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Africa’s Evolving Cyber Threats

Spotlight   published by Nathaniel Allen on January 19, 2021

African governments face a fast-evolving array of digital threats from espionage, critical infrastructure sabotage, organized crime, and combat innovation.

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.

The Puzzle of JNIM and Militant Islamist Groups
in the Sahel

Africa Security Brief No. 38   published by Daniel Eizenga and Wendy Williams on December 1, 2020

Composed of distinct operational entities, the militant Islamist group coalition Jama’at Nusrat al Islam wal Muslimeen serves the role of obscuring the operations of its component parts in the Sahel, thereby inhibiting a more robust response.

Circumvention of Term Limits Weakens Governance in Africa

Infographic   published by Joseph Siegle and Candace Cook on September 14, 2020

A growing pattern of evading term limits in Africa carries far-reaching consequences for the continent’s governance, security, and development.

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.

Threat from African Militant Islamist Groups Expanding, Diversifying

Infographic   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on January 18, 2020

Militant Islamist groups in Africa set a record pace of activity in 2019, reflecting a doubling of militant Islamist activity from 2013. Expanded activity in the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin underscores diversification of threat from Somalia.

Responding to the Rise in Violent Extremism in the Sahel

Africa Security Brief No. 36   published by Pauline Le Roux on December 2, 2019

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.

Recommended US Response to Russian Activities 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.

Confronting Central Mali’s Extremist Threat

Spotlight   published by Pauline Le Roux on February 22, 2019

The Macina Liberation Front has opportunistically played on perceptions of ethnic, economic, religious, and political marginalization to become one of the most active militant Islamist groups in Mali.

Understanding the Significance of the Protests in Sudan

Spotlight   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on January 28, 2019

With Sudanese President Omar al Bashir facing unprecedented pressure from a diverse collection of protesters and political parties, mediation is needed to avoid a violent escalation.