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Tri-border Transit: Trafficking and Smuggling in the Burkina Faso–Côte d’Ivoire–Mali Region

Recommended research   published by Roberto Sollazzo and Matthias Nowak, Small Arms Survey on November 12, 2020

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.

France’s War in the Sahel and the Evolution of Counter-Insurgency Doctrine

Recommended research   published by Michael Shurkin, Texas National Security Review on November 3, 2020

France has long conducted military operations in the Sahel, from its colonial wars to its present Operation Barkhane, which deploys around 5,000 soldiers across the region. Examining the evolution of French doctrine for such missions highlights how the focus of these operations has changed from a population-centric approach meant to increase the post-colonial administration’s legitimacy, to one that focuses on security. This adaptation recognizes the limited objectives that such operations can achieve but it also presents new challenges since it relies on others for the inherently political work such operations entail.

Safeguarding Democracy in West Africa

Spotlight   published by Alan Doss on September 29, 2020

West Africa must stand up against the erosion of democracy lest the region return to the devastating conflicts from which it took so much effort and time to recover.

Keeping Terrorism at Bay in Mauritania

Spotlight   published by Anouar Boukhars on June 16, 2020

Mauritania’s security reforms, including training, enhanced mobility, Special Forces, prudent procurement, and community engagement have strengthened its capability to confront violent extremist groups.

Lessons from the 1918-1919 Spanish Flu Pandemic in Africa

Spotlight   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on May 13, 2020

Despite important differences, colonial Africa’s experience confronting the Spanish flu a century ago provides historical lessons for the COVID-19 response today.

Defusing the Political Crisis in Guinea

Spotlight   published by Alix Boucher on April 28, 2020

President Alpha Condé’s maneuvers to adopt a new Constitution despite popular opposition are another step toward subverting democratic checks and balances in order to secure a third term as president.

Chad’s Escalating Fight against Boko Haram

Spotlight   published by Daniel Eizenga on April 20, 2020

A rise in Boko Haram and ISWA attacks in Chad has been met with a military surge to clear the area. Enduring success will require a sustained presence and an intensified regional commitment.

African Adaptations to the COVID-19 Response

Spotlight   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on April 15, 2020

Presidential task forces, staggered mobility, support for the most vulnerable, and local innovations mark Africa’s adaptive response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Mark Duerksen

Bio page
Research Associate
. Areas of Expertise: African Urbanization Trends, Urban Fragility and Resiliency, Nigeria, Benin.

Mapping Risk Factors for the Spread of COVID-19 in Africa

Infographic   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on April 3, 2020

African countries face varying levels of risk that will require adapting a diversified set of response strategies to the coronavirus. The most vulnerable countries may not be those with the earliest onset.