Expanded militant Islamist group activity combined with increased wealth from artisanal gold mining in the tri-border region between Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, and Burkina Faso has heightened the risks of insecurity, fueling demand for illicit small arms. This scenario may degenerate into a self-perpetuating cycle where the availability of arms sparks further insecurity, pressuring communities to seek more firepower for self-defense or retaliation. Community members frequently participate smuggling and trafficking as informants, providers of storage, and subcontractors for the repair of motorcycles, etc. Law enforcement activities must balance against the possibility of disrupting income streams to already poor border communities, or they risk pushing some actors further into the criminal economy perpetuating this cycle.
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Sudan needs a national security strategy to guide the reforms of its security sector from a tool of repression to sustain the old regime to a professional force that protects citizens under a democratic system.
France and Russia continue to use armed proxies to maintain their influence in CAR. President Touadera has used his position, and the country’s vast diamond and gold resources, to sustain criminalized patronage networks rather than provide citizens, half of whom survive on emergency foreign aid, with security and economic development opportunities. As presidential elections approached in December 2020, the regime sought to maintain power, using the pandemic as an excuse to attempt to delay the vote. The Khartoum agreement has been rendered useless, serving only to entrench a criminalized regime. The UN and EU should implement concrete measures to combat this war economy.
Despite commendable progress over the past decade, continued social and political polarization in Côte d’Ivoire could lead to another bout of instability in a country long known as an anchor in West Africa.
Visiting Fellow. Areas of Expertise: Development, Economics, Managing Security Resources, National Security Strategy Development, Peace and Reconciliation, Political Economy, South Sudan
A series of monthly academic webinars for alumni examining the political economy of the actors and markets involved in transnational organized crime (TOC) and analyzing how to strategically diagnose and respond to TOC in ways that strengthen citizen security for all and build resilience. The webinars will feature academic and practitioner experts, and Africa Center alumni are invited to attend, either for one or more sessions or the whole series of discussions.
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.
Despite important differences, colonial Africa’s experience confronting the Spanish flu a century ago provides historical lessons for the COVID-19 response today.
Presidential task forces, staggered mobility, support for the most vulnerable, and local innovations mark Africa’s adaptive response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
With urban population densities and poverty rates among the world’s highest, innovative measures will be needed to prevent African cities from becoming hotspots of the coronavirus pandemic.
The coronavirus is placing severe strains on Africa’s health, economic, and security sectors. Mitigation and suppression efforts will require a comprehensive government response built on clear communications and public trust.
ECOWAS’ reputation for upholding democratic norms is facing strain as a growing number of West African leaders alter rules to consolidate power and resist stepping down at the end of their mandated terms.