Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea accounted for 30 percent of all attacks in African waters between 2003 and 2011, and that proportion is increasing. Likewise, illegal fishing is also expanding. These trends directly threaten vital revenues from oil production and sea-based trade as well as a critical source of income and food for numerous... Continue Reading
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DDR nitiatives are often under-prioritized and -conceptualized, contributing to the high rates of conflict relapse observed in Africa.
The rise in Islamic militancy in the Sahel, northern Nigeria, and the Horn of Africa has elevated attention to this evolving security concern. Hopes that Africa’s historically moderate interpretations of Islam would suffice to filter extremist views from gaining meaningful traction seem increasingly misplaced. More generally, understanding of this unconventional security challenge is often based more on speculation than informed assessment. Responses must avoid conflating distinct Islamist actors while addressing local level perceptions of disaffection and under-representation that underpin support for militants.
A crucial determinant of the viability and sustainability of any democratic transition is whether the armed forces learn to abide by democratic norms and governance structures. States that have managed to successfully build democratic armies have tended to prioritize strategic reforms and gradual progress. This is typically forged through compromise with military leaders, a clear... Continue Reading
Mali’s reputation as a relatively stable democracy was upended by a military coup launched by junior officers in March 2012, raising questions about the strength of Mali’s democratic system. In actuality, the previous regime had centralized authority and harassed some journalists while a culture of corruption and institutional sclerosis had flourished in the military, judiciary,... Continue Reading
Despite numerous peace agreements, Africa’s Great Lakes region has been in a persistent state of conflict for the past two decades. The contributions and shortcomings of some of the most significant previous peace initiatives, however, offer vital lessons as to how to mitigate the local level tensions, national political dynamics, and competing regional interests that have led to recurring outbreaks of violence.
Africa’s International Borders as Potential Sources of Conflict and Future Threats to Peace and Security
Although 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... Continue Reading
Despite growing concerns across the Sahel and Maghreb over the increasing potency of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the diffusion of heavily armed mercenaries from Libya, the expanding influence of arms and drugs trafficking, and the widening lethality of Boko Haram, regional security cooperation to address these transnational threats remains fragmented. Algeria is well-positioned to play a central role in defining this cooperation, but must first reconcile the complex domestic, regional, and international considerations that shape its decision-making.
Institutionalization of democratic norms in Africa’s militaries often lags behind advances made in civilian institutions and civil society.
Low-level disputes in Africa can spiral into violence and conflict due to the lack of effective judicial systems that can provide a credible and timely process for resolving differences. Alternative dispute resolution techniques can strengthen dispute settlement systems and bridge the gap between formal legal systems and traditional modes of African justice. They may have particular value in stabilization and statebuilding efforts when judicial institutions are weak and social tensions are high.
"Big-man” politics, efforts to circumvent term limits, and the broader debate about legitimacy reflect Africa's ongoing struggle for governance norms.
Download this Brief as a PDF: English | Français | Português Summary Nigeria’s long-running “indigene-settler” conflict in and around Jos, Plateau State has escalated in recent years and may spread to other ethnically mixed regions of the country, heightening instability. Navigating such inter-communal fault lines is a common challenge for many African societies that requires... Continue Reading