Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Africa Center for Strategic Studies The Africa Center for Strategic Studies serves as a forum for research, academic programs, and the exchange of ideas with the aim of enhancing citizen security by strengthening the effectiveness and accountability of African institutions.
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Operating as usual

Nigeria's #EndSARS movement is driven by deep discontentment and systemic problems perceived by Nigerian citizens. Surve...
11/12/2020
#EndSARS Demands Nigerian Police Reform – Africa Center

Nigeria's #EndSARS movement is driven by deep discontentment and systemic problems perceived by Nigerian citizens. Surveys show that Nigerians report very low levels of trust in the police—and that a third of them have paid or been asked to pay a bribe to police.

Partners West Africa Executive Director Kemi Okenyodo has long called for police reform in Nigeria. The Africa Center spoke to her about the meaning of the #EndSARS movement and what it portends for police reform in Nigeria:
https://africacenter.org/spotlight/endsars-demands-nigerian-police-reform/

Nigeria’s largest protests in a generation are calling for police and governance reforms—and expose long-delayed initiatives to enhance professionalism and oversight of Nigeria’s police.

Guinea incumbent Alpha Condé has worked for years to reshape institutions charged with organizing and certifying the rec...
11/09/2020
Defusing the Political Crisis in Guinea – Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Guinea incumbent Alpha Condé has worked for years to reshape institutions charged with organizing and certifying the recent election, including the Constitutional Court. These efforts overshadow the Court's recent rejection of opposition challenges.

https://africacenter.org/spotlight/defusing-political-crisis-guinea/

Guinea President Alpha Condé’s moves to adopt a new Constitution against popular opposition are another step toward subverting democratic checks to secure a third term.

As of today, Nov. 6, Cameroon's president Paul Biya has been in office for 38 years—longer than most Cameroonians have b...
11/06/2020

As of today, Nov. 6, Cameroon's president Paul Biya has been in office for 38 years—longer than most Cameroonians have been alive.

Supporters of "leaders for life" sometimes describe their rulers as visionaries who need extra time to implement their visions. But African countries with long-ruling leaders are more likely to face instability, civil conflict, displacement, & corruption.

Cameroon is an example of the instability that comes from unaccountable permanent leaders.

https://africacenter.org/spotlight/circumvention-of-term-limits-weakens-governance-in-africa/

The case of Malawi offers a model for challenging of a problematic election through peaceful democratic means. Correctin...
11/05/2020
Malawi's Year-Long Election – Africa Center for Strategic Studies

The case of Malawi offers a model for challenging of a problematic election through peaceful democratic means. Correcting undemocratic action by actions that are themselves undemocratic creates similar problems of illegitimacy and risk of violence.

https://africacenter.org/spotlight/malawi-year-long-election/

President Mutharika’s resistance to upholding Malawi’s Constitutional Court ruling on electoral reforms poses a constitutional crisis.

Sudan's October 3, 2020, Peace Agreement provides an important opportunity for advancing the democratic transition. But ...
11/03/2020
Reforming the Security Sector in Sudan: The Need for a Framework – Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Sudan's October 3, 2020, Peace Agreement provides an important opportunity for advancing the democratic transition. But it's not enough. Sudan also needs a vision and plan for what a renewed security sector will look like.

https://africacenter.org/spotlight/reforming-security-sector-sudan-need-framework/

Sudan needs a national security strategy to guide the reforms of its security sector from a tool of repression to sustain the old regime to a professional force that protects citizens under a democratic system.

Numerous international voices remain concerned over "credible reports of significant and widespread voting irregularitie...
11/02/2020
Widespread Irregularities Observed during the Tanzanian Elections - United States Department of State

Numerous international voices remain concerned over "credible reports of significant and widespread voting irregularities, internet interruption, arrests, and violence by security forces."

"The Tanzanian people, like people everywhere, deserve transparent and accountable governance, equal treatment under the law, and the ability to exercise their rights without fear of retribution."

https://www.state.gov/widespread-irregularities-observed-during-the-tanzanian-elections/

The United States commends the Tanzanian people for attempting to exercise their right to vote in the October 28 general elections. However, we remain deeply concerned by credible reports of significant and widespread voting irregularities, internet interruption, arrests, and violence by security fo...

Experience has shown that security for all suffers when a government is widely seen as lacking legitimacy. This is one r...
11/02/2020
Once a Beacon of Hope, Tanzanians Now Resist Growing Authoritarianism – Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Experience has shown that security for all suffers when a government is widely seen as lacking legitimacy. This is one reason for concern over Tanzania's crackdown on opposition and free speech and multiple allegations of electoral irregularities.

https://africacenter.org/spotlight/once-a-beacon-of-hope-tanzanians-now-resist-growing-authoritarianism/

John Magufuli and the ruling CCM’s reliance on authoritarian tactics mark a sharp drop in legitimacy from Tanzania’s democratic norms.

Africans in 18 countries say they …… prefer democracy to any other system (68%)… want accountable government (65%)… don'...
10/31/2020
Analysis | African citizens expect more from their lives — and their governments, Afrobarometer surveys find

Africans in 18 countries say they …
… prefer democracy to any other system (68%)
… want accountable government (65%)
… don't want presidential dictatorship (81%)
… don't want one-party rule (76%)
… and want two-term limits for leaders (76%)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/10/23/african-citizens-expect-more-their-lives-their-governments-afrobarometer-surveys-find/

Follow our new Friday series for insights on African views on democracy, the economy, social media and other topics.

President Magufuli has banned rallies, muzzled the press, cowed and co-opted independent institutions, and committed ove...
10/29/2020
Once a Beacon of Hope, Tanzanians Now Resist Growing Authoritarianism – Africa Center for Strategic Studies

President Magufuli has banned rallies, muzzled the press, cowed and co-opted independent institutions, and committed overt and covert violence. This creates a restrictive environment that reduces legitimacy in an electoral setting.

https://africacenter.org/spotlight/once-a-beacon-of-hope-tanzanians-now-resist-growing-authoritarianism/

John Magufuli and the ruling CCM’s reliance on authoritarian tactics mark a sharp drop in legitimacy from Tanzania’s democratic norms.

Impunity remains a problem in Côte d'Ivoire, as human rights groups have claimed that rival militias and armed youth gro...
10/29/2020
Six Issues Shaping Côte d’Ivoire’s Presidential Election – Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Impunity remains a problem in Côte d'Ivoire, as human rights groups have claimed that rival militias and armed youth groups associated with political parties continue to be active.

Read about the many divisions driving tensions in the country:

https://africacenter.org/spotlight/six-issues-shaping-cote-divoires-presidential-election/

Despite commendable progress over the past decade, continued social and political polarization in Côte d’Ivoire could lead to another bout of instability in a country long known as an anchor in West Africa.

La polarisation qui perdure entre le nord à majorité musulman et le sud à majorité chrétien reste au cœur de tensions gr...
10/25/2020
Six questions qui façonnent l’élection présidentielle en Côte d’Ivoire – Centre d’Études Stratégiques de l’Afrique

La polarisation qui perdure entre le nord à majorité musulman et le sud à majorité chrétien reste au cœur de tensions grandissantes.

Le pouvoir politique ayant été traditionnellement tenu par le sud urbain et côtier et la capitale économique Abidjan, les régions du nord, déjà marginalisées, le sont d’autant plus qu’elles accueillent des immigrants d’Afrique de l’Ouest venus travailler dans le secteur du cacao dont la Côte Ivoire est le premier exportateur mondial.

https://africacenter.org/fr/spotlight/six-questions-qui-faconnent-l-election-presidentielle-en-cote-divoire/

Malgré des progrès importants au cours de la dernière décennie, la polarisation sociale et politique perdure en Côte d’Ivoire et pourrait déboucher sur une nouvelle période d’instabilité dans ce pays longtemps considéré comme une ancre en Afrique de l’Ouest.

Our interview with Khadeja Ramali about the wilds of Libya's information space—featuring foreign disinformation and vali...
10/24/2020
إضاءة على ضباب المعلومات المضللة في ليبيا – مركز أفريقيا للدراسات الاستراتيجية

Our interview with Khadeja Ramali about the wilds of Libya's information space—featuring foreign disinformation and valiant local efforts to reclaim digital spaces—is now available in English, French, and Arabic:

English:
https://africacenter.org/spotlight/light-libya-fog-disinformation/

Français:
https://africacenter.org/fr/spotlight/un-phare-dans-le-brouillard-de-la-desinformation-en-libye/

العربية:
https://africacenter.org/ar/spotlight/ar-a-light-in-libyas-fog-of-disinformation/

تم تضخيم الانقسامات في الحرب الأهلية الليبية بفعل حملات التضليل التي ترعاها جهات أجنبية. إن المصالحة وإرساء السلام سوف يتطلبان من الجهات الفاعلة المحلية القيام باس...

There are many lines of division driving the tensions in Côte d’Ivoire, including polarization between mostly Muslim nor...
10/23/2020
Six Issues Shaping Côte d’Ivoire’s Presidential Election – Africa Center for Strategic Studies

There are many lines of division driving the tensions in Côte d’Ivoire, including polarization between mostly Muslim north and largely Christian south, and unhealed rifts from the civil war and the exclusionary policy of "Ivoirité" adopted in the 1990s.

https://africacenter.org/spotlight/six-issues-shaping-cote-divoires-presidential-election/

Despite commendable progress over the past decade, continued social and political polarization in Côte d’Ivoire could lead to another bout of instability in a country long known as an anchor in West Africa.

In the wake of Sunday's election in Guinea, both sides have been counting results. The UFDG results are from data collec...
10/22/2020

In the wake of Sunday's election in Guinea, both sides have been counting results. The UFDG results are from data collected from poll watchers at 12,744 of 15,083 polling stations.

In this chart of regions with 100% reporting, the rival counts are significantly different. The UFDG has said it would welcome "any interested party to conduct an audit" of their scans of the original results slips.

For more on what's at stake, see our piece earlier this year:
https://africacenter.org/spotlight/defusing-political-crisis-guinea/

Corruption within the bodies responsible for enforcing the law shapes expectations and tolerance of corruption in a soci...
10/22/2020
Governance, Accountability, and Security in Nigeria

Corruption within the bodies responsible for enforcing the law shapes expectations and tolerance of corruption in a society more generally.4 In such contexts, citizens are more likely to challenge the symbols of authority. Violent crime and conflict are more likely to result.

75% of Nigerians surveyed by Transparency International in 2015 perceived police as corrupt. The country is seeing the largest protests in a generation not only to "#EndSARS", but because poor governance and abuses by security services constitute a serious security threat.

https://africacenter.org/publication/governance-accountability-security-nigeria-html/

Most of Nigeria's security threats require security forces—especially police—that are well-governed, respected, and have effective oversight mechanisms.

A decade after a civil conflict that led to 3,000 deaths, tensions are high again in Côte d’Ivoire. Although much progre...
10/21/2020
Six Issues Shaping Côte d’Ivoire’s Presidential Election – Africa Center for Strategic Studies

A decade after a civil conflict that led to 3,000 deaths, tensions are high again in Côte d’Ivoire. Although much progress has been made in ten years, the fast-approaching October 31 election has brought to the surface long-simmering differences of identity and vision for the country.

We look at 6 key issues to follow through election and beyond:
https://africacenter.org/spotlight/six-issues-shaping-cote-divoires-presidential-election/

Despite commendable progress over the past decade, continued social and political polarization in Côte d’Ivoire could lead to another bout of instability in a country long known as an anchor in West Africa.

There are different experiences of COVID-19 in Africa, shaped by variation in risk factors from country to country. Ther...
10/20/2020

There are different experiences of COVID-19 in Africa, shaped by variation in risk factors from country to country. There's also a category for countries so lacking in transparency that we just don't know enough to characterize the COVID experience there.

https://africacenter.org/spotlight/africa-varied-covid-landscapes/

Guineans went to the polls yesterday to  to decide if President Alpha Condé will extend his decade in power, after chang...
10/19/2020
Defusing the Political Crisis in Guinea – Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Guineans went to the polls yesterday to to decide if President Alpha Condé will extend his decade in power, after changing the Constitution to remove term limits.

But the referendum that effected that change fell below the standards for a credible vote.

https://africacenter.org/spotlight/defusing-political-crisis-guinea/

Guinea President Alpha Condé’s moves to adopt a new Constitution against popular opposition are another step toward subverting democratic checks to secure a third term.

For 10 days, Nigerians have united their voices to protest against police brutality and demand justice for victims, in d...
10/15/2020
Governance, Accountability, and Security in Nigeria

For 10 days, Nigerians have united their voices to protest against police brutality and demand justice for victims, in demonstrations that have seen at least 5 dead.

This is a clear illustration of the importance of good governance for security.

https://africacenter.org/publication/governance-accountability-security-nigeria-html/

Most of Nigeria's security threats require security forces—especially police—that are well-governed, respected, and have effective oversight mechanisms.

L’Afrique de l’Ouest a été, au cours des deux dernières décennies, le fer de lance de la transition de l’Afrique vers la...
10/15/2020
Sauvegarder la démocratie en Afrique de l’Ouest – CESA

L’Afrique de l’Ouest a été, au cours des deux dernières décennies, le fer de lance de la transition de l’Afrique vers la démocratie. Mais la rébellion militaire récente au Mali est une sonnette d’alarme. Les coups d’État peuvent en effet être contagieux et les gains démocratiques reculer.

https://africacenter.org/fr/spotlight/sauvegarder-la-democratie-en-afrique-de-l-ouest/

Si la région veut éviter un retour aux conflits dévastateurs dont elle a mis tant de temps et d’effort à se remettre, l’Afrique de l'Ouest doit endiguer l’érosion de la démocratie.

Divisions within Libya’s civil war have been amplified by foreign-sponsored disinformation campaigns. We spoke with Khad...
10/10/2020
A Light in Libya’s Fog of Disinformation – Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Divisions within Libya’s civil war have been amplified by foreign-sponsored disinformation campaigns. We spoke with Khadeja Ramali, a leading expert on Libyan social media and the founder of a digital community for Libyan women, about the strategies that Libyans are developing to counter disinformation online.

https://africacenter.org/spotlight/light-libya-fog-disinformation/

Nested within Libya’s ongoing civil war are a fog of falsehoods, distortions, and polarizing narratives that have engulfed Libyan social media networks and online news outlets. Content created and fueled by foreign actors adds to the confusion. Difficulty in identifying the truth has fueled demora...

It's a common mistake to miss the effect that governance has on security, but the connection is a strong one. For exampl...
10/07/2020
Circumvention of Term Limits Weakens Governance in Africa – Africa Center for Strategic Studies

It's a common mistake to miss the effect that governance has on security, but the connection is a strong one. For example, countries lacking executive term limits are more like to generate instability, displacement, and corruption.

https://africacenter.org/spotlight/circumvention-of-term-limits-weakens-governance-in-africa/

The pattern of evading term limits in Africa carries far-reaching consequences for the continent’s governance, security, and development.

10 countries account for nearly 90% of all forcibly displaced people in Africa. They mostly conflict hotspots in Central...
10/02/2020
Record 29 Million Africans Are Forcibly Displaced – Africa Center for Strategic Studies

10 countries account for nearly 90% of all forcibly displaced people in Africa. They mostly conflict hotspots in Central Africa and the Greater Horn.

https://africacenter.org/spotlight/record-29-million-africans-forcibly-displaced/

There are 29 million people in Africa who have been forcibly displaced from their homes (internally displaced, refugees, and asylum seekers). This represents a 16-percent increase from a year ago. Renewed conflict and violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Central African Republ...

There is a growing sentiment in West Africa that democracy (and especially its leaders) is not delivering on popular hop...
09/30/2020
Safeguarding Democracy in West Africa – Africa Center for Strategic Studies

There is a growing sentiment in West Africa that democracy (and especially its leaders) is not delivering on popular hopes for a better future.

While corruption and failed democratic trust don't justify Mali's coup, they “underscore that other countries in West Africa are vulnerable to democratic disenchantment.”

https://africacenter.org/spotlight/safeguarding-democracy-in-west-africa/

West Africa must stand up against the erosion of democracy lest the region return to the devastating conflicts from which it took so much effort and time to recover.

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