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  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Militant Islamist groups in Africa set a record pace of activity in 2019, reflecting a doubling of militant Islamist activity from 2013. Expanded activity in the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin underscores diversification of threat from Somalia.
  • Topic: United Nations, Violent Extremism, ISIS, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Mozambique, Somalia, Sahel, Lake Chad Basin
  • Author: Tarek Megerisi
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Libya’s civil war has become an increasingly competitive geostrategic struggle. A UN-brokered settlement supported by non-aligned states is the most viable means for a stable de-escalation, enabling Libya to regain its sovereignty.
  • Topic: Civil War, Sovereignty, United States , Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Daniel Eizenga, Wendy Williams
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: 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.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Non State Actors, Violent Extremism, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sahel, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Pauline Le Roux
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The Sahel has experienced the most rapid increase in militant Islamist group activity of any region in Africa in recent years. Violent events involving extremist groups in the region have doubled every year since 2015. In 2019, there have been more than 700 such violent episodes (see Figure 1). Fatalities linked to these events have increased from 225 to 2,000 during the same period. This surge in violence has uprooted more than 900,000 people, including 500,000 in Burkina Faso in 2019 alone. Three groups, the Macina Liberation Front (FLM),1 the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS),2 and Ansaroul Islam,3 are responsible for roughly two-thirds of the extremist violence in the central Sahel.4 Their attacks are largely concentrated in central Mali, northern and eastern Burkina Faso, and western Niger (see Figure 2). Multiple security and development responses have been deployed to address this crisis. While some progress has been realized, the continued escalation of extremist violence underscores that more needs to be done.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Regional Cooperation, Violent Extremism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali, Sahel, Niger, Burkina Faso
  • Author: Kwesi Aning, Joseph Siegle
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Africa’s armed forces are in transition from an independence-era model to one more suited to today’s conflicts and threats. They are increasingly called upon to engage in preventive action, resolve domestic security crises, combat transnational threats, and protect the progression toward more democratic governance. Understanding how African security sector actors’ perceptions may be shifting in light of these changes can provide insights to improving their effectiveness. This study, involving 742 African security sector professionals from 37 countries, assesses differences in the attitudes, motivations, and values of the emerging generation of African security sector professionals. Understanding these differences may raise awareness, provide a basis for reform, and create an impetus for improving the citizen-security actor relationship.
  • Topic: Globalization, National Security, Democracy, State Building, transnationalism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mediterranean, Sahara
  • Author: Wendy Williams
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Recent years have seen record numbers of Africans forcibly displaced from their homes. The most recent figure of 25 million people displaced is a 500-percent increase from 2005. While much attention focuses on economic migrants who are trying to cross into Europe, 95 percent of those who are displaced remain on the continent. Two-thirds of these are displaced within their home countries. In short, the reality faced is more accurately characterized as an African displacement, rather than a European migrant, crisis. This paper explores the drivers of population displacement in Africa, security ramifications, and priorities for reversing this destabilizing trend.
  • Topic: Migration, Diaspora, Political stability, Displacement
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Uganda, South Sudan, Sahara
  • Author: Luka Biong Deng Kuol, Majak D'Agoôt, Remember Miamingi, Lauren Hutton, Phillip Kasaija Apuuli, Luol Deim Kuol, Godfrey Musila
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The internal conflict and resulting humanitarian crisis embroiling South Sudan since December 2013 have exposed the country’s fragility. A weak national identity, ethnically based violence, a legacy of violent conflict resolution, personalized and patronage-based politics, weak institutional checks on the abuse of power, and the absence of encompassing leadership, among other factors, all pose obstacles to peacebuilding. As a result, envisaging a stable South Sudan has become increasingly difficult for many South Sudanese and external observers. With regional and international diplomacy rightly focused on negotiating an immediate end to hostilities, the Africa Center for Strategic Studies has asked a selection of South Sudanese and international scholars, security practitioners, and civil society leaders to share their visions of the strategic issues South Sudan must address if it is to make a transition from its current state of dissimilation to a more stable reality. These visions, taken individually and collectively, are intended to help sketch out some of the priorities and prerequisites for transforming today’s highly fragmented security landscape in South Sudan to one in which its citizens are safe in their own country and are protected from external threats.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Nationalism, Regional Cooperation, United Nations, Humanitarian Intervention
  • Political Geography: Africa, East Africa, South Sudan, Central Africa
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Trafficking in persons has become a multibillion dollar business in Africa that African governments have been slow to address.
  • Topic: Migration, United Nations, Children, Women, Slavery, Human Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia, Egypt, Burundi, Eritrea, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Mediterranean
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Conflict is a central factor in the geography of Africa’s food insecurity. The acuteness of this insecurity deepens the longer a conflict continues.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, United Nations, Food Security, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Nigeria, Burundi, South Sudan, Cameroon, Central African Republic
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Declines in violent activity linked to Boko Haram and al Shabaab are balanced by increases in the Sahel, generating a mixed picture of the challenge posed by militant Islamist groups in Africa.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, ISIS, Islamic State, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mozambique, Somalia, Mali, Chad, Niger
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The escalation of violent events linked to militant Islamist groups in the Sahel reflects an array of diverse actors operating within distinct geographic concentrations.
  • Topic: Political Violence, International Cooperation, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Increased attacks from militant Islamist groups in the Sahel coupled with cross-border challenges such as trafficking, migration, and displacement have prompted a series of regional and international security responses.
  • Topic: Security, Migration, Regional Cooperation, Trafficking , Displacement
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali, Chad, Mauritania, Sahel, Niger
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A surge of attacks in the Sahel coupled with declines in activity by Boko Haram, ISIS, and al Shabaab reflect the constantly shifting threats posed by militant Islamist groups in Africa.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, ISIS, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, Egypt, Somalia, Mali, Sahel
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: With Africa's population expected to double by 2050, the rapid increase in the number of forcibly displaced Africans of the past decade will continue to expand unless key drivers are reversed.
  • Topic: Migration, United Nations, Diaspora, Displacement
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Central African Republic
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Human trafficking remains a significant problem in Africa, exploiting vulnerable individuals—children, women, and men—for forced labor as well as prostitution.
  • Topic: United Nations, Labor Issues, Children, Human Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa, North Africa, West Africa, East Africa
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Despite multiple ceasefires and peace agreements signed since the conflict began in 2013, the humanitarian costs to the citizens of South Sudan continue to grow.
  • Topic: Civil War, Humanitarian Intervention, Negotiation, Violence, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, East Africa, South Sudan, Central Africa
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The dynamism of clandestine African migration flows continues to present criminal and violent extremist groups opportunities for exploitation.
  • Topic: Migration, United Nations, Diaspora, Violent Extremism, European Union
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Southern Europe
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The escalation of violent events linked to militant Islamist groups in the Sahel reflects an array of diverse actors operating within distinct geographic concentrations.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Violent Extremism, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali, Sahel, Niger, Burkina Faso
  • Author: Stephen Commins
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The growing share of Africa’s urban residents living in slums is creating a further source of fragility. In response, some cities are implementing integrated urban development strategies that link local government, police, the private sector, and youth to strengthen social cohesion and enhance stability.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Urbanization, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Trafficking in persons has become a multibillion dollar business in Africa that African governments have been slow to address.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Sex Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Twenty-five YALI Mandela Washington Fellows participated in a one-day simulation exercise focused on Africa’s security concerns.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Somalia’s National Security Advisor Abdisaid Ali talks about political will, security reforms in Somalia’s Transition Plan, and the commitment to domestic and international coalition building to sustain the country’s progress.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A time-lapse review of violent episodes involving militant Islamist groups in African since 2010 provides insights into the evolution of these actors over the course of this decade.
  • Topic: Islam, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Since Egypt’s appearance in the inaugural 1930 World Cup, African countries’ performance in the tournament has been a source of pride and national identity.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Now in its fifth year, South Sudan’s current conflict has displaced 4.5 million people—the same number of southern Sudanese displaced during the entire three-decade Sudan civil war.
  • Topic: Civil War, Humanitarian Aid, United Nations, Refugees, Displacement
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, East Africa, South Sudan, Central Africa
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Progress toward institutionalizing the norm of presidential term limits in Africa has been mixed. Leaders in 5 countries have evaded term limits since 2015, bringing the number of countries lacking term limits to 18. In contrast, 21 African countries have upheld presidential term limits, and an additional 15 now have such limits on the books. These limits, in turn, have wide-ranging implications
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Democracy, Political structure, Political stability, Institutionalism
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, Southern Africa
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Violent events linked to militant Islamist groups in Africa rose by 38 percent over the past year. All major groups show an increase in activity.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, Al Qaeda, Militant Islam, Al Shabaab, Boko Haram
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, West Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Expansion of violent events linked to an array of militant Islamist groups in the Sahel highlights the growing scope of security challenges facing this region.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, Al Qaeda, Militant Islam, Al Shabaab
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, West Africa, East Africa, Sahel
  • Author: André Standing
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Conflicts of interest within Africa’s fisheries sector enable unsustainable exploitation by foreign fishing firms and undercut the political will needed to build more robust surveillance and prosecutorial capacity.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Security, Food Security
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Africa is more vulnerable to climate change than any other region on the planet. This map reflects a few of the ways the changing environment is straining Africa’s social systems.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Poverty, Water, Political stability, Unemployment
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa, Sahel, Sahara
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Nineteen African countries are facing acute levels of food insecurity. Ten of those countries are experiencing internal conflict.
  • Topic: United Nations, Refugee Issues, Authoritarianism, Food Security, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Sahel, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sahara
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: After two years the Burundi crisis continues to worsen. Despite government claims that the situation has normalized, facts on the ground suggest otherwise.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, United Nations, Refugees, Displacement, Violence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Tanzania, Burundi, East Africa
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A spike in political violence since mid-2016 has caused the worst humanitarian crisis in South Sudan since its decades-long civil war with Sudan.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil War, Humanitarian Aid, Displacement
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, East Africa, South Sudan, Central Africa
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: While much of East Africa suffers from drought, it is conflict, rather than lack of rain, that has been the cause of famine in South Sudan.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Famine, Food Security, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, East Africa, South Sudan, Central Africa
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: After losing territory in Iraq and Syria, ISIS has affirmed its intention to expand its operations into Africa. A review of militant group activity on the continent, however, suggests that ISIS will be challenged to do so.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Violent Extremism, ISIS, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, Iraq, Middle East, North Africa, Syria
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A review of militant Islamist group activity in Africa over the past year reveals considerable variation and a geographic concentration.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, ISIS, Militant Islam, Al Shabaab, Boko Haram
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya, Algeria, North Africa, Tunisia
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: As instability from the political crisis continues to worsen, Burundi refugee flows and displacement show no signs of abating. The number of registered refugees has risen 60 percent in the last year—to 423,056—escalating the political and economic costs for all of Burundi's neighbors.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, United Nations, Refugees, Political stability, Displacement
  • Political Geography: Africa, Tanzania, Burundi, East Africa
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A review of violent events involving militant Islamist groups in Africa over the past year reveals a mixed picture, with some groups showing increased activity and others diminished. This variance underscores the importance of local factors affecting each context.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, ISIS, Militant Islam, Al Shabaab, Boko Haram
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya, Nigeria
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The humanitarian situation in South Sudan continues to deteriorate as the conflict persists unabated. Four years of widespread violence have left 6 million people—half the population—acutely food insecure.
  • Topic: Civil War, Humanitarian Aid, United Nations, Food Security, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, East Africa, South Sudan
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Africa’s humanitarian crises have continued to worsen in 2017. Displacement of Africans has reached twenty million, and 44 million are acutely food insecure.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, United Nations, Food Security, Refugees, Displacement
  • Political Geography: Africa, East Africa, Central Africa
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: African leaders’ adherence to constitutional term limits is a key component of institutionalizing predictable norms of democratic succession. Progress toward establishing this norm has been mixed, however. While a number of African countries have succeeded in upholding term limits over the past two decades, leaders in more than 20 countries effectively do not face restrictions on their time in power.
  • Topic: Democracy, Political structure, Political stability, Institutionalism
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, East Africa, Central Africa, Southern Africa
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A quarterly update of a map tracking militant Islamic group activity in Africa as compiled by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies. Al Shabaab has been involved in over half of all violent events related to militant Islamist groups in Africa in the first three quarters of 2017 (987 of 1,827 total).
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, ISIS, Militant Islam, Al Shabaab
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, West Africa, East Africa
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Mass atrocities, including unlawful killings, rape, torture, and destruction of property, have caused one in three people in South Sudan to flee their homes.
  • Topic: Genocide, Human Rights, United Nations, Refugees, Displacement
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, East Africa, South Sudan, Central Africa
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Migration continues to be a major issue affecting African societies. Here are three observations on how Africa’s economic migrants* affect security on the continent:
  • Topic: Migration, United Nations, Diaspora, Refugees, Displacement
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya, Egypt, Mediterranean, Gulf of Aden
  • Author: Abdisaid Ali
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The growth of Salafist ideology in East Africa has challenged long established norms of tolerance and interfaith cooperation in the region. This is an outcome of a combination of external and internal factors. This includes a decades-long effort by religious foundations in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to promulgate ultraconservative interpretations of Islam throughout East Africa’s mosques, madrassas, and Muslim youth and cultural centers. Rooted within a particular Arab cultural identity, this ideology has fostered more exclusive and polarizing religious relations in the region, which has contributed to an increase in violent attacks. These tensions have been amplified by socioeconomic differences and often heavy-handed government responses that are perceived to punish entire communities for the actions of a few. Redressing these challenges will require sustained strategies to rebuild tolerance and solidarity domestically as well as curb the external influence of extremist ideology and actors.
  • Topic: Islam, Religion, Violent Extremism, Global Security
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The strong overlap of autocracy and conflict in Africa underscores the strong political dimensions of Africa’s contemporary conflicts.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Democracy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Central Africa, Horn of Africa
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: While much attention has focused on refugee migration into Europe, two-thirds of Africa’s dislocated population are internally displaced.
  • Topic: Migration, Regional Cooperation, United Nations, Diaspora
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A review of militant Islamist group activity in Africa over the past year reveals considerable variation and a geographic concentration.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Violent Extremism, ISIS, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, West Africa, East Africa