The security and sovereignty of Africa’s borders are coming under growing threat from intra-regional militant groups that occupy vast swathes of territory across the Maghreb, Sahel, and West African regions, as well as in the Horn and Great Lakes Region. EXX Africa’s third instalment of its Threats to Borders analysis series explores militants as a threat actor across the continent.
While East African states face major security challenges from several civil wars, sporadic political upheavals, and the persistent threat of violent extremism, regional states remain prime destinations for tourism and business travel. We assess the risk posed by criminal activity to foreign nationals visiting and living in the region’s urban centres and tourism destinations.
A former ethnic Arab militia accused of war crimes in Darfur and now integrated into the Sudanese security forces and armed with new weapons from the Gulf has seized control of the capital Khartoum in recent weeks. These hard-line militia forces are increasingly likely to clash with the military, which is seeking to create an Egypt-style post-coup political order and to repair Sudan’s international reputation.
Over two months after eastern forces launched an offensive on Libya’s capital, Tripoli, the conflict shows no signs of abating. With international support to the opposing factions both limiting the desire for negotiation as well as constraining any means of applying external leverage, we assess the political and security outlook and the potential impact of the current situation on Libya’s commercial operating environment.
As Somalia heads to the polls in 2020, security and stability are likely to be hampered by the seemingly intractable al-Shabaab insurgency, the rise in prominence of Islamic State, the looming possibility of an AMISOM withdrawal, and continued tense political relations within and outside the country.
In his second term, President Muhammadu Buhari will again oversee expansive debt-fuelled spending to develop Nigeria’s infrastructure, while seeking a dilution of the government’s stake in the oil sector. He may even consider joining Africa’s free trade pact that came into force in May. However, any firm decisions will take many months before being confirmed, starting with the appointment of a new cabinet and perhaps a reshuffle of the security forces command.
Politically motivated corruption trials are indicative of continued political intervention in the courts system, as the new coalition government seeks to protect its slim parliamentary majority. The economy is steadily recovering but disappointment over lack of socio-economic development and lack of oil sector activity remains rife. In the meantime, São Tomé is expected to remain dependent on donor aid and Angolan credit lines.
As negotiations on the political transition continue to falter, opposition forces will renew its civil disobedience campaign, including a general strike and mass demonstrations. Hard-line paramilitary forces that control the post-coup junta are likely to respond with heavy-handed force at home, while seeking financial lifelines and diplomatic cover from regional allies. The prospect of violence in Khartoum and other cities will rise in coming weeks.
President Weah is facing a backlash against his government over a failing economy and spiralling inflation, while mounting perceptions of graft and mismanagement are undermining his administration’s credibility. The political opposition is galvanising around a protest movement that may force a reshuffle of Weah’s closest aides and political supporters, although firm policy changes are unlikely unless foreign donor pressure intensifies.
Ahead of upcoming Independence Day celebrations, Eritrea’s government has shut down social media services and shuttered border posts with Ethiopia and Sudan. The country has seen few real benefits from its peace agreement with Ethiopia last year and risks stumbling back into political and economic isolation, even tough a resumption of cross-border war remains unlikely and economic and geostrategic imperatives will force a continued opening of Red Sea trade routes.
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- SUDAN: FRAGILE POWER-SHARING DEAL WILL BRING SHORT-TERM PAUSE IN VIOLENCE
- THREATS TO BORDERS: AFRICAN MILITANCY AND TERRORISM
- ZAMBIA: SMEAR CAMPAIGN SEEKS TO DISTRACT FROM WEAKENING DEBT TRANSPARENCY
- SPECIAL REPORT: TOP TEN EAST AFRICAN CITIES AT RISK OF CRIME AGAINST EXPATS