs since the “Open to Africa” policy began in 2005. Focused in the Horn of Africa and on political and economic engagements, Turkey’s role should not be discounted. Bilateral engagements with Somalia, Sudan, Djibouti, and Ethiopia include airline routes, schools, mosques, and commercial investment. Turkish engagement in the Horn of Africa can best be understood in light of its shifting domestic situation and the Erdogan government’s desire to project influence outside of the Middle East.

Trends in African Maritime Security

Spotlight   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on March 15, 2019

Africa's rapidly evolving maritime security environment has prompted innovations in Africa's maritime security architecture, leading to greater regional coordination.

Q&A: External Actors Shift the Landscape in Africa

Spotlight   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on November 28, 2018

External actors have sought to expand their security partnerships in Africa in recent years. The Africa Center spoke with Judd Devermont, Director of the CSIS Africa Program, about the trends and complexities of these relationships.