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.
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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.
(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.
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.
Nigeria faces an array of security challenges beyond Boko Haram. Distinguishing these threats and understanding their socio-geographic contours is essential for adapting customized solutions.
Escalating violence in Nigeria’s North West region requires applying lessons from the fight against Boko Haram, including the need for community outreach and adapting the use of the Joint Military Task Force to unique local threats.
A shift in the balance of power within the National Assembly enhances the influence of President Felix Tshisekedi and represents a step toward long-delayed democratic reforms.
A wide spectrum of credibility marks the 13 African elections slated for 2021. This has direct implications for the legitimacy of the leaders that emerge and their ability to navigate the security challenges they face.
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.
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.
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.
In Burundi, President Pierre Nkurunziza's sudden death has exposed power struggles within the ruling party and the ascendancy of the military.