The Africa Programme aims to expand its research, analysis and networks on peace and security in Africa.

Project focus:

  • Insecurity in the Horn of Africa
  • Maritime security in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Guinea
  • Western Sahel security dynamics
  • Security challenges in Nigeria
  • Conflict and instability in the Great Lakes region
  • Extractive industries and insecurity in West Africa
  • African Peace and Security Architecture

The number and intensity of armed conflicts has reduced in sub-Saharan Africa, but a threat from armed non state actors remains, and an increase in organized crime and trafficking undermines institutions and stability. The Africa Programme has focused on political development of Somalia and the stabilization of the Horn of Africa region. Friction between and within Sudan and South Sudan, and the frozen conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea remain key concerns.

The level of piracy off the coast of the Horn of Africa has reduced, however the incidents of criminal activity, including piracy, in the Gulf of Guinea have increased. This is resulting in a shift in regional focus for international maritime security efforts, and the Africa Programme is set to continue its research on the politics of this complex challenge.

Growing instability in the western Sahel is also a key focus of our work with a number of activities taking place in support of more informed international responses. The crisis in Mali is just one dimension of an increasingly complex regional challenge including drug, human and other smuggling routes into Europe, radicalization, food scarcity and environmental degradation.

A major report Stability and vulnerability in the Sahel: the regional roles and internal dynamics of Chad and Niger (edited and published by NOREF in April 2016) examines how deprivation and institutional weakness are potential drivers of instability in Chad and Niger. Written by Paul Melly (Associate Fellow for the Africa Programme) and Ben Shepherd (Consulting Fellow for the Africa Programme), it highlights the importance of external partners ensuring security imperatives do not obscure the long-term necessity of a sustained focus on poverty reduction and good governance.

Insecurity centred on northern Nigeria is also of growing international concern, which we look at in detail through our work on Nigeria.

Other peace and security related activities have included meetings, workshops, and research into the role of Rwanda and Uganda in central Africa; the impact of extractive industries in West Africa; and the effectiveness of initiatives targeting conflict minerals.

Finally, the Africa Programme has followed the emergence of an African Peace and Security Architecture, and international engagements in support of continental capacity. With 2013 a critical target date for a number of deliverables by APSA – and a dramatically changing security landscape in which it is expected to operate – the Africa Programme will be focusing on emerging plans for APSA’s future.

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