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Late to the Party: Russia’s Return to Africa

Recommended research   published by Paul Stronski, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on October 16, 2019

Russia is pursuing engagement with African states at an intensity not seen since the fall of the Soviet Union. Through diplomatic overtures, arms sales and security cooperation, and energy development, Russia seeks to reassert itself as an economic and military partner. While Russia has made progress in attaining these goals, it also faces weaknesses that limit its ability to wield influence on the continent. Russia sees Africa as key to its goal of a more multipolar world. An even-handed U.S. approach toward Russian engagement in Africa that exposes malign influence without inflating Russian capabilities is necessary.

Recommended US Response to Russian Activities in Africa

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.

Nontraditional Actors: China and Russia in African Peace Operations

Recommended research   published by Elor Nkereuwem, The Stimson Center on March 31, 2017

China and Russia (the P2), both permanent members of the UN Security Council, are playing increasing roles in the design and conduct of UN peace operations in Africa. This analysis of the P2’s voting patterns in the Security Council, reflects a shift from a pattern of abstentions to voting for the resolution. The analysis also shows a shift in China’s personnel contributions to these missions, the country has moved from not contributing personnel, to being the largest contributor of troops among the permanent members of the Council. Nonetheless, while the P2 provide strong rhetorical support for African voices to be heard, this does not translate to systematic on the ground support. China’s troop contributions are largely confined to South Sudan. Moreover, support for the resolutions highlights successful P2 efforts to limit the scope of the mandates in question. P2 interests on the continent will continue to align and be reflected in mission mandates and resources.

Disinformation

Topic in Focus   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on July 22, 2022

Unchecked, disinformation represents a destabilizing threat to the open and dependable information pathways from which democracies draw their strength and resilience.

Record 36 Million Africans Forcibly Displaced

Infographic   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on July 19, 2022

Conflict continues to drive Africa’s record levels of population displacement. Africa’s 36 million forcibly displaced persons represent 44 percent of the global total.

African Union Leader Meets with Putin

At the invitation of President Vladimir Putin, the chairman of the African Union, Senegal's President Macky Sall, headed to Russia on Friday for talks about the impact of the war in Ukraine on African countries. Both Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of grain to the continent, accounting for over 40% of wheat imports to African countries in recent years, according to the UN. Host Marco Werman spoke with Joseph Siegle, director of research at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies. 

Putin’s World Order Would Be Devastating for Africa

As Africans grapple with the more present and disastrous aftershocks of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it is important to recognize the threat this form of authoritarian expansion will have on the continent if it is normalized.

Mapping Disinformation in Africa

Infographic   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on April 26, 2022

Russia has pioneered a model of disinformation to gain political influence in Africa that is now being replicated by other actors across the continent.

Weapons Losses Fueling Africa’s Militant Groups

Spotlight   published by Eric G. Berman on March 28, 2022

Loss of munitions and other lethal materiel from African armed forces and peace operations is a key factor sustaining militant groups driving instability on the continent.

Trajectories of Violence Against Civilians by Africa’s Militant Islamist Groups

Spotlight   published by Anouar Boukhars on February 8, 2022

Extremist group violence against civilians is driven by context-specific factors—outgroup grievances, intimidation to control territory, and a response to heavy-handed security responses—that require enhanced community-level mitigation and military professionalism.

Africa’s Complex 2022 Elections: Restoring Democratic Processes

Spotlight   published by Joseph Siegle and Candace Cook on January 11, 2022

Responding to the coups, conflicts, and other derailments of democratic processes in recent years, Africa’s 2022 elections are, in large part, an effort to right the democratic ship of state on the continent.