Foresight Africa 2015: Tackling the Continent’s Diverse Security Threats

Africa in 2014 faced intensified terrorism in Nigeria, increased attacks by al-Shabab in Kenya, and civil war in South Sudan and the Central African Republic, among other violent events. However, despite the perception that war and violence are increasing across the continent, Africa is actually addressing its security issues more successfully than it has in the past.  Regional organizations are stepping up to intervene in disputes in their neighborhoods, and the African Union has had particular success in curbing violence in Somalia.

In their brief, Brookings Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon and Research Assistant Amy Copley argue that, in order to successfully engage the continent to end terrorism and civil war, the West needs to understand that the violence is not purely the result of extremism, but rather of complex economic and historical relationships. Rarely are there wholly “good guys” and “bad guys.”

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The authors note that one of the most important tasks for Africa in 2015 will be the creation of a fully operational African Standby Force—which could immediately respond to violent outbreaks on the continent. However, they maintain that, while Africa is taking more control, the West still needs to be an important military player on the continent.

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Read Foresight Africa 2015

, which details the top priorities for Africa in the coming year, to learn more about security and peace on the continent as well as other critical issues for the region.