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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.

IS-Land: Has the Age of Southern African Terrorism Properly Begun?

Recommended research   published by Richard Poplack, Daily Maverick on May 4, 2021

While the insurgency in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado grows increasingly violent, the unpoliced coastline of Northern Mozambique allows for the trafficking of hundreds of millions of dollars of heroin. The ruling Frelimo party reportedly pockets at least of $100 million of revenue from this trade each year. Efforts to combat the insurgents, who doubt that the government’s deals for natural gas exploitation will benefit all citizens have stalled, worsened by heavy handed tactics of government forces and their allied Russian and South African mercenaries. A better understanding of the dynamics at play, along with a recognition that criminalized power structures seek to protect themselves, will be required to craft adequate responses to the violence.

AMEP Reference Materials

Program  

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.

China Promotes Its Party-Army Model in Africa

Spotlight   published by Paul Nantulya on July 28, 2020

China’s party-army model, whereby the army is subordinate to a single ruling party, is antithetical to the multiparty democratic systems with an apolitical military accountable to elected leaders adopted by most African countries.

Africa’s Varied COVID Landscapes

Infographic   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on July 13, 2020

There is not a single African COVID-19 trajectory, but rather multiple, distinct risk profiles. These profiles highlight the differentiating role that a free press, government transparency, and conflict play in responding to the pandemic in Africa.

Geostrategic Dimensions of Libya’s Civil War

Africa Security Brief No. 37   published by Tarek Megerisi on May 18, 2020

Libya's civil war has become an increasingly competitive geostrategic struggle. A UN-brokered settlement supported by non-aligned states is the most viable means for a stable de-escalation, enabling Libya to regain its sovereignty.

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.

The Challenges of Reform in Angola

Spotlight   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on January 21, 2020

While João Lourenço has made headlines for high-profile corruption indictments against the dos Santos family patronage network, Angola’s authoritarian political system remains largely unchanged.

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.