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African Experts Discuss the Continent’s Security Issues Ahead of the U.S. Africa Leaders’ Summit

Spotlight   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on August 1, 2014

The increasingly asymmetric and multidimensional nature of threats facing the continent are at the heart of security concerns in Africa and make the evolving security environment on the continent radically different from what is was a decade ago. Many of these security threats stem from weak and unaccountable governance and the lack of political will... Continue Reading

Expert to African Leaders: Do Not Ignore the Maritime Domain

Spotlight   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on August 1, 2014

“Maritime security is an integral part of a nation’s overall economic performance,” maritime security expert Loïc Moudouma said in a seminar held at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies. He was speaking to a gathering of senior U.S. officials, academics and researchers and members of the African diplomatic corps. The seminar, titled “Africa’s Security and... Continue Reading

Advancing Military Professionalism in Africa

Africa Center Research Paper No. 6   published by Emile Ouédraogo on July 31, 2014

Clarifying mission, oversight and the relationship between soldiers and citizens can advance the professionalism eluding many African security services.

The Lessons and Limits of DDR in Africa

Africa Security Brief No. 24   published by Prosper Nzekani Zena on January 31, 2013

DDR nitiatives are often under-prioritized and -conceptualized, contributing to the high rates of conflict relapse observed in Africa.

Islamic Militancy in Africa

Africa Security Brief No. 23   published by Terje Østebø on November 30, 2012

The rise in Islamic militancy in the Sahel, northern Nigeria, and the Horn of Africa has elevated attention to this evolving security concern. Hopes that Africa’s historically moderate interpretations of Islam would suffice to filter extremist views from gaining meaningful traction seem increasingly misplaced. More generally, understanding of this unconventional security challenge is often based more on speculation than informed assessment. Responses must avoid conflating distinct Islamist actors while addressing local level perceptions of disaffection and under-representation that underpin support for militants.

Unfinished Business: A Framework for Peace in the Great Lakes

Africa Security Brief No. 21   published by Rigobert Minani Bihuzo on July 31, 2012

Despite numerous peace agreements, Africa’s Great Lakes region has been in a persistent state of conflict for the past two decades. The contributions and shortcomings of some of the most significant previous peace initiatives, however, offer vital lessons as to how to mitigate the local level tensions, national political dynamics, and competing regional interests that have led to recurring outbreaks of violence.

Regional Security Cooperation in the Maghreb and Sahel: Algeria’s Pivotal Ambivalence

Africa Security Brief No. 18   published by Laurence Aïda Ammour on February 28, 2012

Despite growing security concerns across the Sahel and Maghreb, regional security cooperation to address these transnational threats remains fragmented. Algeria is well-positioned to play a central role in defining this cooperation, but must first reconcile the complex domestic, regional, and international considerations that shape its decision-making.

Sifting Through the Layers of Insecurity in the Sahel: The Case of Mauritania

Africa Security Brief No. 15   published by Cédric Jourde on September 30, 2011

Increasing narcotrafficking and a more active Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb are elevating concerns over instability in the Sahel. However, the region’s threats are more complex than what is observable on the surface. Rather, security concerns are typically characterized by multiple, competing, and fluctuating interests at the local, national, and regional levels. Effectively responding to these threats requires in-depth understanding of the multiple contextual layers in which illicit actors operate.

Optimizing Africa’s Security Force Structures

Africa Security Brief No. 13   published by Helmoed Heitman on May 31, 2011

Combating irregular forces has become a common feature of the contemporary African security landscape. However, the security sector in most African countries is ill-prepared to conduct effective counter-insurgency operations. Realigning force structures to address these threats while building security sector professionalism to gain the trust of local populations is needed to do so.

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.