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  • Author: Daniel Mahanty, William Meeker
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: A troubling increase in violent attacks in Niger suggests that conflict could be spilling further into the interior of the country, placing a challenge before a Nigerien government under domestic and international pressure to respond, and putting stress on a largely military that is already stretched to its limits. As the government in Niamey along with its partners in Washington and Paris formulate strategies to contend with the violence, they would be well served to ensure that additional investments in military capacity are carefully balanced with an emphasis on accountability and governance, civilian protection, and finding appropriate channels to address conflict through localized political processes.
  • Topic: Governance, Political stability, Domestic Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, West Africa
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The U.S. has learned many lessons in its wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria—most of them the hard way. It has had to adapt the strategies, tactics, and force structures designed to fight regular wars to conflicts dominated by non-state actors. It has had to deal with threats shaped by ideological extremism far more radical than the communist movements it struggled against in countries like Vietnam. It has found that the kind of “Revolution in Military Affairs,” or RMA, that helped the U.S. deter and encourage the collapses of the former Soviet Union does not win such conflicts against non-state actors, and that it faces a different mix of threats in each such war—such as in cases like Libya, Yemen, Somalia and a number of states in West Africa. The U.S. does have other strategic priorities: competition with China and Russia, and direct military threats from states like Iran and North Korea. At the same time, the U.S. is still seeking to find some form of stable civil solution to the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria—as well as the conflicts Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and West Africa. Reporting by the UN, IMF, and World Bank also shows that the mix of demographic, political governance, and economic forces that created the extremist threats the U.S. and its strategic partners are now fighting have increased in much of the entire developing world since the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001, and the political upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa in 2011. The Burke Chair at CSIS has prepared a working paper that suggests the U.S. needs to build on the military lessons it has learned from its "long wars" in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries in order to carry out a new and different kind of “Revolution in Civil-Military Affairs,” or RCMA. This revolution involves very different kinds of warfighting and military efforts from the RMA. The U.S. must take full advantage of what it is learning about the need for different kinds of train and assist missions, the use of airpower, strategic communications, and ideological warfare. At the same time, the U.S. must integrate these military efforts with new civilian efforts that address the rise of extremist ideologies and internal civil conflicts. It must accept the reality that it is fighting "failed state" wars, where population pressures and unemployment, ethnic and sectarian differences, critical problems in politics and governance, and failures to meet basic economic needs are a key element of the conflict. In these elements of conflict, progress must be made in wartime to achieve any kind of victory, and that progress must continue if any stable form of resolution is to be successful.
  • Topic: Civil Society, United Nations, Military Strategy, Governance, Military Affairs, Developing World
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Iraq, Middle East, West Africa, Somalia, Sundan
  • Author: Richard Downie
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: During the past decade, donors and companies have begun to build viable coffee and cocoa sectors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The locus of activity has been in eastern Congo, where decades of conflict and poor governance have displaced populations and ruined livelihoods. While the political and security environment in the DRC does not favor large-scale cash crop production, the climatic conditions do. Eastern Congo, particularly the provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu, produces excellent coffee and cocoa. Furthermore, eastern Congo has a successful history of large-scale coffee production, first under the Belgian colonists, then in the first decades of independence before the sector fell apart under President Mobuto Sese Seko. The recent entry into eastern Congo of development dollars and private-sector partners, ranging from small traders to retail giants like Starbucks, has provided a foundation to expand the DRC’s agricultural export sector. These groups and individuals have taken a risk on a country that has largely been written off by an international community disillusioned by endemic crisis and corruption. Now it is up to the DRC to reward this show of faith by taking steps to attract a larger pool of investors focused on achieving both financial returns and positive social impact. The DRC can only do this by forging a vision for the cash crop sector, putting its own resources into its development, and taking actions to improve the business environment. Any credible strategy for expanding the agricultural export economy in eastern Congo must be centered on sustainable growth that benefits smallholder farmers and their communities and helps cement peace in a volatile region. With future global supplies of coffee and cocoa threatened by farmer poverty, the impact of climate change, and corporate doubts about the sectors’ profitability, the DRC can create a market opportunity for itself, provided it shows vision and intelligence. If the DRC can learn from mistakes made by other producing nations, it has the potential to build a thriving cash crop sector that not only benefits the national economy but improves the lives of some of its most vulnerable citizens. Realizing this vision, however, will not be easy. Daunting barriers stand in the way of a large, successful cash crop sector. Farmers are poor, lack support, and struggle to access finance. Their trees are old, badly maintained, and low-yielding. Companies worry about the expense and logistical challenges of getting produce out of the country, at volume. Insecurity and poor governance create a level of unpredictability that deters potential investors. This report weighs up the size of these risks, compared with the opportunities on offer, and suggests some strategies for overcoming them. Material is drawn from expert interviews and a literature review of global best practices in the coffee and cocoa sectors. The evidence suggests that expectations for the DRC should be realistic. Eastern Congo is highly unlikely to become the next Colombia of coffee production or displace Côte d’Ivoire as the world’s leading source of cocoa. Nevertheless, there is potential to scale up coffee and cocoa production in the DRC in a sustainable way that improves the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Success will depend on: Effective partnerships between donors, private-sector actors all the way along the value chain, and the Congolese government, which must lay out a compelling strategy for expanding the agricultural export sector and rally support around it. Sustained training of farmers and cooperatives that increases production of coffee and cocoa without compromising on quality. Increasing the flow of capital into eastern Congo’s agricultural sector by deploying new, innovative financing mechanisms and technologies. Finding new ways to market Congolese products that connect with consumers and shift a greater share of value chain profits toward smallholder farmers.
  • Topic: Privatization, Governance, Trade, Coffee, Cocoa
  • Political Geography: Africa, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo