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Urban Fragility and Security in Africa

Africa Security Brief No. 12   published by Stephen Commins on April 30, 2011

Estimates are that more than half of all Africans will live in cities by 2025. This rapid pace of urbanization is creating a new locus of fragility in many African states—as evidenced by the burgeoning slums around many of the continent’s urban areas—and the accompanying rise in violence, organized crime, and the potential for instability. These evolving threats, in turn, have profound implications for Africa’s security sector.

Russia’s Use of Private Military Contractors

Russia has deployed the shadowy paramilitary outfit, the Wagner Group, in at least a half dozen African countries in recent years, leaving a wake of instability for the citizens of the host country and the further retrenchment of illiberal actors.

Strengthening Sahelian Counterinsurgency Strategy

Africa Security Brief No. 41   published by Michael Shurkin on July 25, 2022

Adapting Sahelian force structures to lighter, more mobile, and integrated units will better support the population-centric COIN practices needed to reverse the escalating trajectory of violent extremist attacks.

Kenyan Elections—Another Test in the Country’s Democratic Journey

Spotlight   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on July 11, 2022

Kenya’s competitive presidential elections reflect hard-earned progress in establishing independent constitutional and judicial guardrails, though a history of electoral violence demands all sides show restraint.

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.

Criminal Gangs Destabilizing Nigeria’s North West

Spotlight   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on December 14, 2021

Escalating attacks on communities in North West Nigeria by criminal gangs, including mass kidnappings of school children, exploit the limited security sector presence in the region.

Lessons from a Decade of South Sudanese Statehood

Spotlight   published by Luka Biong Deng Kuol on June 29, 2021

The catastrophic levels of instability that have engulfed South Sudan since 2013 demand a restructuring of governance and security institutions to alter the tragic trajectory of Africa’s youngest state.

Russia’s Strategic Goals in Africa

While Russia’s engagements in Africa are often viewed as opportunistic, in the space of a few years Moscow has been able to gain a foothold in the southern Mediterranean, become a powerbroker in geographically strategic countries, and undermine democratic norms on the continent.

African Youth Engaging in Peace and Security

Spotlight   published by Peter Biar Ajak on April 29, 2021

Despite challenges of unemployment, corruption, entrenched political leadership, and political violence, many African youth have found constructive avenues to promote peace, effective governance, and reform.