Terrorist organizations do not abide by state boundaries; they use borders to escape or expand their reach. The African Union (AU) has thus taken a continental approach to provide a unified counter terrorism framework. However, many states have not implemented the framework due to lack of capacity and political will. In order to make its continental strategy work the AU must: ensure that member states continue to ratify the Algiers Convention; investigate countries that operate outside the continental framework; and better fund, staff, and manage the Peace and Security Council and the African Court of Justice and Human Rights.
Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea accounted for 30 percent of all attacks in African waters between 2003 and 2011, and that proportion is increasing. Likewise, illegal fishing is also expanding. These trends directly threaten vital revenues from oil production and sea-based trade as well as a critical source of income and food for numerous Africans that depend on fisheries. To improve security and governance in shared West and Central African maritime domains, overlapping initiatives and multiple maritime regional bodies will need to be integrated.
Growing security threats posed by agile and maneuverable forces such as narcotics traffickers, coastal pirate gangs, and nonstate militias have underscored the critical importance of security force mobility to monitor and protect Africa’s enormous land mass and more than 30,000 km of coastline. While commonly viewed as too expensive, airlift assets provide vital capabilities and multiply the effectiveness of Africa’s resource-limited militaries and collective peace operations.
In addition to $100 billion in annual two-way trade, China provides $13 billion in assistance and supports several peace operations in Africa. To better shape this relationship in a form that enhances and sustains development Africa’s policymakers should familiarize themselves with the fundamental drivers of Chinese interests on the continent.
The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) offers a powerful tool to improve security sector governance and security capacity in Africa. Assessments of Ghana, Kenya, and Rwanda have identified conflict vulnerabilities and opportunities to improve security institutions. Improvements to APRM guidelines, panels of experts, and country submissions could further enhance the potential security and stability benefits from the process.
A Panel of the Wise comprised of five elder African statesmen was created by the African Union to independently facilitate conflict resolution, conduct shuttle diplomacy, and develop proposals to enhance general security and stability. Adjustments to the panel’s communications strategy and engagement with civil society may further elevate its impact on conflict prevention and stabilization.
Whereas the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for years refrained from intervening in various political crises in Zimbabwe, the regional economic community more quickly and effectively responded to recent instability in Madgascar. SADC’s overall influence and ability to resolve these and other regional challenges will require institutionalized crisis response mechanisms as current ad hoc efforts diminish its credibility, unity, and range of options.
Focuses on Ghana’s security culture as reflected in its foreign policy, and how it has influenced the way the country addresses transnational security challenges in ECOWAS.
India has a growing relationship with Africa and enhanced military-to-military exchange can further improve these ties to mutual benefit. Given shared security interests and the value of greater South-South cooperation, India can enhance its current relationship with Africa by helping to fill capacity-building gaps toward a more constructive engagement.
China’s growing assistance and loans in Africa have often been interpreted as a strategic effort to gain diplomatic leverage and secure proprietary access to natural resources. Yet China distributes aid widely across the continent, not just to resource-rich countries suggesting a more complex Chinese engagement in Africa and a still-evolving aid policy.
A brief history of India-Africa relations, followed by India’s current interests on the continent, especially with regards to military cooperation and natural resources.
Security Topics: Regional and International Security Cooperation