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Africa International Security

Africa’s Crime-Terror Nexus: Transnational Organised Crime, Illicit Economic Networks and Violent Extremism in the Sahel

Africa’s Sahel region lies at the epicentre of a sprawling jihadist insurgency straddling the ‘ungoverned spaces’ south of the Sahara. As U.S, French and African forces struggle to contain the violence spreading like wildfire across the Sahelian scrublands, one key dimension of instability which remains overlooked is the role of transnational organised crime and illicit economic networks in fuelling violent extremism across the region.

Africa Politics

The Coup in Sudan: can democratisation still be achieved?

Following last month’s coup, which dissolved the power-sharing agreement established between the military and civilian forces, protestors took to the streets of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, demanding the reestablishment of the civilian government. After years of division in leadership, economic hardship and isolation from the international community, this comes as another stumbling block on Sudan’s road to democracy. Nevertheless, military General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, now the head of government, maintains that the military aims to oversee Sudan’s democratic transition by June 2023. Whether this will be possible remains to be seen. 

Africa Security

Will France withdraw from Mali?

The internal affairs of Mali have been closely watched by France since the Malian government requested defence from armed groups in the North, leading to the 2013 French intervention.  France has since invested large amounts of aid in developing the Malian army and state infrastructures to regain the trust of a large segment of the alienated rural population. Yet, the state-building element of the mission, as has often been the case during the 21st century, seems to not be producing the necessary effects, perhaps – along with the more recent actions of the Malian government – opening the door for a complete French withdrawal.

Africa Security

Is Climate Change Fuelling Al-Shabaab’s Resurgence in Somalia?

Somalia has long struggled with the dual challenges of armed conflict and climate change, as observers of the fragile state suggest that the two phenomena are inextricably interlinked. Somalia’s experience illustrates how these complex linkages are indirect and contextual as shifting migration patterns, internal displacement and increased resource pressures exacerbate communal tensions and place unprecedented strain upon traditional modes of conflict management. Al-Shabaab has proved adept at exploiting such natural resource pressures and interclan tensions to fuel their jihadist insurgency in a manner which ominously foreshadows the future climate wars of the twenty-first century.

Africa Technology and infrastructure

African Aviation: Ready for Take Off Once Again

The African aviation industry, like its counterparts around the world, has endured a tumultuous pandemic. Losses in revenue and traffic, as well as uncertainty about future prospects, have pushed some airlines to the brink of collapse and beyond. Yet, other operators have seized the opportunities presented, and the sector’s ambitions have never been higher.

Africa Politics Under The Radar

Uganda Seeking Inroads to Compete for Regional Influence

The continued closure of key border crossings between Rwanda and Uganda has prompted both nations to seek alternative trade prospects and influence amongst their neighbours. For Uganda, recent efforts have centred on Burundi and the DRC, with infrastructure agreements and plans for military cooperation directed at offsetting Rwanda’s recent diplomatic gains with their eastern neighbour. 

Africa Security

Can the US’s New Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa Set a New Policy Direction?

The US’s Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, returned from his first visit to the region last week. The newly created post which brought Feltman, a veteran of the UN and the State Department, out of semi-retirement, shows the strategic importance of the region to Biden’s foreign policy priorities and his desire to mark a clear break with the Trump era. What is less clear is whether Biden represents a policy shift from longer term American approaches to conflict and security in Africa.

Africa Politics

Chad – Death of Chad’s President Leaves Vacuum in the Heart of the Sahel

On 20th April Chad’s President, Idriss Déby Itno, was killed inspecting troops fighting a rebel insurgency in the North of the country. A close ally of Western powers, his death has left a vacuum at the center of power in Chad, potentially threatening security in the wider Sahel region. In the wake of a swift military transition, Chad now stands at a crossroads as protesters call for democratic elections and international allies appear to flounder in their policy towards the country.

Africa Politics

Kenya: Camp Closures Weaponised as Relations with Somalia Sour

The maritime dispute between Kenya and Somalia has dragged diplomatic relations between the two neighbours to a new low, with the most likely outcome favouring Somalia. In threatening to close Dadaab and Kakuma, Kenya may be seeking a new source of pressure to apply to Mogadishu through deploying the prospect of thousands of returnees as leverage. 

Africa Politics

New Cabinet Signals Tshisekedi’s Tightening Grip on Power

On Monday 12th April Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde, Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), announced a new cabinet representative of President Felix Tshisekedi’s ruling coalition. Tshisekedi’s “Sacred Union” coalition has had figures appointed to key posts including finance minister, mining minister and interior minister. The previous government had a majority of ministers loyal to former president Joseph Kabila and was headed by a pro-Kabila Prime Minister. The replacement of all but ten of those figures represents the changing balance of power in Congolese politics.